Round 2 Battle 10
Civil War (#1-2)
CAPTAIN BRITAIN AND THE MIGHTY DEFENDERS (#1-2)
Welcome back to Battleworld Battleworld! Just a reminder before we get started – we’ve been doing the math, and a lot of you have been failing to turn in your defeated issues for destruction. In particular, there’s a lot of issues of MODOK: Assassin that you seem desperate to keep. In fact we’re tracking about a 34% retention rate on MODOK. He’s a lovable little imp, but we gotta keep this bonfire going, folks – if you don’t turn in your defeated issues, there won’t be enough sustainable fuel to keep burning future defeated issues. I’ve even heard rumors of resistance cells forming, hoarding issues of Marvel Zombies and Planet Hulk in underground bunker and preparing for a final stand. Don’t force our hands, folks! We’ve got squads of Ray Bradbury ironic fire fighters on hand and we won’t hesitate to burn you along with your weak, inferior storylines if it comes to that. So let’s accept that resistance is futile and get burning, folks!
This week, we’ve got a fierce competition going between Civil War and Captain Britain and the Mighty Defenders. One of these two will be thrown into the unkind flame of history, as well as the unkind flame of actual flame, and the other will move closer to the ultimate prize: continued existence. Let’s get started!
I personally spared Captain Britain a few weeks ago. The storyline hooked me in, and the issue held some promise. The second issue seemed to be a bit of a sophomore slump. I loved the twist on Iron Man’s origin in #1, and the pieces it set in motion all appealed to me. #2 just didn’t have the same zing to it. For one thing it features two separate prison break scenes. People, there is an epidemic of prison breaks in pop culture, and comic books have always been the biggest offender. I understand that it’s hard to capture a hulk. I’m not here to offer advice on how to do it, either. But we all know that hulks can just snap through titanium handcuffs. It’s not a surprise that the strongest being in the universe can break out of prison. So why are we going to pretend to be full of suspense when they get captured? It’s artificial stakes-building, which you can say of almost everything in a comic book, but it’s also artificial to such an incredibly laid-bare level. If your readers are already willing to suspend their disbelief to the extreme degree that comic books fans are, at least do them better than “hero captured > hero escape” as your main plot point. And especially when the hero is all smug because they secretly knew they could escape the whole time. That isn’t good storytelling. You know what that is? Fuel.
Captain Britain also ends on a hopeful note, which I am fine with. But it’s a hopeful not that isn’t the end of the story and doesn’t generate further interest. It’s like having one of those leaping, victorious freeze frames just before a commercial break. The first issue gave me an immediate, direct reason to want to tune in again. The second ended on a tone that sort of felt like “don’t worry about the conflict, these guys are gonna solve it for sure!” Well, great – I won’t then.
Civil War has won me over pretty thoroughly in just two issues. The pacing, character development and world building are all well-done, avoiding the perfunctory feel a lot of other Battleworld stories have struggled with. There’s an excitement to Civil War that really drew me in. As if the writer was sort of bummed that the original, non-Battleworld storyline ended when there so much more to say. The narrative fits nicely into the landscape of Battleworld, with Cap and Tony Stark establish two enemy nations that are in a state of endless, un-winnable war.
Issue #2 keeps up the pace established in the first, giving just enough little nuggets of information to get me excited about the next one. There’s a bit of the usual “something’s not right about this planet full of other planets” stuff going on–and even that fits nicely within the story’s main narrative–but there’s also just a great, ticking time bomb feel to the plot, with both sides trying avoid a war while simultaneously feeling like a war is unavoidable. It’s a super hero comic book with actual intrigue, which is hard to do. Furthermore, it’s real, no-shit intrigue and not usual comic book intrigue where like, Captain America has to punch a computer until it gives him the codes to unlock a big giant gun he’ll use to blow something up or whatever.
So turn in your Captain Britain everyone, they’re done for. And please, no more “add-ins.” We’ve been getting a lot of people trying to throw Daniel Brown novels or Eminem CDs in our fire, and that’s not what this is about for us. We’re not trying to burn ideas here, we’re trying to burn failure itself. And if you’re reading this, and you’re the leader of resistance, turn yourself in now. It’s not too late. You don’t have to burn with MODOK. But MODOK must burn.