Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Not-Very-Deep Thoughts: The July 27 "Civil War II" Marvel Edition (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

I'm current!  Hurrah!

Civil War II #4:  Bendis continues to logically move us from event to event and increases the tension as he does.  The jury acquits Hawkeye, a decision that apparently 87 percent of America agrees was the right one.  Oddly, Carol seems outraged as she tells a now-conscious Jennifer the verdict, even though the incident only happened because she confronted Banner based on Ulysses' vision.  Didn't Hawkeye do what Banner told him to do?  Isn't Carol really responsible here?  Is she only squeamish about killing when she's not the one ordering it?  Meanwhile, Tony has had the chance to analyze the data that he took when he scanned Ulyssess' brain, and it confirms what he expected:  Ulysses' visions are really just guesses based on a complicated algorithm.  Carol initially dismisses the result, until the Beast confirms that Tony's conclusions are correct.  It's here where we're at the point of no return.  Tony asks Carol what level of confidence she needs to have in the data to act, and she basically says any.  (The statistics nerd in me loves that the outcome of this event is turning on confidence intervals.)  Carol decides to continue with using Ulysses' visions to guide her action, but she crosses the line for Tony and his allies when she kidnaps a banker that Ulysses claims is working for HYDRA to undermine the financial system.  Even Maria Hill is nervous, and Carol claiming that they'll get the proof ex post facto isn't exactly an inspiring approach to justice.  Tony uses Nightcrawler to break out the woman, and an outraged Carol asserts that she's going to arrest him.  They go to war as the Guardians of the Galaxy appear to help Carol even the odds.  At this stage, my only real complaint is that it seems obvious that Bendis supports Tony's side of the argument.  Carol is starting to become a caricature of an over-confident general.  It's not exactly outside her character to become that, but we're pushing the limits of that.  I think it would help next issue if we learn that the woman really was a HYDRA plant, since it would support Carol's argument that it might be guesswork but Ulysses is very often correct.

Captain Marvel #7:  Not surprisingly, the Gages do a better job than Bendis of making Carol's position seem like the logical one, though they hint at the weakness in her position.  First, the events of this issue take place before "Civil War II" #4, so Carol still doesn't know about Tony's analysis of Ulysses' powers.  But, she's forced to account for the fact that she committed a sin of omission in not telling the Board that the Inhumans' information about the future came from a precognitive Inhuman.  (I mentioned how I thought that she was a little fast and loose with the truth in my review of last issue, and I was happy to see the Gages hold her accountable for that.)  Carol is able to convince the Board -- and Ulysses, in a private conversation with him -- that they should act on the visions.  Her argument makes sense:  she sticks to the idea that it's giving the tools that people who put their lives on the line every day need to be even more effective.  But, it's still a short-run argument.  Carol ignores Tony's long-run concern, namely that they could be creating a new, sub-optimal future by acting on Ulysses' visions.  But, Carol's myopia here fits with the tactical way that she sees the world:  she sees a threat, she eliminates it.  In a way, this entire event is revolving around Carol adapting (or not adapting) to this new higher level of responsibility that she now has.  She seems to be acting like a soldier, not a general.  The outcome of the event seems to hinge on how she makes the junior-to-senior transition.

Ms. Marvel #9:  This week's tie-in issues are really doing a great job of fleshing out the philosophical arguments that Bendis is raising in the main title.  We learn in this issue that  Kamala's classmate Josh was thinking of starting a fire in the school because he wanted people to feel the pain that he felt when his girlfriend broke up with him.  He doesn't deny that.  But, it's also clear that he didn't commit a crime and that counseling is what he needs.  Instead, the Cadets throw him in the jail that they've developed in an abandoned warehouse in Jersey City.  Wilson is essentially opening up another front against Carol here.  So far, they've treated everyone from Ulysses' visions as criminals based on the crime that they're going to commit.  But, in Josh's case, he's more a screwed-up kid than a future criminal.  Carol's approach doesn't really allow for that level of ambiguity.  (I will say that, given how many people the Cadets have in their prison here, you have to wonder how many visions Ulysses is having exactly.)  Bruno hurts himself when he tries to break out Josh, and it looks like it's going to bring Kamala to Tony's side.  After all, the incident goes to Tony's concern about unintended consequences, since people are getting hurt (and emotionally scarred) from the heroes trying to prevent other people getting hurt.

Also Read:  New Avengers #14

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