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Story by: Charles Soule
Art by: Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan
Colors by: Sunny Gho
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To sum it all up..

ART OF WAR This is it, folks. This is what we are waiting for! Charles Soule has a soul or two left to make the Secret Wars tie-in Civil War one of the best readings so far. I am not exaggerating, but just saying something worth of our time and great comic book appreciation. Soule […]

Posted September 13, 2015 by




This is it, folks. This is what we are waiting for! Charles Soule has a soul or two left to make the Secret Wars tie-in Civil War one of the best readings so far. I am not exaggerating, but just saying something worth of our time and great comic book appreciation. Soule shows strong command in storytelling while our Philippine pride Leinil Francis Yu and Gerry Alanguilan step up their respective artistic calibers in the most revealing issue yet, Civil War #4.

The writer finally reveals the brains behind the machination from the premier chapter and this one is so surprising, readers should go back and read some of Yu’s New Avengers finest run, and that 2009 superhero mega-event that is, spoilers, Secret Invasions! Charles cleverly applies tense dialogues and subtle pacing in order to deliver that unexpected plot-twist that will definitely change the course of this civil war in the fifth and hopefully most memorable finale yet next month (that’s once again a no exaggeration here. Yu finished the whole stuff, and we are just impatiently waiting for October). My thoughts are scrambled right now on the possibilities of the writer’s initial thinking of directly gearing this tie-in as a nod of the artist’s artistic contributions in the mainstream comic projects. Granted, the topic of subterfuge, infiltrations, deep-throats, war economy, or the “war is the racket” is basically a good theme to explore, but Soule’s inclusion of that infamous shift-shaping race is totally unexpected at first, a subliminal tribute to his artist-collaborator and a simple tip of the hat of the great (yet still criticized) 2007 mega-comic event series. Perhaps, I will ask the artist himself next week on that matter.

Additionally, this penultimate issue presents “the end of the beginning” trope, the war itself. Indeed, after years of fruitless stalemates, war preparations and strategizing, and failures of solving of both sides’ internal affairs/problems, it is a fruition moment to end this conflict once and for all. Just observe, indulge, digest, and fully appreciate the painstaking illustrations and inking the Yu-Alanguilan tandem produces, most particularly the war transportations and machineries Yu draws with laser-point precisions. If only Steve “General” Rogers know the truth behind all the fuss he and Tony “President” Stark are fighting against. I find the pacing appropriate for it suits well in the superhero comic narrative and the series should at least resolved next month with a true definitive finality, unlike the original Civil War that was a bit unsatisfactorily ended on a bitter note (and tragically, if you know your Marvel 616 continuity). I believe both Soule and Yu are aware on that event’s aftermath, and probably will ultimately put the exclamatory sign soon.

Let’s now deal entirely on the artistic side of the coin, aside from my abovementioned illuminating views on Yu’s drawings. First, he seems to avoid what plagued him whenever he does a monthly series, rushed but scrawny drawings. Again, that Waterloo is prevented though not in its entirety, but still great to mesmerize than his Secret Invasions run, particularly the later chapters. His close-up facial expressions are highlighted to portray the definitive collective fate both sides must confront, and the artist nails that aspect. This is similarly correlated with the intricate and minute details displayed in the locales, characters and the battle sequences that he illustrates with care, though a bit rushed in some last pages that are obviously glaring. And the cover art is the encapsulation of the General’s forces resolution to fight it all which Yu already masters that since his Superior years. In other words, both Soule and Yu remain consistent!

Okay, here are some beefs that need to address here. One, who is (or was) the Regent of Warzone, the name of the Domain in this story? If that person exists or existed, was s/he killed before the beginning of this series? I have a feeling that Warzone is the only Domain in Battleworld that has no Regent at all. Hopefully, Soule covers that in the concluding chapter. Two, Yu may prevent repeating the rushed but scrawny artistic moments but as said above, the final pages suffer the same scratchy and rugged illustrations that are virtually alike in the previous issue. Moreover, he still shows his Achilles in illustrating far-off perspectives and/or characters in the far background (i.e. faceless figures). This is evident in the splash page where the tanks, trucks and other military transportations look like mere cubes or childish sketches of vehicles. Seriously, there are painful to watch. And, Gerry’s inks seem to dominate even with Sunny Gho’s colors, particularly on Roger’s shield that is practically shadowed and prevailing in the last pages that diminished Yu’s illustrations. Even the mouths of many casts are inked exaggeratedly. Even Gho’s colors are basically bland and overpowered by the inks. There are only two primary colors, yellow for Roger’s hair and red for Tony’s Extremis-powered Iron Man suit. The rest are dark or nominally uninspired despite the final battle takes place in open daylight.

Nonetheless, Civil War #4 hits the penultimate gear as smoothly as it should be. Story-wise, Soule delivers probably the biggest surprise in any Secret Wars tie-in ever, which may or otherwise influence the outcome of the war next month. Yu and Alanguilan’s respective artistic illustrations are commendable, avoiding the perennial problem of artistic smudginess due to usual working rushed deadlines. The overall consistency is what mattered most in the Civil War series, and I believe further it will end with a BANG!

Paul Ramos



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