Civil War #7 was not good. Here’s why:
1) The final fight was disappointing. It didn’t seem like a major battle. It had its moments, and there was certainly some cool art, but for the most part it didn’t live up to the hype. You want specifics?
a) I recognized everybody. If the Superhuman Registration Act was such a big deal that every superhero was forced to choose a side, there should be plenty of obscure characters I’ve never seen before. That’s part of the reason Infinite Crisis seemed so huge. Even earlier in Civil War, obscure characters like Ultragirl were shown fighting along with the anti-registration movement. So where are they now?
b) Namor shows up for one panel, yells “Imperius Rex!” and then leaves. Yep, the Avenging Son isn’t in a single panel other than the splash page he first shows up in.
c) Captain Marvel shows up and does nothing. Also not in a single panel other than the one he first showed up in. You’d think there’d at least be a moment when he questioned why Captain America and half the Avengers are suddenly his enemies. But no. He doesn’t even throw a punch or have a single line. Good thing they brought him back from the dead.
d) The Thing shows up and tips over a bus. Notice a pattern here? Why include these characters if they serve no purpose? What do Namor, Captain Marvel and Thing gain from being here? The ability to say, “I was there?” It’d probably be better for character development if they weren’t there, because then they could at least have the, “I should have been there” regrets. Instead, all three now know that they were wholly unimportant.
e) Reed Richards acts like a five-year-old. How many times has Mr. Fantastic seen Spider-Man fight? Dozens? Hundreds? Thousands? So why does he suddenly think Spider-Man doing exactly what he always does is, “amazing?” Then Spider-Man says, “spectacular.” Get it? Because two of his books have those adjectives! Ahhhh ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha haaaaaaa! Oh wait, that hasn’t been funny since the first time someone made that joke. I’m still waiting for someone to yell out, “web of!”
f) Villains run amok. Why would Iron Man let a group of homicidal lunatics run wild in this fight? Did he think that they wouldn’t try to murder everyone in sight? Cap would be dead were it not for the timely intervention of Namor. So would Sue Storm if Reed hadn’t sacrificed himself.
g) It ended too early. No one but Clor and Mr. Fantastic was down for the count when the fight ended. Stature, Hawkingbird, and Patriot were all show prominently in the, “That’s an order” splash. If the fight hasn’t even taken either side to the point where the non-super-powered, under-trained Young Avengers are still standing, it hasn’t been a very tough fight.
The fight did have its high points, like the fight between Hercules and Clor and Invisible Woman crushing Taskmaster beneath an invisible column, but it really just didn’t seem as epic as this fight deserved to be. Oh, and then there’s the ending…
2) Cap’s reason for surrendering was stupid. I don’t remember the anti-registration side ever being about wanting to protect people. I don’t think anyone thought that if you sign with the government, you stop being a superhero. It was always about protecting these heroes’ right to privacy, and about making a stand where greater security isn’t worth the loss of civil liberties.
And the moment where the “real heroes” try to stop Captain America was groan-inducing. We get it. Firemen and policemen and doctors and EMTS are real-life heroes. Enough already. I don’t read comics to read about real-life heroes. I read comics to read about super-heroes. And here’s a newsflash, Marvel: spotlighting the “real heroes” in a story every year or so doesn’t make up for the fact that you neglect them in the other hundreds of stories you publish every year.
3) The General Hero Amnesty makes everyone who took it seem like an idiot. “Oh, I was willing to fight my friends and family nearly to the death for what I believe in, but now that there’s no chance our side can win, I might as well join up with the winning team. I don’t think anything’s ever been accomplished by going to jail for what you believe in.” The only heroes I have any respect for now are the ones that didn’t take the amnesty, which appears to be Captain America, the Punisher and the New Avengers.
4) No one died. No, I’m not upset that no one died. What I am upset about is that this issue was heavily promoted to include a high profile character dying and Marvel didn’t deliver (imagine that!). I was just looking at the May Marvel Previews, and no less than four solicitations make mention of a major death that came about as a result of Civil War that impacts Captain America, Spider-Man and Iron Man and warrants a special issue spotlighting the character. And I don’t think anyone really cares that Goliath is dead anymore.
Civil War #7 was bad. But really, it didn’t have any chance to be good. There was no way Civil War was going to end with anything but the pro-registration side victorious. No amount of superhero vs. superhero fights is going to change federal law. And there was no way everyone on the anti-registration side was going to prison. Essentially Marvel has written itself into a corner that it couldn’t write itself out of. It was really just a matter of salvaging what they had into something halfway decent. Giving the circumstances, this is probably the best they could have come up with. That doesn’t make it any better, though.