Last year I reviewed Civil War: A Marvel Comics Event, and it was my most read post (so thanks for that!), and now I’m back with a new Civil War review.
**No Spoilers for CW: Captain America, but possible spoilers for CW: A Marvel Comics Event**
What do I need to read before this?
Civil War: A Marvel Comics Event
What do I need to know before this?
Tony & co. are pushing for the superhero registration act. Cap doesn’t think this is a good idea, and they end up in many a physical fight. There’s been a lot of collateral damage. Bucky is no longer the Winter Soldier. I think you’re good to go… Oh, and if you’re here from the MCU, just be prepared that Nick Fury looks nothing like Samuel L. Jackson
Plot for Days
It wasn’t until I finished reading this book that I realised there is a hell of a lot of plot in only 111 pages. Of course, it’s not always down to quantity, and the writers did a great job of making each individual plot feel fleshed out, and tied off some of these, while leaving others open to conclude in later books. Given that this is part of a series, I have no problem with leaving certain lines open for further development.
As a book in itself, the writers succeeded in developing these plots enough that the book doesn’t just feel like a whole lot of filler. It feels like it’s a vital building block in creating this plot outside of the civil war itself, and if you’re familiar with the MCU Civil War, then you’ll know what I’m talking about. Though the character of Zemo does not make an appearance, there are bigger, eviller forces working behind the scenes, and using the upheaval to their advantage.
This plotline is one that incorporates some familiar villainous faces,and is revealed slowly but surely. The writers are able to build a certain amount of intrigue, as Cap investigates a HYDRA base, doing what he does best, and focusing on the villains circling the heroes like vultures.
Finally, a point of view
One of my biggest problems with Civil War was that there were too many characters, a lot of which I didn’t know very well, and this made the whole thing a little confusing. Thankfully, this book focuses mostly on Steve, with Sharon and Bucky as side characters. By limiting the characters, the plot was undoubtedly strengthened, making this so much more successful than the first one.
Oh, Bucky, my Bucky
If you don’t already know, I might as well get this out of the way, because it will become obvious eventually. James Buchanan Barnes is the love of my life (I would die for him) and so I have a lot to say about him.
There are three main stages to Bucky’s story through this book, and I will go through them one by one. That’s your cue to get comfy, grab a drink, and get ready for a somewhat lengthy discussion.
Bucky is introduced to the plot during a mission given to him by fury. The mission itself is shrouded in mystery, and drip fed to us, panel by panel, making it incredibly interesting. However, that’s not the best part of it. The best part is what we get though Bucky and Fury’s conversation via coms, while this is all going on. The two really explore some very important themes in the Civil War storyline and establish their positions, and their motivations for choosing their sides, or not declaring their sides.
The plot moves on to tell a very different story along two timelines, interspersed with each other. I should point out that, while this storyline is lovely, it doesn’t necessarily have a direct connection to the larger civil war storyline. As a big fan of Buck, that was fine with me. Any opportunity for more Bucky is fine by me.
This first timeline takes place during Steve and Bucky’s final Christmas in 1944. I was a little confused by the other characters, just because I didn’t know them, and a lot of men look the same in uniform, however the banter between the team, really emphasises that bond of friendship. This is the heart of the storyline and leads to a bittersweet ending in the present day. That second timeline that I mention takes place on Christmas Eve in modern day and does come full circle by the final panels. Bucky’s interactions with three newly introduced characters, was fantastic, though perhaps not for the reasons you might be expecting. These characters, Iron Patriot, new Hawkeye, and a version of Vision, were not my favourite, however it was how Bucky interacted them that was of vital importance. We get to see Bucky’s leadership abilities, as he calls the shorts, which in crucial to his character arc. It also places him in a gorgeous parallel with Steve and building towards the next step in his character arc.
Making the inhuman, human
In the first instalment of Civil War we got to see how the Avengers, and other superheroes, were somewhat distanced from the general human population. But once you’ve taken the story there, how do you ground your heroes again? How do you make them people that the reader can like? How do the writers humanise the character of Steve when he’s been taken so far from the realms of humanity? Well, they initially do this through Sharon. At this point in the time line the two are together, though on the down low. We get to see some nice moments in their relationship, but we also get to see them both in their element. I would say that Sharon doesn’t really get a character moment devoid of Steve, but I’ve never found her the most interesting character anyway. Her character is used as a foil to get Steve to explain his actions, which I really appreciate. It’s so easy to pigeon hole Captain America as this do-gooder, who always follows orders, and it’s true that he’s a bit of a stick in the mud, but this disproves that misconception. Cap ain’t blind, and he is willing to be the bad guy if it means doing what’s right. You can’t help but admire him for that. This is further emphasised by Bucky’s astute musings on the subject. While he is working on a more undercover basis, he is out of the spotlight, and able to see things that Steve, as Captain America, cannot. This is an invaluable point of view, and really reminds us, that the power of the Avengers is so beyond the normal human, it’s so inhuman, that this is no longer a battle between men, but between gods. This is especially poignant as it suggests that maybe the common human man has been forgotten, that these heroes have lost sight of what’s important. If you know this storyline, either from the comics or from the MCU, then you’ll know what happens when the heroes are so focused on infighting they’re blind to all else.
So, those were my feelings on Civil War: Captain America. Have you read it, and what did you think? Do you have a favourite Civil War book, or a favourite Captain America book?