Top critical review
One person found this helpful
on 24 March 2017
I should start by acknowledging that I have been spoilt when it comes to graphic novels. Amongst the first graphic novels I ever read were: Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, The Long Halloween, Hush, The Dark Phoenix Saga, The Killing Joke and V for Vendetta… I read these works of art and thought that for certain, I had stumbled into a whole new world of incredible storytelling. I’ve been chasing that high ever since, with only the odd moment here and there reaching such greatness.
Recently, I was treated to Old Man Logan which is possibly one of the best Wolverine tales I’ve read and noting the Millar/McNiven pairing on that venture, decided it was time to give Civil War a go. I was slightly apprehensive after being rather underwhelmed by Captain America: Civil War but working on the notion that you should never judge a book by its film adaptation, went in with an open mind.
If forced to summarise in one word, ‘disappointment’ would be it.
The story is completely unengaging, feels very flat and the characters (many of which have been crafted and developed over decades) are reduced to simple, base creatures who’s first and only response to adversity is swift, uncompromising violence: I don’t like what you’re telling me so I’m going to punch you in the face and keep punching you in the face until you change to my way of thinking.
It’s not that the plotline is a bad idea but to get us through it, Millar has taken the cheap and easy method of oversimplifying and in some cases changing the fundamental behaviours and characteristics of some of the major players. It reads like Captain America, Iron Man and possibly most notably Reed Richards, have all lost the ability for rational thought.
With no real tension or build up, the two camps are divided almost instantly, seeing the whole situation in the most basic black and white scenario. Sure, a few characters question their decision and ultimately flip, but even this is just from one extreme to the other, with no progression, transition and therefore, justification for doing so. It makes the whole thing just seem absurd. Sure, these are of course unbelievable characters, with unbelievable abilities in an unbelievable world but what allows us mere mortals to connect with them is their humanity and in this story, it’s just not there.
The artwork is good I suppose but something is lacking. It looks like someone designed the basics and let a computer generate the rest. The result is very clinical and precise but unlike the genius work of Jim lee, it has no depth, no soul... It’s sharp for sure, but there’s little beauty here.
I’m finding it hard to justify a two-star review but as that’s so subjective anyway, I’ll go with it and hope the written review is more useful. At least it was only £7.50 but I’d give this book away if someone asked me for it; it’s a waste of shelf space.