World Comic Book Review

26th September 2023

Civil War II: The Oath #1 (Review)

Civil War II: The Oath #1
Marvel Comics, January 25, 2017
Writer: Nick Spencer

“Civil War II: The Oath” is a new title spun out of American publisher Marvel Comics’ 2016 crossover promotional event called “Civil War II”. The plot for this saw two factions consisting of Marvel’s most popular mainstream character properties pitted against each other. The trigger was an ideological dispute concerning how best to utilize a new character named Ulysses and his ability to predict the future. The first faction, led by a female superhero called Captain Marvel, wanted to use this precognitive ability to stop crimes before they happen. The other side, led by Marvel Comics’ famous character Iron Man, want to study the ability first in order to ensure that the predictions are not affected by Ulysses’ own bias.

“The Oath” serves as an epilogue to the main “Civil War II” crossover event, but also relies on a story arc set up in the pages of the 2016 title “Captain America: Steve Rogers”. Captain America’s long character history has been controversially rewritten so that he has always been a double agent since the character’s creation in the 1940s (achieved through the use of a cosmic wish-granting artifact/plot device called the Cosmic Cube).

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Infamous Iron Man #1-2 (review)

Infamous Iron Man #1-2 (review)
Marvel Comics, December 2016/January 2017
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis

The conversion on the road to Damascus is well-documented in the New Testament: known as Saul, a Pharisee, the man who became St Paul was charged with the arrest of followers of Jesus when he was confronted by a blinding light. A voice identifying himself as the son of God ordered Saul to do the work of Jesus. And so Saul changes his name and became an ardent Christian – in many ways, the person responsible for the survival and rapid spread of Christianity in the decades following the crucifixion of Jesus.

In this title, “Infamous Iron Man”, perennial evil-doer Dr Doom, a doyen amongst American publisher Marvel Comics’ villains, has like Saul experienced an epiphany. The character’s purpose as a superpowered antagonist has become extinguished. There is no point to villainy any more.

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The Nice Young Man

International Iron Man 1
Marvel Comics, May 2016
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Review by DG Stewart, 9 April 2016

This title has been promoted both by its cover art and in marketing copy as having an espionage flavour to it. There is little evidence of that in this first issue aside from a flashback action scene. Instead, it is almost certainly the most interesting Iron Man concept to come from its US publisher, Marvel Comics, since British writer Warren Ellis’ work on the “Extremis” story in 2005-2006.

Marvel Comics’ property Iron Man has been long portrayed as both a billionaire industrialist, and as a gifted inventor who has created a series of weaponised mechanical suits. There has been repeated a updating of Iron Man’s origin by Marvel Comics over the years (the character’s spark of inspiration to build a mechanised suit of armour came when as a hostage of the Viet Cong during the Vietnam War). The character was depicted during the 1980s as struggling with alcoholism, has had a succession of unsuccessful relationships, and has been replaced in his persona as Iron Man on many occasions. Iron Man is a foundation member of Marvel Comics’ premier superhero ensemble called “The Avengers”, has saved the world countless times, and a few years ago was depicted as Secretary of Defence in the US government. But the fictional life before the kidnapping event which caused the title character of this series to become Iron Man has been a void, until now.

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