Vaughan & Chiang's "Paper Girls" Builds a Familiar Yet Disconcerting World
For the first three issues of Civil War, there was an interesting foundation established, which was about as shaky as a house of cards, and that foundation was, “Iron Man and company are just doing what they think is right.” It was a shaky foundation because throughout the books, they were portrayed as being creepy and just plain ol’ harder to understand where they were coming from. In #4, however, that house of cards came tumbling to the floor, leaving Tony Stark and Reed Richards about as close to being villains as they are heroes.
First off, I know this has been repeated a lot, but it is a very important point, so it must be said – it is not the responsibility of a comic writer to have both sides of an issue be treated fairly and/or evenly. None whatsoever. The comic writer should feel free to take a side and portray that side more favorably – or not. It’s totally in their hands. The criticism that Marvel was being untruthful when they said this event would be even-handed should be directed at editorial, not Millar himself, who I do not think owes any duty to back up the public statements of editorial (I dunno if he, himself, said he would be even-handed – if he did, well, then that’s a whole other thing). However, what I think he does have a duty to achieve is to write characters so that their actions make sense, and with Reed Richards and Tony Stark, I think he fails in that regard.
To recap Reed and Tony’s plan – they made a clone of Thor, then sent this clone to attack Captain America’s Secret Avengers (they should be called the Secret Defenders – just so that, after Civil War, they can relaunch a Secret Defenders book, just to laugh as it sells now), where the clone goes a little nuts and kill Goliath (in one of the most hilarious examples of a sixth-string character suddenly getting exposure in a big crossover just in time to die – it was so obvious that I thought he was pretty safe, if only because I didn’t think Millar would go so cliched).
To recap that, only in smaller, punchy sentences –
1. Reed and Tony cloned themselves a slave
2. They screwed it up.
Marvel’s greatest geniuses (working alongside Hank Pym, but sadly missing T’Challa, who is the best at everything) made a clone of Thor to fight with them and then they can’t even get THAT right?
That’s so absurd. And the idea itself is “twisting a handlebar mustache” bad, really. Thor’s their friend, and yet they’re sitting aorund making a fake Mjolnir to go with the clone they’re making of their old friend?!? What is even the POINT of that plan?!?
But what’s even worse than the plan is the fact that they couldn’t even DO it right!
So not only are they fascists, they’re incompetent fascists!
The cliffhanger ending was kinda blase, considering that they already established the idea in #2, but it was nice to see.
Steve McNiven continues to knock the ball out of the park with the art for this series, as it is excellent.
The action scenes were good, and I was impressed to see Yellowjacket, at least, come off as a somewhat sympathetic character. The funeral of Goliath is handled quite hokily, especially when the mother whose kid was killed in #1 comes to Iron Man AT the funeral? What the hell!?!? Millar will just always have those couple of “What was he thinking?” scenes, it is just a hazard of him writing a book, but so far, having him write this series has been a good move.
I wouldn’t recommend this issue, as I liked at least having the house of cards. It was better than nothing, and certainly a lot better than Tony and Reed acting like incompetent villains, a move I just can’t grasp the reasoning behind. However, I think the overall mini-series it still worth reading.
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