Thursday, May 10, 2007

Civil War

So, now that the hype has died down and all the late shipping books are out of the way, I picked up a copy of the CIVIL WAR trade paperback from Amazon. If you're a comic fan, you know what Civll War was. If you're one of my friends or family reading this, Civil War was a big, multi-part crossover that redefined the Marvel universe.

Mark Millar is a fine writer. I'm a fan of his and have been since he co-wrote a book called Aztek that I inked long ago. His Tangent Superman is a book I remember being really impressed by, I loved his Wolverine run, and I've enjoyed Ultimates. In other words, he's got a good track record as far as I'm concerned and I have a lot of respect for his writing. Which is something I can't honestly say about 90% of the writers working in comics.

But Civil War didn't click for me. Reading the core mini-series over the space of a couple of days, there were just too many beats missing. And yes, I realize that the series acted like a spine, more or less, and that something would be insinuated, and then huge chunks of the story were told in the various spin offs. But you know what? The central book should still tell a complete story. This felt very incomplete.

The art was solid enough but it didn't knock me on my ass. It's nicely drawn and competently inked but without the coloring, it would have been very flat. With the coloring, it was pretty overdone. Digital painting is probably the wave of the future but I felt that, while the coloring gave the book a really distinctive look, it was a little too...worked. Out of all the characters represented, I liked McNiven's Spider-Man the most. He had a lot of movement.

There's a pretty telling line of dialogue in the seventh issue that I think says it all, sort of a read between the lines apology from the writer for the numerous missed shipping dates etc. To paraphrase (because I don't have the book in front of me), Reed Richards is writing a letter to his wife and he makes a point that she'll, "never know the pressure we were under, to create or revamp so many heroes..."

To me, that's a comment that can be read in a lot of ways. I think when the writer takes the time to subtly break the fourth wall and apologize to the reader, that says a lot more than my little blog review ever could. I'll look forward to Mark Millar's next work but this one didn't rock my boat.

If you're looking for a good collection, try "COBB: OFF THE LEASH" by manly man Beau Smith and Eduardo Barretto. More testosterone and character per page than most men can handle. Good, pulpy stuff and I give it a recommendation.


SallyP said...

I started reading Civil War, and by issue number four, I was so disgusted and repulsed that I gave it up completely.

I suppose that the concept could have worked, except that the end result is that a lot of characters I had been fond of over the years, were completely unrecognizable, and worse, were total jerks. Oh, and Tony Stark is now a bigger villain than Dr. Doom.

I must agree with you about Cobb: Off the Leash, it is VERY well done. Beau Smith is always fun, and the artist is excellent. He did an issue of JLI Quarterly way back when that was just gorgeous.

keith champagne said...

Yeah, that too!!