Sunday, June 24, 2018

James Review -- Marvel: Civil War Review

This week I decided to review Marvel: Civil War by Stuart Moore. 

The story opens with the New Warriors, a small team of low-grade superheroes, attacking a safe house used by a group of minor villains in Stamford, Connecticut. The battle goes horribly awry, killing many civilians including a large number of children who were in a nearby school. In response to this incident, the United States government passes a law that requires everyone with superpowers to register and provide information on topics such as their real names, abilities, and weaknesses.

A faction of superheroes led by Iron Man see this as a necessary act to regain the trust of the public, but other heroes refuse to register, with many forming a resistance movement led by Captain America. At first, the conflict is fairly low-key, but when the resistance responds to an apparent disaster at a chemical plant, they walk into an ambush. After a clone of Thor is unleashed by the pro-registration forces, resistance member Goliath is killed and the Invisible Woman defects in response.
After the battle many other heroes in both factions begin to question the morality of their actions and switch sides, with the pro-registration faction deploying a number of supervillains fitted with implanted control chips. As their situation grows more desperate, the resistance begins reaching out to allies in other countries, including nations led by fellow superheroes while also preparing a strike aimed at liberating their captured comrades…

I give this book 7 out of 10. I do like the battle scenes and the internal conflicts of some characters. Also, the setting is in a slightly different timeline than the comic Civil War, bringing changes that I believe were caused by post-Civil War events in the comic timeline; this is a very nice touch. However, I see a number of flaws in the Registration Act that make it incredibly dangerous, and these flaws are for the most part never brought up in the story, with one of the worst only being briefly thought about by a character while pondering what to do in response to the law. Also, to me at least, it seems like the pro-registration members are too eager to fight their former colleagues. You don’t see the mission briefing, but I see no signs that anyone protested or questioned the morality of using a staged disaster to lure the resistance into launching a rescue mission so they could be ambushed. Even after the battle, you see reactions to Goliath’s death, and some the morality of cloning Thor, but none about the ethics, or lack thereof, in using a fake distress signal to bait a trap.

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