This week Civil War II kicks off for realsies, and Geoff Johns returns to Green Lantern for Green Lanterns: Rebirth!
Civil War II #1 (Marvel Comics)
I know what you’re thinking: “didn’t you already review Civil War II?” And I did. But that was the ZERO issue of Marvel’s new mega event, and that issue barely got things into motion. This week sees the real start of Marvel’s summer crossover, and Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez’s miniseries starter is a huge improvement over the “zero issue” that was released a few years ago. While I’m still not sold on a sequel to the massive Civil War event from ten years ago, I will admit that Bendis and Marquez certainly have something pretty gripping here.
This opening issue focuses on the arrival of Ulysses, a new Inhuman with the ability to see into the future. After the Avengers, X-Men, Inhumans, and a host of other Marvel characters successfully prevent a Celestial attack in New York City, Tony Stark is curious as to how the battle was able to go so smoothly, since it seemed like Captain Marvel and her Ultimates new exactly how to take the Celestial down. It’s at this point that Medusa introduces Ulysses and his powers to the group. Soon after, Captain Marvel starts making plans to use his abilities to help them stop attacks before they happen. Tony, however, doesn’t agree with this idea, but their fight ends there with a disagreement. But when Captain Marvel uses Ulyssess’ abilities to take out Thanos before he can try and acquire a cosmic cube, the casualties are massive, including a friend of Tony’s that is very close to him. Naturally, Tony doesn’t take it very well, and so begins the seeds of Civil War II!
I have to admit, Brian Michael Bendis does a really good job of making this premise work. When I first heard about Civil War II, it was hard not to roll my eyes at the idea. While it’s still clearly a marketing gimmick around Captain America: Civil War, there are still plenty of interesting ideas and themes in this issue, and they thankfully don’t cover the same ground as the main conflict in Mark Millar’s original Civil War. Bendis doesn’t waste any time setting these ideas and conflict up (which is probably thanks to the zero issue and the Free Comic Book Day issue, which are necessary to this issue), and while there are some areas that are a little rushed, for the most part his script really works. Even if he does need to let up on using Thanos so much.
Really the only person who could follow Olivier Coipel’s zero issue is David Marquez. The Invincible Iron Man artist brings a ton of energy to this opening issue. The early pages of the book depicting the fight with the Celestial are jaw dropping, but Marquez really shines in the emotional moments that are peppered through the book. There are some really heart-wrenching moments here, and Marquez depicts them beautifully.
Civil War II may not be entirely necessary, but it could’ve been a lot worse than what we got. While there’s still plenty of time for this story to potentially fall apart like most of Marvel’s events, for right now I’m cautiously optimistic with what Marvel is presenting to us with Civil War II. Here’s hoping this ends up being one of the few good Marvel events.
Green Lanterns Rebirth #1 (DC Comics)
Now that DC Universe Rebirth has hit, it’s time for the first wave of the special Rebirth issues. This week, the biggest release is arguably Green Lanterns Rebirth, which features Green Lantern mastermind Geoff Johns teaming up with new Green Lanterns writer Sam Humphries. Paired with artist Ethan Van Sciver, this new one-shot sets the stage for the upcoming new series starring Green Lanterns Simon Baz and Jessica Cruz, the newest recruits to the Green Lantern Corps.
Geoff Johns and Sam Humphries give both Cruz and Baz equal time in this issue, and it’s a lot of fun seeing them play off of one another. While Baz is technically the more experienced Green Lantern, he’s still nowhere near the level Hal Jordan or John Stewart are, so it’s easy to buy that Hal Jordan decides that they need to train together to become better Green Lanterns. It’s a pretty fun concept, and having these two characters bounce off of one another is a blast to read. Johns and Humphries even poke fun at the fact that there’s now six Green Lanterns just for Sector 2814, which is a great running gag throughout the issue.
On the art duties is Ethan Van Sciver, the legendary artist behind the other Green Lantern Rebirth. With a little help from Ed Benes, Van Sciver brings a ton of epic and grandiose images to help build up the importance of Simon and Jessica, and as always, it’s a ton of fun seeing his take on the Corps and their power set. Hell, the page where Hal Jordan reveals that the Justice League will be overseeing Jessica and Simon’s training is worth the $3 cover price alone.
For new readers, there’s no better time to jump into Green Lantern than right now. The various Rebirth specials are all designed to help new and lapsed readers jump right in, and Green Lanterns should be the template for all of the other Rebirth specials. It definitely worked on me, as I’ll be checking out this series for the time being just based on the two leads. This is exactly what I was hoping for from DC Rebirth.