Civil War Correspondence: War Crimes [Recapping Civil War II #4 And Ultimates #9 & 10]
Civil War II has completely overwhelmed the Marvel Universe, with all of your favorite titles tangentially tying into the event in whatever way they can in hopes of a sales bump. With a founding Avenger dead and battle lines nearly drawn, it's time to dig back into the story for more Civil War Correspondence, and review where I stand on the conflict. I reserve the right to flip-flop at will, although that's looking less and less likely.
This time around we’re looking at the fourth issue of Civil War II, as well as two issues of The Ultimates, and I finally pick a side as a fan-favorite Marvel character crosses a line and becomes potentially irredeemable.
This article contains full and extensive spoilers for the issues discussed.
The Ultimates #9
I wanted to start this edition of Civil War Correspondence by talking about The Ultimates, and we'll finish that way too. It's been one of my favorite superhero comics since it first launched, and I feel like Ultimates #9 is the only comic that's attempted to address the possible good that can be achieved from siding with Captain Marvel and trusting Ulysses' visions.
Years ago, The Blue Marvel encountered a being of immense power known as The Infinaut, and over the decades he's been working to drive it away whenever it reappears. Thanks to Ulysses, The Ultimates were able to get a headstart on The Infinaut's next manifestation, and with the help of Giant Man they were able to anchor him to our reality and discover that he wasn't some big world-ending threat, but a scientist from another dimension lost in space trying to break through.
Without Ulysses, The Ultimates would have likely repelled The Infinaut yet again, or The Infinaut would have destroyed reality, but thanks to his prediction they were able to save the day and get a solid win where nobody loses. Most of the victories gained via the visions have involved the arrest of supervillains, but Ultimates #9 goes a long way to show the true reach of Ulysses' power and the good it could do in the right hands.
Which is a shame, because then Civil War II #4 happened.
Civil War II #4
Yay! She-Hulk’s alive!
I feel like the event has been needlessly ambiguous when it comes to Jen’s fate at the end of the first issue, so the revelation that she is alive --- and mad as hell --- doesn’t hit quite the way they want it to.
Hawkeye’s been acquitted of The Hulk’s murder, and is the most popular superhero in the world now, and I like how Bendis keeps coming back to the younger heroes like Spider-Man, Ms. Marvel and Nova to get their perspectives. Even though Miles doesn’t speak in the scene with the announcement, you can tell the events weigh heavy on his mind, and in the main Spider-Man book, Bendis is doing some interesting thing with Miles’ reaction to Ulysses and the use of profiling as a crime prevention method.
The scene where Captain Marvel, The Ultimates, and The Inhumans confront the woman with the briefcase is one of the most affecting and memorable scenes in the event, because even after confirming that the woman has done nothing wrong and the briefcase is empty, she is still dragged away and arrested.
This is the exact moment that Carol lost me completely, and I doubt there’s anything left to do to get me anywhere close to her side.
We get more of an explanation of Ulysses’ powers from Tony Stark, and his side of the argument starts to make more and more sense. The more visions Ulysses has, the more of a toll they take on his mind, and the more they change who he is as a person, which may in turn have an effect on any visions he has.
Stark does the worst thing any superhero can do at this point and assembles a new Illuminati, but I appreciate that he recognizes what a bad idea that last Civil War was and the lengths he’s willing to go to avoid another one.
After Tony establishes that Ulysses is fallible, and Beast backs him up, Carol creates a strawman argument to reinforce her position, and at this point just seems stubborn, especially when she leaves straight through the roof. I hate to apply this word to Marvel’s most prominent and beloved female character, but she essentially has a tantrum and storms off. Carol Danvers is unrecognizable at this point, and I hate it, because it’s not the Captain Marvel that inspired a movement and helped change comics culture. She’s the villain, there’s no question.
Back at The Triskelion, Carol is convinced that the women they arrested is a deep cover HYDRA agent, and despite no evidence other than Ulysses’ vision, keeps her detained. Nightcrawler frees her, which leads to a confrontation on the roof where we finally see the battle lines drawn.
Team Tony: Young Iceman, Young Cyclops, Young Beast, Young Angel, Oya, Genesis, Captain America (Sam Wilson), Luke Cage, Ms. Marvel, Ironheart, Doctor Strange, Iron Man, Hawkeye, Captain America (Steve Rogers), Nova, Spider-Man, Thor and The Vision.
Carol’s team has a some of my favorite characters, like Ant-Man and Black Panther, and yet it still manages to suck so hard. I blame Forge.
Anyway, Iron Man gloats about how much Carol’s team sucks, but then The Guardians of the Galaxy show up to back her up. I’m interested to see if this drives a rift in the Guardians themselves, because Iron Man was a member before Carol, and I can’t see Ben Grimm standing for the nonsense that Captain Marvel is pulling.
The Ultimates #10
Writer: Al Ewing
Artists: Kenneth Rocafort & Djibril Morrisette
Color Artist: Dan Brown
Whereas The Ultimates #9 showed the true good that Ulysses' visions could do, The Ultimates #10 expounds on the scene where the team arrest and illegally detain a United States citizen based on zero evidence, which I previously mentioned was the moment that Carol Danvers lost me for good. Is it weird that I currently dislike Carol more than Hawkeye?
I really appreciated seeing members of The Ultimates begin to suspect that this isn't the right way to operate, and Blue Marvel especially has become a favorite of mine over the last year. Seeing him stand up to the SHIELD agents over their aggressive treatment of Ms. Green was one of the most subtly powerful moments of the comic, if you know Dr. Brashear's background. Adam lived through the civil rights movement and was forced to stand down as a hero due to an executive order when the public discovered he was black, so seeing American citizens treated like criminals based on zero evidence is sure to upset him.
T'Challa and America Chavez are also increasingly more disturbed by Carol's actions, and what upsets me the most is how unconcerned Carol is. She does not care how aggressive or intimidating the SHIELD agents are, and is still completely convinced of Allison Green's guilt way after they discover there was nothing in the briefcase. This leads to an argument back at the Triskelion, where America Chavez decides she's had enough, and results in the greatest panel of the year.
After all of my frustration over Carol's actions over the previous few months, seeing her get hit upside the face with an office chair is incredibly satisfying. This leads to a fight and the breakout of Thanos, which leads away from the driving conflict of Civil War II --- but then again the question could be asked, "Why didn't Ulysses predict that?"
Whose Side Am I On?
Tony’s. Finally and unequivocally, I have picked a side, and I’m siding with Iron Man. Captain Marvel crossed several lines, and this issue is the final straw for me. It took Tony Stark years to recover from the damage that Civil War did to him, and I’m worried that Carol Danvers is going to need similar rehabilitation.