Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Civil Action

After totally missing the mark with last year's House of M, Marvel is finally doing the "big event" right with Civil War.

Apparently, Marvel spent a lot of time analyzing what made DC's big events of the past two years--Identity Crisis and Infinite Crisis--so successful, and they're implementing their findings with this mega-event. It establishes a gravitas right off the bat, and then delivers a complex plot that conveys a seriousness and scope in keeping with that gravitas.

The big event that is the catalyst for this storyline is the Superhero Registration Act. In the aftermath of a superhero disaster that led to the deaths of hundreds of civilians (many of them children), the government has pushed to register all super-powered beings. Some heroes, recognizing the responsibilities inherent in wielding massive powers in a public venue, support the plan; others, fearful of government control and politicization of the superhero community, oppose it. And that's the Civil War that the title refers to.

The first issue was simply stunning--as powerful as the first Identity Crisis, in fact, which is saying a great deal. But first issues are sometimes misleading--the first House of M was promising before it became evident that there was no more story to be told until the final issue, leaving readers wondering why it was a seven-issue series rather than two--so I waited to see Civil War #2 before making any decisions as to the quality of the series.

Civil War #2 was every bit as powerful as that first issue. The book builds to an amazing, Marvel-Universe-changing revelation in the final pages, but it's not the revelation that makes the book so good; it's the feeling that Important Things are happening in every issue. If Marvel can maintain this sense of great significance while delivering a compelling story, then this is the crossover series that Marvel fans have dreamed about.

I'm on board for the whole series--and I suspect that Civil War #3 will be the first book I pick up a month from now when it is released. I truly want to see what happens next, and that's the truest proof of a storyteller's success.

1 comment:

Doug said...

I agree that Civil War feels like it will have long-lasting ramifications. Millar at the helm feels like the ship is steadier than the Titanic-esque effort of House of M, which remains a mess.

On another note, I LOVED Eternals #1! It was very accessible and Gaiman really hooked me on the huge Kirby concepts. I wrote about it over on my blog.