Paired review: Marvel’s Civil War II and Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears Volume 2

These two really go together and I can’t talk about one without going on about the other, though their ratings aren’t intertwined. Because here’s the thing, I am not a big Captain Marvel fan. She has all the trapping of a character I should love but I just don’t. It happens. Iron Man is a fave on the big screen but really only because of Robert Downey Jr. He’s too awesome for words these days.

Civil War II by Brian Michael BendisSpider-Woman by Dennis HopelessOn the other hand, I am a HUGE fan of Spider-Woman ever since the first Shifting Gears volume when she was pregnant. It was love at first read. For that review, click here. She also appears in Spider-Women which includes her issues 6 and 7 and is reviewed as an entire volume here. She doesn’t play a prominent role in the Civil War II storyline, but she pop up once or twice and does have a tie in here, so I just had to review them together.

Civil War II

As I mentioned earlier, I am not the biggest of fans of these characters, at least in comic form, so it wasn’t a big surprise to me that I didn’t care much for this volume.

When a new Inhuman emerges with the ability to profile the future, the Marvel Universe will be rocked to its core! While Captain Marvel harnesses Ulysses’ powers to prevent crime, Iron Man is violently opposed to the implications. As Tony Stark takes matters (and the law) into his own hands and declares war on the Inhumans, others are willing to fight — and even die — to stop him. And when one of the biggest heroes of all falls, the resulting trial of the century stokes the fire. Friendships crumble, teams are torn apart and the conflict goes galactic — but when the truth about Ulysses’ visions is revealed, all bets are off in one of the biggest battles in Marvel history!

It is a major event in the Marvel universe so I couldn’t continue any of the other sries without having holes from this set in them which was a problem when I was trying read that Mockingbird only to see it also referenced in both Spider-Woman when I went to read her second volume and the new Ironheart take on Iron Man. I had to give in despite that I really didn’t care to read it.

What I did appreciate was that this conflict was between Iron Man and any character that wasn’t Captain America, for obvious reasons. They can’t constantly be duking it out. That said, I also found it enjoyable that Tony learned from that lesson and even takes some time to talk it over with Steve, even uttering having a line that references it, something about the best way to know that you’re on the side of right is to be on the same side as Steve Rogers.

That said, a lot goes wrong here for the Marvel universe in a way that had been spoiled by the other volumes. Definitely just read this first if you’re a no-spoilers-ever kind of reader. I normally prefer to not have spoilers, but it was my own fault. Anyway…..

As with the first Civil War in the Marvel comics, the division was on a line that was understandable, one that made the reader question both sides. Why wait for a crime to happen versus how could we prosecute someone for something they didn’t commit? How can we prove that they would have committed it?

It turns out that Captain Marvel is not as implicitly trusting as Iron Man accuses her of and has Spider-Woman investigated the validity of some of the smaller visions. This wasn’t immediately obvious when I was reading Civil War II but it was the focus of the Spider-Woman volume.

Spider-Woman: Shifting Gears Volume 2: Civil War II

Spider-Woman’s involvement in the Civil War II conflict is the primary focus of this volume, but the outer two issues aren’t a part of the war. The first one is actually about Spider-Woman getting back out there, fighting bad guys and riding her motorcycle. It’s a fun issue, but not particularly compelling.

Then it starts. She resists at first, not wanting to get in the middle of something at that level, not wanting to pick sides between those two, but the conflict proves unavoidable. Rather, Captain Marvel has a request for her that is out of the way, but important to the cause. She does the background investigations, figuring out whether or not the visions are accurate even when they’re small while Captain Marvel goes around putting bad guys away before they have a chance to carry out their evil plans.

Things start to look like they’re going one way until the big problem from Civil War II  happens. That time “when one of the biggest heroes of all falls,” and “the resulting trial of the century stokes the fire”. That doesn’t turn out to help Jessica and her little part of all this. It makes things that much more complicated.

I appreciate her struggles both before and after the big event. She has issues with taking sides in this, with whose side to take, with the surrounding events of the big hero who falls and with what it all means for everyone involved. I felt like her part of the story really brought home the struggle of the war because of her relationships with everyone involved. There was no side that she wasn’t going to get mad at it, that didn’t have people she’d mourn, that wouldn’t end with hurt for her.   

But then the war is over and we get one more issue. I really loved this one because she’s trying to take a much deserved and needed day off. We all need to sometimes, especially when everything seems like it just exploded around you, it’s important to walk away from all that stuff and take a minute to appreciate what you do have. Like your new adorable baby and a friend or two that didn’t ask you to be a part of things that you didn’t want anything to do with. A friend who is there for you. The last issue was mostly adorable and regenerative for the character, and I have to admit that it was those things for me too.

Now, on to Mockingbird and Silk!

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