BOOK REVIEW – PAUL JENKINS - CIVIL WAR – FRONT LINE 2008 MARVEL COMICS.
Part of an epic comic book series, bringing Marvel’s various superheroes into the 21st century with a post 9/11 conscience.
After an obscure hero called Speedball has killed hundreds of ordinary US civilians in pursuit of a band of villains, Mr. Fantastic, of the Fantastic Four, and Tony Stark (Iron Man), have called on the US Government to order all masked heroes to become licensed and to have to reveal their identities to the authorities, which will in effect make them all pay-rolled weapons of the US Government. Vigilantism, and anonymity have been outlawed overnight. Captain America, surrenders, and reluctantly reveals his identity in this volume.
While some heroes have happily supported the act, others have defied it, and the ones in support have been obliged to bring their former allies in as criminals, creating a colossal civil war that is now spinning out of control.
Events are covered by two human reporters, who interview various heroes involved in the factions concerned and uncover a terrible truth – Stark has engineered an attack by a brainwashed Norman Osborne (The Green Goblin) against a group of Atlantian Ambassadors, in order to highlight the follies of the act, and manipulate his own company profits too. Though the reporters discover this and reveal their knowledge to Stark, they agree to keep the story a secret.
Speedball himself survives an assassination attempt and gets out of prison by publicly signing the Patriot Act like declaration of identity, but once out, he arranges the destruction of his Speedball costume, and replaces it with one designed to give him as much pain as he inflicts on his opponents – His new masochistic identity is The Penant.
Beautifully drawn and scripted, with humans at the heart of the story and the temptation to just have a massive fight scene being marginalized in favour of an exploration of the consequences of America’s control of its own crime fighters, and soldiers.
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