Civil War II #3 (of 8) (Marvel Comics)
Well, we’re here at another “major event” in a Marvel miniseries. The Marvel hype train has been in full force for this issue, with a huge media push and even permission to sell the book at midnight for retailers who deem the issue worthy of such an event. With so much hype around the latest installment of Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez’s miniseries, it’s gotta be impossible for the end product to live up to the hype around it. Featuring the death of a “major Marvel character”, will this issue of Civil War II even make a blip on comic fans’ radar? Or will it be met with just another “shrug” after readers have forked over their $5?
Well, that’s tough to say, cause the death in question is both interesting and a complete head scratcher. I’m going to spoil it, cause there’s no way to talk about it without doing so, so if you don’t want to know the big death, TURN BACK NOW.
FOR REAL. LAST CHANCE.
Still here? Okay then, it’s the Hulk. Well, technically it’s Bruce Banner, but you get the idea. I’ll admit to rolling my eyes at first when I flipped through this issue, but upon reading it, I have to admit that like with all the other issues of Civil War II, this issue is way more entertaining than it has any right to be. Bendis centers the entire issue on Banner’s death. Bouncing between Banner’s final moments and the trial of his killer, Hawkeye, Civil War II #3 is a pretty taut and entertaining issue, even if we all know that there’s no way Banner stays dead for longer than a few months.
But at the same time, there’s no way this death should work. Marvel has repeatedly stated in multiple comics that the Hulk wouldn’t allow Banner to be killed, he’d just change right before Banner would die, thereby preventing harm to him. Of course, there’s a loophole right now, as Banner’s gamma cells are currently dormant, preventing him from turning into the Hulk. But if that’s the case, why are the heroes so worried about him hulking out again? Because of Ulyssess’ visions? Is Captain Marvel’s side THAT on board with this kid that they’d believe him over someone they’ve known for years? It all seems like Bendis is making things too convenient for the story to work, and while it serves this story fine right now, I can’t imagine these events and feelings will carry into the character’s solo books. Plus trying to make this tie into current events in the world seems very forced, and just, well, wrong, like when an older relative wants to talk about current events and doesn't completely understand them. I can see where Bendis was trying to go, but the end result is both eye-rolling and cringe-inducing.
On the art side of things, David Marquez gets an assist from Olivier Coipel for a few pages, and while it’s noticeable, there’s a reason for that. Both artists really do a great job of presenting this “huge event” in the Marvel universe, but Marquez gets the biggest showpiece. Not only does he simply have more pages that he gets to draw, but his way of showing the emotional reactions from our heroes when Banner is killed shows off how well Marquez is at emotional beats.
So yes, Civil War II features the death of a character that in no way will stay dead (and shouldn’t have died in the first place). The more I think about it, the less I like it,and it feels like a misguided attempt at trying to present current events of the real world in the Marvel one. But at the very least, I’m still thinking about it after reading it. That has to count for something, right?