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A Hero Goes on Trial in CIVIL WAR II #3 (Review)

There are massive spoilers ahead for Marvel’s Civil War II #3! And we’re gonna talk about all of the issue’s major twists, so don’t say that you weren’t warned!

Assuming that you were fortunate enough to avoid the early spoiler about Civil War II #3, there are two big questions to ask about this issue. Does it stay true to the characters? And does it work as a story? Most of Marvel’s writers tend to approach Hawkeye as a hero who wouldn’t kill. But not Brian Michael Bendis. He’s written a Hawkeye who was willing to kill Norman Osborn during Dark Reign, and now he’s depicted Clint Barton as the man who murdered the Hulk.

And that’s really what it is. The script and the artwork don’t really offer much in the way of ambiguity. Hawkeye claimed that Bruce Banner‘s eyes had a flash of green and that he was about to Hulk out, but it’s not really supported by the comic itself. Either way, Banner is dead and the bulk of the issue depicts Hawkeye on trial for murder. Unfortunately, Hawkeye is far from the only hero to behave out of character throughout the issue. Captain Marvel and Iron Man continue to throw ridiculous shade on each other, and even Banner has an oddly suicidal flashback in which he literally asks Hawkeye to kill him if he ever Hulked out again. None of these turns feel earned or genuine, so the only conclusion is that Bendis has not been faithful to the characters entrusted to his care. He simply places them in the story and forces them into their predetermined roles whether it works or not.

Civil War II 3 doublepage splash

Which brings us to the story. The issue plays around with its structure and depicts the incident with Banner in flashback which is interspersed with testimony from Carol Danvers and Tony Stark, among others. The build up almost worked, but Banner’s death is so abrupt that it’s more jarring than shocking. It’s a powerful visual from artist David Marquez, and he goes out of his way to give the issue any visual flourish that it has. The script really didn’t make it easy for Marquez, as he had to draw page after page of Marvel’s heroes just standing (or flying) around at home as they watched the new trial of the century. Once the issue moved past who killed the Hulk and why, it was actually pretty boring. And that’s not a great way to usher in the era of $4.99 Marvel comics.

Marquez does get a brief assist from artist Olivier Coipel for the flashback between Banner and Hawkeye, which gave the issue a foreboding undertone that the rest of the issue seemed to lack. Again, this is not the fault of Marquez. His artwork is easily the biggest draw for the book, aside from the shock value of seeing one of Marvel’s biggest icons get murdered by another hero. Bendis wanted to get people talking about Civil War II, and he succeeded on that front. The death of the Hulk is going to get a lot of play in the media. But after three issues of the regular miniseries and two prelude issues, Civil War II’s story has yet to match the high quality of the artwork.


2 burritos

What did you think about Civil War II # 3? Render a verdict in the comment section below!

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