03 May 2006

COMMENT: Infinite Endings, Civil Beginnings

It's been a little while since I couldn't wait until I got home to read a specific comic book, just HAVING to read it on the train ride back to work from Midtown Comics. Today, I read two: Infinite Crisis #7 and Civil War #1.

I actually started reading the former while waiting on the ridiculously long line to pay, which stretched all the way to the back of the store and up the stairs to the second floor, as the place was packed more than I've ever seen it, thanks in large part to these two HUGE event books dropping on the same day. (May's sales analysis should be very interesting.) After an initial reading of each, I'm not too surprised that IC's conclusion left me unimpressed, but I am absolutely shocked that I liked Civil War as much as I did.

Geoff Johns has been too busy looking to the past for cues, delivering some big fanboy moments but forgetting that Marv Wolfman's success with the original Crisis came from writing a much tighter, mostly self-contained story that had some actual emotional resonance. I didn't care about Supergirl back then, or Superboy now, but I felt her death a lot more than I did Connor's -- no matter how many characters Johns used to try to convince me otherwise -- and the over-the-top raging of Superboy Prime didn't connect with me at all since he wasn't fleshed out enough for his change to be the stunner it needed to be. He flipped out because Johns required him to flip out to tell the story he wanted to tell. That way too many key moments took place in other books, increasing the emotional disconnection, didn't help either.

Mark Millar, on the other hand, pulls off a first issue unlike anything I was expecting from him. While not particularly subtle, he wasn't anywhere near as hamfisted about making connections to current events as I expected him to be. And there's even a bit of nuance to the whole thing that makes debating "Whose Side Are You On?" a legitimate discussion. The story moves along at a surprisingly steady clip, and by the end of the issue, sides are clearly being drawn and the disagreements between the various heroes over the Registration Act feel mostly genuine. (Not sure how in-character they are, but nothing felt glaringly off and I've long stopped caring about continuity on that level because Marvel cleary has stopped caring.) The most important thing, though, is that unlike Infinite Crisis #1, almost anyone could pick up Civil War #1 and find it completely accessible. They might not recognize every single character, but the story stands on its own, requiring no knowledge of current events in the MU, an important thing considering the amount of mainstream attention the mini-series is receiving.

More thoughts on both of these issues in my next Pull List Propaganda, as well as a look back at the original Crisis on Infinite Earths.

1 comment:

Chris said...


Excellent point on Civil War that pretty much sums up my feelings. Better than it had any right to be.

Also unimpressed with IC, as can be seen here. My reaction was an unequivocal, "huh".