Mark Millar & Steve McNiven - Civil War (4 stars)

Mark Millar

Having dealt with DC’s ambitious crossover we have to mention Marvel’s equivalent, Civil War, a far more user-friendly prospect for the casual comics fan. The outbreak of unrest within a people is rarely less than tumultuous, and bloodshed is a tragic inevitability, but when the clash isn’t between mere mortal humans but among superheroes the reverberations are far greater and felt further.

The fallout from a battle between a group of super villains and a team of young aspirant superheroes results in massive civilian casualty. The US government employs a system of superhero regulation and registration to curb further catastrophes. Two factions, one led by Captain America and the other by Iron Man, assemble either side of the government’s new plans and the gamut of Marvel legends – Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, The Avengers – are absorbed into this division.

Mark Millar’s deft and thrilling script skilfully illustrates just how, under the masks and capes, superheroes have lives to deal with beyond the black and white of good and evil. Not a new topic for comics, perhaps, but when personalities clash over a moral rather than criminal argument it holds these grey areas up to the gaze of the public, something that renders them less ‘super’ and more vulnerable than ever before.
Steve McNiven’s high gloss art is lustrous and brilliant enough to do justice to the many comic legends on one page. The pacing and detailing are phenomenal and the action set pieces do not dominate or jar, giving the plot a credible ebb and flow and throwing up enough questions to keep you wanting more. (Mark Robertson)

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