Civil War II #0 definitely has a “prologue” feel and not much in the way of action or twists other than the president of the United States saying that he wants James Rhodes to take his spot in the future. (There is a little bit of a disconnect between She-Hulk/Carol’s sequences and War Machine’s.) However, Brian Michael Bendis clearly articulates the premise of Civil War II and makes the conflict in it, both ideological and personal. As an Ultimate, Captain Marvel has seen the fluctuating timestream and dark futures of the Marvel Universe, and she desperately wants these to not happen by being more proactive towards catastrophes.
Things are going to get worse before they get better. In Miles Morales’ short career as a hero, he’s dealt with Venom, losing his parents in some form or fashion, and the end of the world as he knew it. In Spider-Man #2, his next biggest challenge rears its ugly head: the citizens’ public opinion of Spider-Man.
When all is said and done, Bendis, Pichelli, and Ponsor have ushered in another fantastic entry in Miles Morales’ stint as Spider-Man with Spider-Man #1. With a new universe to explore, joining the Avengers, and having the blessing of the label as THE Friendly Neighborhood Spidey, the future for both Miles and this title has never looked better.
Overall, Invincible Iron Man, which is the flagship Marvel title, has concluded its first arc with definite promises of change for several characters and that will almost likely include pushing Iron Man and Tony to their limits especially since seeds are being planted for Civil War II during the next arc!
The issue ends with another night time stealth ops where ninja shadow warriors meet Tony in a Madame Masque related trap ,and issue four promises major changes to the usual Tony Stark formula in the form of the arrival of Mary Jane Watson. If the ride we’ve witnessed thus far in these four issues are any indicator for Tony’s future, readers will be enjoying the new Invincible Iron Man for months to come.
Everyone should pick up Invincible Iron Man #1. The colors from the art team absolutely explodes in varying colors across every page. This is Dave Marquez and Justin Ponsor at their peak. All of the characters involved in the issue are vibrant and distinct, the action is beautiful and rightly acquainted with Bendis dialogue that is clear and informative. This is a brave new run for the Armored Avenger, and it’s off to a roaring start.
For the most part, Star Wars #7 is skippable filler even for hardcore Obi Wan fans. The character does get a bit of an arc, but it is mired down in navel gazing narration and shoddy action set pieces. Colorist Justin Ponsor does nail the fact that Tatooine is the planet farthest from a bright spot in the universe with his light browns and faded whites and yellows with a tinge of red for its beautiful binary sunsets. However, this is just a tiny plus in a book filled with minuses.
Dan Slott is back, delivering a tale of Peter Parker and Mary Jane Watson’s struggle to maintain their family in the face of Secret Wars. However, references to Hickman’s massive event are non-existent. Instead, Dan Slott creates a dystopian world, reminiscent of the worlds of Orwell and Huxley, where supervillains hunt superheroes in the name of a despotic overlord. Despite the departure from the Manhattan that Spidey traditionally swings through, Dan Slott proves that he’s still more than capable of telling a story that puts the wall-crawler’s heart and determination on full display.
For nearly every massively popular superhero, chances are there’s an equally popular love interest behind that hero. Iron Man loves Pepper Potts, Superman loves Lois Lane, and Spider-Man loves…okay, he’s loved a couple people over the years. Gwen Stacy, Peter’s first love, cared for Peter but hated Spider-Man, a dynamic that would have inevitably doomed the relationship, even if the Green Goblin hadn’t sent her to an early grave. Black Cat represent the dangerous, thrill-seeking side of Spider-Man’s life. She was the opposite of Gwen: Black Cat loved the Spider but had no interest in his Peter Parker persona, a fact that Peter himself couldn’t reconcile. Mary Jane Watson, however, was what many readers consider to be Peter’s ultimate love interest, who loved both sides of Peter’s identity, and ultimately married him.
After being forced to flee from the Inheritors at every turn, the army of Spider-People finally gets a chance to take the fight directly to their pursuers. This is the final battle, the last stand against an unstoppable force. Can the Spiders save themselves before the Inheritors carry out their master plan?
In Death of Wolverine, Charles Soule, Steve McNiven, Jay Leisten, and Justin Ponsor had the tough job of killing off one Marvel’s most popular characters in a way consistent with his legacy of his character. Death of Wolverine #4 contains the actual “death”, and Soule, McNiven, and company stick the landing. Except for Doctor Cornelius’ supervillainous monologues, Soule’s script is terse and minimalist. Wolverine doesn’t say much, but he does a lot in keeping with his early characterization in Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s Uncanny X-Men where he would be the one still scrapping and fighting even after the Hellfire Club had taken out the other X-Men. In this last story, Soule examines all the different sides of Wolverine from lab experiment and animal to soldier, superhero, and samurai. And Steve McNiven’s art continues to be a treat from his landscape portraits of the Nevada desert to Wolverine’s last, visceral hand to hand battles. Inker Jay Leisten tightens his lines and elucidates the details of Cornelius’ lab as well as the lines on Wolverine’s determined faces. Colorist Justin Ponsor continues to be one of my personal favorites as he sets a different mood for each scene from a washed out brown for one final flashback of Weapon X to the sterile environment of Cornelius’ lab and one last walk in the sunlight.