Civil War vs Annihilation by Reviews Weekly
Writer: Keith Giffen
Art: Andrea Devito
So while Civil War continues to melt message boards, dividing fans across the world, Annihilation has turned into the best Marvel Ďeventí in recent memory. No forced set-up, no massive spread of titles with tenuous links to the actual event, just four mini-series leading into the one title that is galactic in every sense. The cover art throughout the event has been nothing short of stunning and issue #4 is no different, leaving no one in any doubt about what will take place Ė Thanos vs Drax, probably the two most interesting characters in the series, throw down.
Drax the Destroyer blade-wielding psychopath, resurrected and engineered with the sole purpose of killing Thanos, against the Mad Titan, the most likely character to derail Annihilus extinction event. What makes Annihilation superior to Civil War is itís pacing. Unlike Civil War, which ponders along under a delayed schedule and the ludicrous weight of who-knows-how-many supplementary titles, Annihilation is sleek, fast and to the point. Draxí journey to find Thanos in this issue is gore-filled, galaxy-spanning and epic, yet only takes a single issue. This forces the narrative forward where the inclination may have been to linger and all credit should go to Keith Giffen for that. The intrigue surrounding Thanosí unsettled relationship with Annihilus in this issues is surpassed by Draxís goal, where the odds are huge against, yet Drax threshes through the various insectoids in Annihilusí wave to fulfil his destiny. The confrontation between the two is brief and ominous. Throughout Annihilation there has been a foreboding sense of imminent doom and by the end of this second third of the series, it increases, becoming palapable. It also throws up a lot of questions that have only a few issues to resolve, suggesting Annihilation is in for a stunning finale. Most importantly about that ending, I really donít know where the creative team will take this title next and thatís the biggest compliment I can pay them. Itís a pity this has to end, if you're not reading this the only question is why not?
4.5 out of 5
Civil War #5
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven
If Iím honest Civil War is starting to bore me. The great idea has been lost under the need for profound statements, a hugely biased slant on the events themselves and a ridiculous number of associated titles (68 separate issues in my pile I believe to be a part of the storyline). So it was a surprise when I saw Civil War #5 in the shop, I hadnít expected it and truth to tell was a little uncertain about picking it up. Itís natural to want to finish a story, but with no end in sight Civil War has become a real expense for fans.
Dealing with the conclusion to Tony and Peterís fight (from ASM - told you it was confusing) and the entry of a new character into the action, Civil War #5 can be considered the Ďchanging sidesí issue. Peter finally does what has been obvious Ė albeit with a little help from a character that will, if weíre lucky, shake up the entrenched balance of ĎCap good, Tony badí that currently exists. A civil war is a nasty, brother-against-brother affair with no classical winner, to that end I think the creators have done a good job of showing a harsh, everyone-loses scenario but the government side has throughout the event lacked any creditable validity for their position. It is there though, with several intelligent and important answers for the pro-government side to offer in defence of their position, but for some reason we have been treated instead to a classical parody of corrupt government overdosing on the evil gas. Issue #5 is no different with the opening page containing two minor characters swapping to Tonyís side from Capís with the justification "People want us to be properly trained, Mister Hogan. Itís not the Nineteen-Forties anymore. All I want is to do my job to the best of my abilities." This from a character supposedly struggling with her conscience for swapping side and unclear on where to stand through this event. Itís lazy writing that has slowly pervaded the majority of Civil War associated titles and continues here with a very odd conversation between Johnny Storm and his sister that really doesnít need to be in the comic.
On the upside there are a few really good scenes, Peterís rescue after being hunted down by an oddly efficient SHIELD team introduces a character that Civil War has been crying out for to add a bit of grey to the monochrome proceedings, and a name character gets captured (possibly setting up a prison break when the prisoner's current identity issues are considered) but manages a great parting line. Unfortunately there is no real sense of resolution to the issue and it has become one of those events that will work far better as a trade paperback where a monthís time and several other Civil War titles wonít cloud oneís memory of what happened. This series can still do much better.
3 out of 5