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SUNDAY BARBECUE: Abhay x Civil War II – The Conclusion

The final part in a short series of write-em-ups written in a panicked rush, for no discernible reason.

By the end, the air really goes out of this balloon.  Look at the colors on this page– this is a scene taking place outdoors.  The beautiful solid gray outdoors.

I kinda get why they didn’t repeat the “curvy line with a gradient fill underneath” move from panels 1 and 3 in panel 2.  Maybe it’d look off if they all had the same color background (?).  But why pick that bland gray?  If you’re not going to have any effort on the backgrounds, why not go hot pink or a bright yellow or … a color that’s just purely an emotional color, or that pops more? Would that not have worked? Or is that solid gray an emotional gray for you….?

You know: not every panel needs to have a background. But I really have to think they might want to have turned into the skid a little more than they did here…

The story fades away with a fart, too.  After the Big Status Quo change, a character that was on Carol Danvers’s side all along told her that she was right all along … okay... and then, Carol Danvers says “thanks– here are some ads for upcoming Marvel comics“; then goes and tells Obama that she wants to talk to him about the future, for some reason.

We live in the future — Obama ain’t around– American life is A+.  So whatever they talked about — I guess it wasn’t anything all that helpful…

I should probably try some kind of plot synopsis in case you haven’t read this thing:

The inhumans find Scott Stapp, a magical douchebag who can kinda tell the future except shitty.  Iron Man keeps going “hey, his future-telling is shitty” but Carol Danvers says no it isn’t– even though she’s never proven right anywhere within this series, we’re meant to believe she is as equally good as Tony Stark, whose opinions are based on science and experience with alternate futures.  Okay. A bunch of plotlines start but go exactly nowhere– e.g., She Hulk is angry about something and yells the word “And?” a lot but And Nothing, end of storyline.  The superheros fight because Carol Danvers is depriving a woman of her civil rights (another abandoned storyline).  During the fight, the superheros see a vision of the future where Black Spiderman has killed Captain America.  Black Spiderman and Captain America go to the place where they’ll murder each other, but instead of murdering each other, Carol Danvers beats Tony Stark into a coma.  Hawkeye comes to her and tells her that very important things are about to happen, in other comics, sold separately, at some future date, presumably.  Obama tells her he’s proud of her.  She says thanks.  The end.  

So.  I guess that’s a story you could tell…?

I mean, is it worse than other crossovers?  Not really. But maybe people are harder to satisfy now.  I mean, if you don’t like the big Marvel crossover, you can go get your superhero fix from EVERY OTHER PART OF OUR CULTURE now.  So.  What Marvel sells is worth less and costs more.

I wonder what that feels like.

I always get this “We did it– we won” vibe from comics, but… what does anyone need a Marvel comic book for anymore???  I don’t watch Supergirl but I read the young people on that tumblr, Harold, which means I basically end up watching the sexy parts of Supergirl in gif format every week, and… Seems like that means something to people that the comics aren’t built to provide.  But maybe it’s all translating to fans and new audiences and all that stuff in some way I’m too narrow-minded to appreciate.  I don’t know.  It’s none of my business, I guess, at the end of the day.

If I walked into Civil War 2 with that as one of my questions– “What does anyone need a Marvel comic book for anymore?”– well, I know that question I don’t have an answer for after this experience.  But that’s a tough one…

Too tough for me!

Cue My Adolescent Sniggering Theme Music.

…I mean, is there a better choice?

There probably isn’t.

There’s only so many songs.

Best part of Civil War 2:  when the superheros stop and realize that maybe they can have a superhero fuck-fest on the steps of the Capitol.  Maybe they can have a superhero fuck-fest all day, every day.  What’s the downside of the superhero fuck-fest?  The dry-cleaning bill…?

Civil War 3: Superhero Fuck-Fest.  Coming to a BBS near you in 2018.

Annnnnd that was the Adolescent Sniggering part of our evening.

I found it kind of interesting that the Obama era political comic ended with a “we have to worry because of the guy after you” speech.  Thanks, Glenn Greenwald, wherever you are, I guess.

We had to worry about all of them, though.  The idea that there are these Responsible People in the world who are Very Serious and deserve our deference… Well, that just seems like its own fantasy, one that lets people keep sleeping through some Same Old Shit, and tell themselves that crap was okay because Their Guy was doing it.  But eh– it’s at least some kind of  tolerable message there, at the end, at least.

Though the comic then ends with a triumphant hug to the Deep State and a celebration of public apathy towards war crimes, et cetera.

So.  I mean, I have three minutes so the contradictions of modern liberalism are probably beyond the scope of discussion here, but there is a sort of weird fog of dysfunction over the ending.  At least for me, just since when I look back over recent history, the “what did people believe” of it all gets a little perplexing.

Not a terribly fun comic. Poor storytelling.  Some occasional cute dialogue bits, but just as many that were just… very strange.  (At one point, Tony Stark yells that young people don’t know that hair salons used to be called barbershops, which… how old is Bendis??  He wasn’t that old the last I checked.  Did he drink from the wrong Grail cup?  What’s going on over there???).

And it’s 6.  So, that was me trying to do this Sunday Barbecue thing.  I don’t know how it all turned out– I’ll do an edit to fix the images now, but.  Thanks for tuning in if you did.  Hope you have a good rest of the weekend.


8 Responses to “ SUNDAY BARBECUE: Abhay x Civil War II – The Conclusion ”

  1. Well, that was certainly no Spectacufuck. 4/10

  2. Boooo to Jacky. I enjoyed it, so there

  3. Hmmm, nah– 4/10 feels generous.

    I had nothing! Rust everywhere. Everything rusted. Nothing in the tank.

    I’ve chosen what side I’m on — I’m with Jacky!

  4. I was entertained but I prefer ribs, corn on the cob and potato salad at my barbecues. Anyhow, Jeff and Graeme at the Wait What? Podcast, wisely observed that Bendis clearly doesn’t know what a futurist is.

  5. I pay for Marvel Unlimited so I can technically read these for “free,” and I would still rather do just about anything else with my time than read Civil War II. You’ve done a service by plowing through this garbage. Better you than me.

    I am curious, though, how the comics ended up fitting into the themes you laid out in your first post.

  6. Oh, that’s the bulk of the series, is Bendis playing his “if the world is now X, I’m going to Y” game.

    The way the series is built is that at random intervals there’s a new “prophecy” for all the characters to react to– so at one point, there’s a prophecy that’s all shitty and Black Panther changes sides, during the Civil War. Or the series’s culminating event is caused by two characters (Black Spiderman and Nazi Captain America) going and hanging out together in Washington DC in response to one of the prophecies.

    The prophecy thing is kind of helpful for him because he gets to be extra-arbitrary about what characters are reacting to… (I didn’t even mention how that storyline resolved in my plot summary, but it resolves because the Inhuman guy– he just disappears… the end. The series was never about that character, which is… It’s all a little weird).

    I’m curious if the arbitrariness of the prophecies bummed out fans because it … it didn’t let them play along at home, you know? Like, Civil War 1 or most mainstream comic series, fans can try to guess what happens next, but with this, there’s no guessing because any arbitrary-ass thing could get pulled out of their asses at any moment so… You know: how much are comic series vehicles for stories, and how much are they vehicles for, like, that kind of fan involvement? (I want to say somebody more eloquent than me wrote about this once, but it’s a vague echo of a memory)…

    Anyways sometimes it works (I think that Black Panther moment worked, or the Nazi Cap/Black Spiderman moment, even if the plot all felt arbitrary at that point, worked on a character level); sometimes it’s so-so: most of Tony Stark’s actions being motivated by the blackrifice of War Machine always felt gross and unearned to me, but there’s a part where you can see Bendis play this little game of dominos of “Tony Stark goes and kidnaps so-and-so, and that means he has to offend the Inhumans, and then the Inhumans come to wreck his building, so the cop supeheros have to show up, so…”

    Where– fine, there’s a fruit of a poisonous tree aspect where the underlying character motivations don’t work, but the domino part is I think Bendis just doing his happy dance, that’s his Charlie Brown dance, you know? Like, I enjoyed watching the “he can’t do that” scenes, but anytime Tony Stark would explain himself it’d be like “nope.” “I need to kidnap him and cause an international incident so I can run an absolutely ordinary test that no one would argue I should run.” Whaaaaaa-? But that domino part, that’s to me the part where you can kinda see, like, dang that dude’s enjoying himself, and you know get some enjoyment yourself from being in proximity to that…? (I don’t know if that sentence makes sense but hopefully…)

    And then sometimes it doesn’t work at all, namely that Captain Marvel gets none of those moments. Or what she gets is this terrible bit of “oh, all the superheros are going to come fight me, well then I’ll call the Guardians of the Galaxy, because everyone’s seen that movie now.” And then they show up and *do nothing*, contribute nothing to the story whatsoever.

    The problem being the story becomes more and more (and especially at the ending) totally about that character, and it’s the one where you just don’t see Bendis picking up the toy and smashing it at the sidewalk, at least in that same way.

    But a lot of it also feels like just advertising status quo changes until it just culminates in an ad for … whatever they’re calling that came next– The All Our Characters Were Secretly Nazis All Along Era. The Hawkeye-Hulk stuff is in that zone, but it feels like an ad because he’s in such a rush at that early part of the story to get to the next moment of the plot that he can’t soak in it like you kinda know he’d normally want to. And when it’s just the action shit– later in the series, that part goes south hard. (For me– I just don’t want to read Bendis write action shit– it’s just not stuff from him that I find enjoyable…).

    I don’t know how fans took the balance but I know the way it ended, they probably walked away feeling they read a trailer because the stuff I’m talking about was more in the front-end–and inherently always is going to be because at some point, it can’t just be about characters reacting or creating new status quos for themselves — there has to be an ending and you know: endings are really, really hard. Or what’s the classic example… is Dragnet a terrible movie with just a great last scene? That’s what William Goldman used to say. (I was a kid when Dragnet came out and thinking that whole movie was rad but … it’s not one I’m in any rush to go see again, either) (Last scene is A++ though).

  7. But that’s 4/10 on a comicbook website, Abhay. Cancer gets a solid 7/10 in comicbook ratings.

  8. Haven’t been here in a while. Thanks, Abhay, for reminding me why I bailed on Marvel years ago. Seriously, I sometimes wonder if I’m missing something.

    Marvel super-hero comics used to be well written, but at the fairly low-level of “punch ’em up” melodrama. Now these people are trying to write them as honest to goodness dramas…and they stink. I mean really, really, really stink. There’s a reason why Bendis has remained in the world of comics, rather than go for the big money in TV and movies.

    And the artwork? Good grief.


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