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COMIC BOOK REVIEW: Civil War #5

 
Civil War 5 2015
Civil War 5 2015
Civil War 5 2015

 
Overview
 

Story by: Charles Soule
 
Art by: Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan
 
Colors by: Sunny Gho
 
Publisher:
 
FG RATING
 
 
 
 
 
4.5/ 5


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To sum it all up..

  END IT ALL After all is said and done, the war is finally over, or is it? The creative team of the Secret Wars tie-in Civil War closes virtually any loose-end in its fifth and ultimate chapter which results a mixture of relief for invested readers and fans whose dedications really are devoted for […]

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Posted October 16, 2015 by

 
FULL REVIEW
 
 

 

Civil War 5 2015

END IT ALL

After all is said and done, the war is finally over, or is it? The creative team of the Secret Wars tie-in Civil War closes virtually any loose-end in its fifth and ultimate chapter which results a mixture of relief for invested readers and fans whose dedications really are devoted for the entire series, and bittersweet because writer Charles Soule shows us that there is nothing civil about war at all. Regarding the former, we already witness who is another sleeper agent around, the one who actually gained the trust and confidence of one of the leaders of Warzone. Second, it ends as what superhero smack down stories supposedly should be: with a BANG! If war is bloody enough and traumatic even so, Soule and Yu make sure this finale resonates loudly and not half-heartedly like some concluding Secret Wars tie-ins out there right now. And lastly, the writer puts back some last-minute narrative plot-twists to greater effects that are effective in making this fifth issue a good read. Granted, we know the overall plot and the underlying forces surrounding this “civil war”, and the concluding part should easily wrap up, but the writer likes to twist the dagger further and pierce it deeper to maximum effect. This results to the latter concern, a sort of Tolkien-esque emotional finish ride. If you know the after effects and the aftermath of the Lord of the Rings saga, then you are supposed to relive this experience once again. Soule is knowledgeable about realpolitik, geopolitics and most particularly, war itself. There are winners and losers, but both sides have terrible prices and/or consequences to deal with afterwards. What more if there are some lingering questions left behind? Without the doubt, the final panels present an unresolved possibility/motivation/particularity that perhaps left best hanging or unresolved. Probably, that is one narrative technique Soule masters all along, namely, not all things go smoothly in reality, to which he applies this adage to this swan song.

On the other hand, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alanguilan and Sunny Gho provide some of the memorable illustrative artworks that actually accomplished Soule’s grand narrative. I said “some” because most of their respective illustrations are obviously (and understandably) hurried, due to professionalism (they are working in the comic mainstream industry, guys). For example, Yu’s Iron Man’s illustrations are basically drawn as decently as possible. If given him more time and/or allowed Civil War #5 to be delayed for the sake of refining more of his hyper-kinetic and pulsating illustrations, his Iron man take may possibly more intricately drawn to almost, well, perfection, maybe matched with some detailed works of fellow comrades-in-arms like Harvey Tolibao and Carlo Pagulayan’s respective illustrative armor visions. As I mentioned above, circumstances dictate here. Yet, who can argue Yu’s drawings of Hulk’s throwing Cap moment? Who can deny the artist’s “eye-piercing” one-page art splash that is spot-on and great to view? And, will someone dare to question his cover art illustration that is intricately detailed, and encapsulated the meaning of “Civil War”? Furthermore, Yu compensates this handicap on his increasing mastery of sequential paneling and perspective angularities, most especially on the panels that show overcrowding superheroes bashing with one another and the final realization moments. Due to that subliminal artistic awakening, Civil War #5 presents readers what to supposedly expect for next year’s Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Captain America: Civil War. In short, he illustrates as smoothly as possible, and accessibly mesmerized. Gerry’s inks follow Yu’s preferred positioning or angularity; thus the obvious penchant of shadows/inks in certain locations, especially in dark and/or shady areas despite the event takes place during the afternoon. Gho’s (with Matt Milla’s) colors, similar to Gerry’s inks, sometimes contrast with both Yu and Alanguilan’s respective artistic illustrations, though in fairness with the colorists, their colors never overpower the general illustrative visions of the main illustrator, and the event as well.

Aside from some criticisms I briefly highlighted, somehow the paper used here improves a little, yet still below par with other comic books around, particularly DC’s and Image’s. Secondly, this tie-in fundamentally reads autonomously, if not independently, from the grand Secret Wars narrative. There is Battleworld, but people in Warzone utter the latter, nothing more or less. And moreover, we witness the new leaders of both sides at the end of the narrative, but neither of them mention of GOD EMPEROR LORD DOOM nor stated the existence of the BARON. Virtually all tie-in series are connected directly or indirectly. But Civil War seems like a divergent, an anomaly in itself, except the name Warzone. Perhaps, Doom (or sarcastically, Marvel) designed this realm/region without that the kind of awareness the inhabitants possess at all.

Anyway, Civil War #5 closes another Secret War tie-in chapter in one of Battleworld’s countries or regions. Soule combines the classical finishing narrative tropes with a sensibility of leaving the story as bittersweet as ever. One may call this finale a Pyrrhic victory for both sides, but in superhero fashion. To that, Soule accomplishes to good effect. As for the art department, Yu, at least, maintains his artistic caliber to the end though one can pinpoint the rushed illustrations around and the inking placement. Yet, his paneling and perspective takes are undeniably awesomely glaring to the extent of viewing his artistic sequences akin of watching a cinematic Civil War version. Alanguilan and Gho’s respective artistic takes are commendable to ensure the illustrative consistencies and integrity Yu wants to project, more so to Soule’s grand narrative. To paraphrase a certain character here, Gerry and Sunny are true artistic soldiers in the truest sense. Civil War #5 fulfills in the greatest sense, most of our expectations as a worthy “What If?” scenario of the previous mega-event hit. True to form, everything comes with a price, one way or another….

 


Paul Ramos

 


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