Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Civil War #4: Worse Than You Thought

It's come to my attention that some of you out there may still not realize exactly how bad Civil War #4 is. Thus, 2GBC presents Civil War #4: Page By Page. Keep in mind that I was actually liking the series up to this point.

PAGE 1: Previously, on Civil War... you get the picture. And Hercules getting thrown up in the air by a big lightning bolt. Amusingly, the credits list this issue as having editors. I can find no evidence to support this.

PAGE 2: Full-page splash of CloneBot Thor doing his best Headbanger's Ball metal-thrashing pose with Mjolnir.

PAGE 3: After Falcon introduces himself to CloneBotThor, Dagger points out that everyone thought Thor was dead, to which the Mark Millar God of Thunder displays his predilection for Steven Seagal movies by uttering, "No, Dagger. That would be YOU." Then he throws his hammer, which apparently is enough to send four heroes who weren't standing THAT close together ass over elbows.

PAGE 4: Dagger speaks for Marvel fans everywhere, pointing out "We've got to get out of here. This is REALLY REALLY WRONG...". ThorClone calls us all wretches, hits the ground and more heroes go flying. It should be pointed out that on this page RockerThor has creepy glowy eyes.

PAGE 6 and 7: We officially wave goodbye to Continuity and Characterization as Cap and his allegedly broken jaw resorts to name-calling, Iron Man "safely" puts everyone's brain into "shutdown", and IM uses the phrase "tough old bird" to describe CAPTAIN FREAKIN' AMERICA, which is a bit like saying "That Sentinel's kinda big."

Sue Storm, ever the voice of the reader: "Oh, Lord. This is HORRIBLE. I can't even LOOK..."

(Side Note: Of course, this Cap has a broken jaw and regenerative teeth, so what do I know? Tony could have grown a tail, feathers, and a third eye and I wouldn't have even blinked at this point.)

PAGE 8: A freshly-singed Hercules throws a building on Iron Man, which apparently let everyone's brain turn right back on and a fight commences again.

PAGE 10: Hercules, in the middle of bench-pressing Iron Man, tells Falcon to go get Cap, who is either having a building fall on him or a giant stone foot is stepping on him, I can't tell which.

PAGE 12: Oh, look, SHIELD's here. Goliath throws a truck at them, talks smack to Arnold Thorgenegger, and then gets ventilated courtesy of a lightning bolt through the chest. Accompanied of course by an "I don't THINK so" by StupidThor, who apparently just lurves the movie Commando (insert Jeph Loeb joke here) .

PAGE 13: Holy crap, Goliath's dead and Sylvester Thorllone explains "You ARE all going down." Bonus Points to Steve McNiven for tempering our grief over Bill Foster's death with Dagger's torn uniform that exposes butt-cheek. This is wretched.

PAGE 16: ThorDude gets ready to zap the resistance into... um, wherever things go when they end up on the bidness end of a lightning bolt. At the last minute, they're protected by a force shield from Sue Storm, and this is the last time in the comic Sue does anything that makes remotely any sense.

PAGE 18: The resistance get they asses outta there via Cloak, and Reed Richards... my God, I can't even type this... sigh. Reed activates Cloney McClonealot's shutdown sequence with the code "Richard Wagner 1813-1883". Get it? Because he wrote the Ring trilogy! (No, not the one with Hobbits. The other one, with valkyries and such.) Reed then has a priceless expression as if even he can't believe he came up with such a stupid code.

PAGE 19: Sue tells Reed to shut the hell up, and from the looks of things he'll be sleeping on the couch tonight, boy! (Remember that, it's important in a few pages coming up.) The Watcher looks at them all like he just found out there's still 3 issues to go of this. Also: Peter Parker has doubts!

PAGE 20: Back at Avengers Tower, someone who looks very much like Reed Richards is drilling into NakedThor (Hi, Googlers!) via the ear. Think THAT panel will make a lunchbox any time soon? Oh, and Millar shows his knack for clumsy characterization by having Pym say "Do you really think I'm so remote--- so detached --- that this wouldn't have some kind of IMPACT on me?" Um, no, Hank, that wasn't implied at all, but since we had to show you being conflicted, we thought we'd just throw that out there. Also: Parker has more doubts!

PAGE 22: Hank looks like he's about to cry, and he doesn't understand why fabricating an all-powerful God of Thunder resulted in someone's death. Couldn't have seen that coming! Also: Parker has doubts! Again!

PAGE 24 + 25: Back at Resistance HQ, Luke Cage --- he of the unbreakable skin, mind you --- is wearing a band-aid, Cap's saying that by getting their asses kicked they just picked up another twenty supporters, and Tony's numbers are dwindling. Nighthawk points out that Goliath just got waxed, and half their army is in the Richards Penitentiary For Wayward Heroes.

Cable immediately quits because he's scared of Thor, which... huh? Cable and a few others walk out on Cap, which somewhat takes the shine off that whole "We just picked up 20 new guys!" elation earlier in the panel. Cap reverts to a six-year-old and essentially says "Let 'em go, we didn't want to play with them anyway, and WE'LL show THEM by getting a bigger treehouse! Nyah!" Nighthawk unsuccessfully tries to convince us that Cap's willing to get everyone killed so they don't have to work for the gubmint. Good LORD.

PAGE 26 + 27: Some dude in a ski mask that I don't even care who he turns out to be is watching the quitters mentioned above. At Goliath's funeral, Tony shows what a great guy he is by pointing out that Bill Foster's funeral was all-expenses paid by Stark International! Plot Device Mom Of A Kid Killed In Stamford shows up and gives Tony her son's Iron Man action figure in a ham-handed attempt at convincing us that Tony's actions might be justified, and draws pretty much the worst parallel in history by comparing Tony to a cop who shoots someone pointing a gun at him.

(No, it doesn't work.)

PAGE 28: Because Peter Parker has the gall to be comforted by MJ and Aunt May at the funeral, Reed thinks he's up to something... because, you know, Reed Richards has always been a distrusting, paranoid doofus. Meanwhile, Sue's writing a letter to Reed explaining that she's joining "Cap's SECRET AVENGERS team". They're really known as the SECRET AVENGERS? When they're not secret in the least? I guess we can officially throw Reed in the Broken Characters pile with Tony now. God, I hate this comic.

PAGE 30: Susan Storm, deciding that she can't support Reed, packs up and leaves her kids in the care of a now-fascist paranoid mad scientist who has the parenting skills of a carburetor.

Read that last sentence again.

Yes, it's that dumb. Sue Storm: another character for the pile!

But remember when we all thought Reed was going to be sleeping on the couch? NOPE! Turns out she doesn't want his last memory of her to be a bad one, so she cooks his favorite dinner, gets him his favorite wine and does the horizontal bop one last time. She and Johnny drive off inconspicuously in Johnny's bright red car with the "TORCH" license plate.

PAGE 29: Back at Avengers HQ, in direct contradiction to Cap's estimate earlier, Tony and Reed discuss the fact that actually, no, THEY'RE the ones losing numbers, and Cap's team has the advantage! Get it? Both sides think the other one is stronger! Har! This has all the gravitas of a Three's Company episode.

PAGE 30: In the final nail in the pro-registration side's coffin, they've hired Venom, Taskmaster, Bullseye, Lady Deathstrike, and co. to be the new Thunderbolts and help them corral Cap's Kooky Gang. Really. No, I'm serious.

The only thing missing now is a blurb at the end saying "NEXT ISH: TONY STARK, BABY-EATER! PLUS: REED RICHARDS PUNCHES NUNS!"

That's it. The good news is I won't be buying any more issues, I'll be getting them for free. The bad news is that I'll still read them.

33 Comments:

Anonymous Nick said...

Aww, and you were gonna be our counterpoint, lol. Should be an interesting show either way though. Dude, "Let 'em go, we didn't want to play with them anyway, and WE'LL show THEM by getting a bigger treehouse! Nyah!" had me cracking up.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Actually, Cable left to get Deadpool, who is currently duct-taped to a chair somewhere, and then he goes to say "Fuck you" to the president in person.

More or less.

9:02 PM  
Blogger Mallet said...

Well in a battle where they fought a cloned God I would imagine the word Unbreakable to have very little meaning.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Chris said...

Nick: I'll be happy to wax romantic about the first 3 issues, but this just went waaaaaay off the rails.

Anon: I'm going to hell for not supporting the Cable/Deadpool series, aren't I? Dammit.

Mallet: You have a point. However, in a battle with a God, I'd agree. In a battle with a xeroxed copy of a God, I'm saying that this is stupid. Plus, wouldn't it have been smarter to show us how powerful Thor really was by making at least a panel out of him breaking Cage's skin?

I am such a nerd.

10:51 PM  
Blogger joncormier said...

Um, maybe Luke just has psoriasis - the dry skin, not the inflamed liver. And he has moisturizer on under the bandage to fight his dry cracked, ni-unbreakable skin???

I can't call him anything but Clor. Or possibly Thory McClonenhymer.

6:05 AM  
Blogger SallyP said...

It is a well-known fact among mothers that putting a bandaid on the booboo immediately makes it feel better. Right now I imagine that Cage rather wishes he could find his Mommy. Nevertheless, I agree with you wholeheartedly. A more screwed-up mess I have never seen. Of course teaming up with a bunch of lunatics and murderers will endear us to the good old American public! WHAT could possibly go wrong?

6:25 AM  
Anonymous flip fantasia said...

Cable left to go get Deadpool, not to leave the Secret Avengers.

Yes, Secret Avengers is a dumb name, but what else are you going to call them?

I think the Thor clone is a great idea. IM and Richards are both self proclaimed futurists. What better way to further their agenda by sending fear and doubt into your enemies and get the people to support you by having a virtous god on your side?

What's wrong with the Goliath incident? A dead black man in chains...hmmm...

If I remember correctly from history class, when the slaves were freed from their bondage, they had to register with local and state governments, which made them easier to track and find. Meaning former slave owners sometimes used this information to apprehend and most often kill them.

The fact that they used a black man and wrapped him in chains to show the same point as mentioned above showing the classic cliche "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it."
might be a little above the heads of most readers, but hey, who can blame the writer for thinking we're smart and can remember extrememly important periods of our own history.

Everyone knew Sue was going to leave way back in issue 1. But it takes something like what Reed helping clone Thor to make her leave. (Because they are MARRIED and on a TEAM.) Now Sue is on the other side with many of Reeds secrets.

Hank Pym is getting a conscience? Bound to happen. The guy has never felt adequate, beat on his wife, and made a homicidal robot. This was his chance to do something great, and uh-oh, is a lot worse than great what he's doing.

As far as Cap, lets not forget he's a super soldier. He's been in wars, jumps out of airplanes without parachutes, been frozen for who knows how many years in a block of ice, beats on baddies with a shield and a fist. How long do you think a broken jaw is going to hinder him, especially when they're holed-up in a classified SHIELD bunker. What do you think? They only have gauze and bandages there? Maybe he ran it under a cold tap.

Maybe you read the comic too fast. Or maybe I'm too blinded by my love for Marvel and it really does suck. Which would in turn make me suck. Which would then make me sad.

Or maybe we just have different opinions. Who knows?

7:17 AM  
Blogger Chris Laffoon said...

I still enjoy it..nnyyyaaa..
If Tony eats babies and Reed punches nuns...that would be the greatest moments ever in comics. I would actually like both those characters then.

7:32 AM  
Blogger Chris said...

Flip:

"Cable left to go get Deadpool, not to leave the Secret Avengers."

Then why is he shown leaving with Nighthawk and Cassie, who ARE quitting? It's a reasonable assumption to this non-tie-in-reading-reader that Cable quit Cap's group.

"Yes, Secret Avengers is a dumb name, but what else are you going to call them?"

I don't know. But that doesn't change the fact that the name is, as you say, dumb. :-)

"I think the Thor clone is a great idea."

Agree to disagree. Personally, I'd rather just have Thor back.

"The fact that they used a black man and wrapped him in chains to show the same point as mentioned above showing the classic cliche "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it."
might be a little above the heads of most readers, but hey, who can blame the writer for thinking we're smart and can remember extrememly important periods of our own history."


OK, you lost me here. I think you're giving Millar waaaay too much credit on that, but it's cool that you found meaning in that panel; quite frankly as far as the chains are concerned, I don't think the intention was anything other than to solve the problem, "How do you bury a 100-foot tall human being?".

"Everyone knew Sue was going to leave way back in issue 1."

Susan Storm abandoning her kids is what I have the issue with, not leaving Reed. You cannot tell me that was not horribly out of character.

"Hank Pym is getting a conscience? Bound to happen."

Right, but the way Millar introduces it is clumsy expository writing, not something that felt natural.

(I will say that out of all the characters in this issue, Pym fared the best character-wise.)

"How long do you think a broken jaw is going to hinder him, especially when they're holed-up in a classified SHIELD bunker."

I don't necessarily want it to hinder him for two issues. I would like to see that if his jaw is supposed to be "practically hanging off" SOME sort of reflection of that in the art or dialogue. I don't think that's asking a lot. :-)

"Maybe you read the comic too fast."

Flip, believe me when I tell you: I couldn't read this comic fast enough.

Thanks for your comments!

8:01 AM  
Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

You know, I wish I could just tell you everything that's gonna happen just you can doubly freak out. First, when I tell you, second, when you actually read it! Remember, I told you so about Thor.

I can definitely forgive Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic's mischaracterization because it fits the mold that Marvel is trying to push them into, even if it doesn't necessarily fit 40+ years of continuity. As for Sue, that's pretty much bullshit. Then again, not having some rug rats around makes it easier on the guilt when you're humping Namor.

And surprisingly enough, Cable and Deadpool is a great comic that I discovered because of picking up the tie in. Cable's story gets a little lame when he's confronting the President about the 50 state initiative, but Deadpool's shit is spot on and funny. I mean, he fights the GLA avengers! What's better than that?

8:20 AM  
Anonymous Mark Engblom said...

OUCH! Another blistering, yet well-deserved take-down of Civil War #4. This issue seems to answer the question "What's the maximum number of characters a writer can get exactly wrong in one story?"

The personal low-point for me was Captain American snarling the "pampered punk" line, sounding more like a class-envy peddling union thug than the guy I thought I knew.

Oh, and I don't think there's any doubt as to which team is the "good team", considering Tony and Reed's rather blase' recruitment of VENOM and Co.

Perhaps Millar truly does think he's playing things down the middle, and presenting the Marvel heroes in some kind of realistic light...which seems to say far more about Millar's own peculiarly amoral approach to stories.

8:30 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Living in another country, I get my comics late, but I get them free. But I'm still going to feel ripped off when I get around to reading the disaster that is issue 4. Boy, I really am a patsy. Any bridges you care to sell me?

9:46 AM  
Blogger Mallet said...

Then again, not having some rug rats around makes it easier on the guilt when you're humping Namor.

Friend thats easy enough.

And surprisingly enough, Cable and Deadpool is a great comic that I discovered because of picking up the tie in. Cable's story gets a little lame when he's confronting the President about the 50 state initiative, but Deadpool's shit is spot on and funny. I mean, he fights the GLA avengers! What's better than that?

You can't believe how frustrated I was, that after months of promoting C/D at the shop Civil War comes along and everybody walks in and was like "Hey you were right! I'm glad C/W showed me it!"

11:47 AM  
Blogger Tony-O said...

Bravo!

12:38 PM  
Blogger Tony-O said...

Bravo!

12:38 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Whoa, I just thought of something: Tony Stark picking up Thor cells and cloning him, and programming him. Isn't that, like, an invasion of privacy, or something?
You see? CW is relevant to what's going on in the US! That's cutting edge storytelling.

1:35 PM  
Blogger Spencer Carnage said...

Clone Thor has DRM! BoingBoing is gonna flip!

3:48 PM  
Blogger Bully said...

Wacky modern nun-punching Tony Stark, yeah, I can see him picking up Thor hair and stowing it away in his utility belt.

Clunky grey Iron Man of whatever year Avengers #1 was supposed to take place in (not 1963, but whenever the heck it took place...ten years ago?), not so much.

I don't object to continuity implants. I do object when the violate the general tone of that era.

3:49 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Anon: I'm going to hell for not supporting the Cable/Deadpool series, aren't I? Dammit."

Ironically, even having read Cable/Deadpool 31, I was confused at first by Cable leaving with the deserters too. Then I remembered, and went "Ohhh."

And yes, you probably are heading to hell. Unless you're supporting Nextwave, in which case you're in the green.

8:01 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

PAGE 8: A freshly-singed Hercules throws a building on Iron Man, which apparently let everyone's brain turn right back on and a fight commences again.
Not just a building, but some explosive gas canister or something, because it makes a big boom, engulfing Herc, Iron Man and Cap in fireball. A fireball Cap somhehow survives even though he'd be dead centre...

and this is the last time in the comic Sue does anything that makes remotely any sense
Oh, I don't know, it makes sense for Sue to leave Reed, except it should have happened in #1...

At Goliath's funeral, Tony shows what a great guy he is by pointing out that Bill Foster's funeral was all-expenses paid by Stark International!
But doesn't get his mate Hank Pym to use some Particles to shrink Bill so they can give him a dignified burial.

Plot Device Mom Of A Kid Killed In Stamford
Loki. Kang. Immortus. Purple Man. Please.

leaves her kids in the care of a now-fascist paranoid mad scientist who has the parenting skills of a carburetor
I don't know why she didn't lave them with the Inhumans, as they're neutral in all this, and traditionally sit in as babysitters for the Four. Agatha Harkness, their other babysitter, is obviously otherwise engaged.

In the final nail in the pro-registration side's coffin, they've hired Venom, Taskmaster, Bullseye, Lady Deathstrike
I could hardly recognnise these guys. Melissa from the Tbolts, Venom, and Bullseye I recognised, but the rest... who's the guy in the purple striped hat? Is it the Wrecker? And the Taskmaster hasn't had that costume in about five years now, although it's so badly drawn, it could be anyone.

Cable left to go get Deadpool, not to leave the Secret Avengers.
Which you know if you read Cable/Deadpool, but if you just read this series, it really looks like he's jumping ship. And I'm not convinced they have this thing planned out in that much detail anyway.

The fact that they used a black man and wrapped him in chains to show the same point as mentioned above showing the classic cliche "Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it."
My word, you give them a lot of credit. You think it's deliberate?

(I will say that out of all the characters in this issue, Pym fared the best character-wise.)
Agreed. And he predicted the Michael/Xorn thing way back in House of M, and he's the calm and collected leader of the group in Beyond! It's almost as if they're secretly rehabilitating the character.

2:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I don't know why she didn't lave them with the Inhumans, as they're neutral in all this, and traditionally sit in as babysitters for the Four."

in the end of Son of M the Inhumans ended all contact with the fantastic four.

5:35 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Good call on most of this issues (it, obviously, was a disaster), but I do gotta stand up for waht they did with Sue. As iffy as it is to leave them with Reed, it would be iffier to take them with her onto Cap's team. And most of the other heroes are otherwise occupied.

The logical thing to do would be to entrust them to the Thing, who can take care of them, isn't going to get arrested, and has come out of this whole thing without looking too bad. Personally, I saw his watching Sue and Torch leave as an implicit sign that he will end up looking after them, but then, I'm not reading Fantastic Four so I don't know if that's what they're actually doing.

12:49 PM  
Blogger kelvingreen said...

Nah, the Thing has farked off to Canada or something in F4, although the chronology is all over the shop.

2:27 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

So fucking glad I didn't waste my money.

2:37 PM  
Anonymous Jon H said...

""Richard Wagner 1813-1883". Get it? Because he wrote the Ring trilogy! (No, not the one with Hobbits. The other one, with valkyries and such.) "

Also, a favorite composer of the Nazis.

Symbolism!

7:30 AM  
Anonymous carla said...

FINALLY SOMEONE NOTICES SUE'S BAD PARENTING MOMENT THERE!

Jesus, you can't trust this guy with YOUR life, why do the kids stay? Why isn't there a call to the FRIKKIN' BLUE AREA OF THE MOON like ALWAYS? Cold War with the Inhumans, blah blha blha, like anyone reads anyone elses's books these days, just give Franklin and Valeria a chance!

ARGH!

1:16 AM  
Blogger Allen Varney said...

Excellent analysis all around. One pedantic correction: Richard Wagner's Ring Cycle is actually four music-dramas, not a trilogy: Das Rheingold, Die Walkure, Siegfried, and Gotterdammerung.

7:28 PM  
Blogger Lekker Jaap said...

A better name than Secret Avengers?

What about.. The Defenders?

7:16 AM  
Blogger Randy said...

"Agreed. And he predicted the Michael/Xorn thing way back in House of M, and he's the calm and collected leader of the group in Beyond! It's almost as if they're secretly rehabilitating the character."

You're right. Pym may be one of the few characters Marvel is currently rehabilitating instead of ruining.

They must be planning on killing him.

9:06 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

jon h confirms Godwin's law
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Godwin's_law

10:05 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ahem. The Nazi comparison was made by Sue Richards in the FF issue in which she leaves. It's not just the usual 'internet thing'.

6:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well Sue Storm now officially in the junk pile as a character because she appraently lost her mind when she left her kids behind. One can hope that Marvel's future White Tiger series won't feature an empty-headed female...hopefully they let Tamora Pierce write and didn't make her write a typical superhero femme. Here's to hope.

5:36 PM  
Anonymous Jon Hex said...

How does Tony saying the Pro-Reg side is losing members conflict with Cap saying the Anti-Reg side was gaining members?

5:13 PM  

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