If the Internet was everyone, I’m surprised Civil War #4 made it off the shelves. Aside from the sheer thrill of getting to see Thor, any Thor, bring the thunder down, discontent is the majority of chatter, especially regarding the actions of superheroes Iron Man and Mister Fantastic. These two men are fine examples of might for right, putting their rather considerable genius to work to save the world on numerous occasions. So why are they cloning a god to send it after their friends in some mad scientist’s arms race? Who are these people and how are they going to do the things they did before? Is this the end of the hero vs. villain line of morality? Can a story become so dark there’s no light at the end of the tunnel anymore?
From the Civil War Room 4, Mark Millar has a very concrete idea of what he’s writing and how it’s being accepted. Maybe he’s expecting readers to be more informed or more thoughtful and debating this storyline more, but the words ‘Personally, I would support Tony and I think most people in the real world would too.’ do not jibe with actions being displayed in the book itself. In the same interview, Mark Millar mentions how Reed’s actions are more evil than good by working on clone-Thor’s brain via some scary device jabbed into his brain. Is this really the side I’m supposed to be rooting for? Tom Brevoort says that maybe the interviewer is reading a little too much into Goliath’s funeral scene, but seeing a big picture of a large black man being wrapped in tarps and chains being lowered in the ground to be buried as a criminal, it’s a very short jump to see a metaphor even if one isn’t intended.
There’s a lot of motivation for the main players in this plot that seems to be picked and chosen in order to push the plot along. Waid’s run on the Fantastic Four balanced out Reed’s singled minded focus on science with a real love for his family and some responsibility for them all, none of which has been seen since those books came out. Iron Man is nearly a new character, all you need for motivation coming straight from the most recent volume and the Extremis storyline; Millar compares what he’s writing now to the Ultimate Iron Man he wrote for the Ultimates. Now, some of this is just bad timing, books not coming out on schedule and ending late while the character has advanced past that point in another book, but that leaves the readers scrambling from book to book, rereading to get a sense of a timeline. Mark Millar has a very definitive plan for where all this is going and is delighted to see his plans come to fruition. A ‘futurist’ himself, his vision is far ahead, 40 steps ahead of everyone else. Including the reader who is stuck sitting in the car while the parents drive, asking constantly, “Are we there yet?”
This is nothing new, mind you. ‘Wait and see’ is very much party line over at the Marvel offices, trying to get eager fans to keep their seats until the end of the show. But for the moment, there seems to be a fairly wide disconnect between what we’re reading and what they are trying to tell a vocal portion of the Internet public. I’m sure a good potion of readers are on the edge of their seat while others are leaning back with arms crossed waiting for the punchline; reader interpretation is a hard thing to guarantee, especially at #4 for a seven part series. In the end, we really can only wait to see what the end result is. No matter what Millar intends, readers are going to see the book through their own interpretation. It’s when that perspective matches the writer’s intentions do we really have a Marvel Legend.