Civil War by Mark Millar
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
The Marvel event known as Civil War was originally released in 2006 and 2007 and was built around a 7 part limited run series written by Mark Miller. Following a disaster involving some young superheroes and the death of many people, including the attendees of a public school the American Government decides to introduce an Act stating that all superheroes must be registered and in the employ of SHIELD. Iron Man agrees with the plan, and along with Yellow Jacket and Mr Fantastic, lead the way in promoting the initiative. Captain America, on the other hand, disagrees with the idea and goes underground with many superheroes who agree with him including; Falcon, Luke Cage and Daredevil. As the story unfolds the tension between both sides escalates and becomes deadlier as each side seeks to win the war.
I read this book in mere hours, the story had me gripped. It was friend-on-friend and with each part the desire to know how the whole thing would play out grew more and more. The idea of whether masked vigilantes are better off as stand alone individuals or as employed government officials is a debate that is likely to carry good points for both sides; as is shown throughout the story.
To follow the story it isn’t necessary to be familiar with all of the characters, however, as there are quite a few people involved (many of whom aren’t A-List heroes) having some kind of familiarity with the major ones could be helpful.
The combined efforts of Steve McNiven (penciler), Dexter Vines (Inker) and Morry Hollowell (Colourist) have produced a very clean and crisp looking comic. It’s a very common art style with thick black lines around the characters and large amounts of detail and colour that is no less wonderful to gaze upon while reading. The action is really easy to follow due to the clean art style and there is a lot of action to be found throughout this story.
Like many other comics I have read, the use of colour and type is prominent to show the character’s voice. The default black on white is used for the majority of characters, but there are the odd ones whose voice is a little different, such as Iron Man’s, who has a modulated voice due to his armour. This is shown by presenting his dialogue in a red bordered text box with a red font. Chris Eliopoulis did a fine job with the Lettering; very clear and easy to read.
The panels are generally laid out 4 or 5 per page that stretch the full length of the page. It gives the story a cinematic feel, which is especially useful in displaying the grandeur and magnitude of the events that take place throughout the story. There are exceptions, sometimes a full page panel is used to emphasise a scene or smaller boxes are used to when there’s a lot more action taking place on a page. Overall, it works nicely and you can really appreciate the art and the story in this format.
I really like this story, it presents a very real world idea to the superheroes; who is responsible for the destruction and collateral caused when they fight the villains? What is good or bad? On several occasions, the question is asked if “bad” is simply breaking the law or if there is more to it than that. With the dramatic escalation that occurs throughout the story, I feel the conclusion is appropriate and shows the danger of losing sight of what is right. This is definitely recommend reading for fans of the marvel universe as a whole, but particularly so for fans of Iron Man, Captain America, Spider-Man and the Fantastic Four.
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