REVIEW: Civil War II #5 – “Superhero Smackdown”

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CIVIL WAR II #5
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis 
Artist:  David Marquez 
Colorist:  Justin Ponsor 
Letterer: VC’s Clayton Cowles 
Release Date: 9/21/16
Price: $3.99

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Plot: The moment you’ve been waiting for is finally here! After four issues of buildup, Team Carol and team Tony go head-to-head in an all out superhero brawl!

Story: Civil War II #5 picks up where issue four left off. Don’t ask me when that was. The delay made it seem like Civil War II #4 was released over a year ago.  This issue opens with a normal helicopter ride tour through New York. Yup, just a normal tour around the beautiful city that never sleeps. Oh, did I mention the helicopter nearly getting hit by a flying Drax the Destroyer?

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Not far from the helicopter, Team Carol and Team Tony face off on the Triskelion. This is the first time we see the heroes from both sides fight. Unfortunately, after months of teases, the battle didn’t live up to the hype. Both sides engage in what can only be described as a school yard fight between children.

There are many parts in this comic that feel wonky. The story has promise but here we are in the fifth issue of the event and things are actually getting worse and not better. With that said, it’s certainly hard to ignore the one glaring flaw in this whole event: there are no stakes for the heroes. Tony tries to prove that he is the only one who can make rash decisions when Carol’s incredibly poor decision making becomes apparent. Both go back and forth (as well as the other heroes) yelling and exchanging quips. Nothing happens to push the narrative forward (at least not until the very end).

There’s little to no justification as to why many of the heroes are fighting each other. Everyone just seems to be going with the motions. For those who’ve been reading the tie-ins, this issue might be even more jarring. That’s a real problem for an event that is supposed to have serious ramifications for our heroes in future comics.

For an issue that’s mostly fighting, there are some pretty funny moments sprinkled in between. Nova coming to the rescue of Luke Cage got a chuckle out of me. There’s also a brief yet funny exchange between Spider-Man (Miles) and Venom too.

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Art: While the story may be a letdown, Civil War II #5 is still easy on the eyes. Credit goes to David Marquez, Justin Ponsor, and VC’s Clayton Cowles for not making me completely disregard this book altogether. There are some really cool page layouts of both teams getting demolished. The crisp details Marquez includes in the facial feature designs stands out.

Justin Ponsor’s coloring is also impressive. The gradual transition from bright vibrant colors to dark and gloomy shades toward the final pages really sets the tone for the conflict going on.

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Verdict: Marvel’s finest squaring off is an easy sell, but unfortunately this issue is lacks any substance.

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