Marvel’s new event seems to be returning to the sad standard set by debacles like “Day of Judgement” and “Genesis” in the nineties. The plot developments have, no doubt, been interesting, but the pretty pictures and “big event” status of the book don’t hide the fact that the pagecount and actual CONTENT is pretty light, and that the dialogue and character development is shallow and mediocre. All of Marvel’s icons seem to have been stripped of their past and backstory, left only with the basic characterization that defined them in the ’60s. Reed Richards is far too absent-minded; it’s like an issue of The Thing given life. The problem is, that book treats Reed and Sue as a comic foil for Ben’s own adventures. To have Richards portrayed so one-dimensionally in a major company crossover speaks to a problem with the writing.
[YE OLDE EDITOR'S NOTE: I've moved the rest of this post to an extended entry just in case you haven't heard about what happens at the end of Civil War #2.]
The revelation at the end of the newest issue–currently making mainstream news outside of the comics industry–seems to me to be a wrecking ball with which Joe Quesada intends to demolish what little remains of the mainstream Marvel Universe and its continuity, making the “Ultimate” line into the “main” universe once and for all. Obviously, it’s pragmatically impossible to have Spider-Man “unmasked” in the main continuity that you’re trying to shuffle people off to read after they’ve finished watching the movie.
Nobody, of course, can predict the results of the story. It may well turn into something as monumental as Quesada keeps promising. At present, though, it looks like another thinly-veiled marketing gimmick, not unlike Zero Hour or the “Return to the Age of Apocalypse.”