After plenty of hype and media coverage, the first issue of Marvel's big summer crossover Civil War (of seven issues) has arrived in comic stores. And so far, not sucking so much. I knew that if anything, the Steve McNiven art would be worth picking up the first issue of the series. I've been a fan of his since his work on Crossgen's Meridian and he's only getting better. But Mark Millar's storytelling isn't so bad either. The issue opens with the New Warriors raiding a residence housing four of America's Most Wanted, for a boost of ratings on their reality show. Unfortunately, things don't go as planned as the villain Nitrate causes an explosion that not only engulfs and kills every member of the superhero team, but a school of children as well. The public outcry at the event, the recklessness of the heroes involved, have spurred Congress to consider a Superhero Registration Act, whereby heroes would essentially be superpowered cops, identities public knowledge. Now, I'm not a huge fan of the New Warriors or anything, but Marvel has a thing for killing off obscure teams lately (Alpha Flight in New Avengers) and I love the new designs of the New Warriors team, particularly Namorita and Speedball. I've been considering picking up the New Warriors: Reality Check trade for awhile now. So, you know, didn't appreciate the whole killing off there, but this is Marvel and resurrections go around like the clap, so that probably wasn't exactly the last we'll see of them, but...just saying.
The Superhero Registration Act could have been substituted for a more inspired plot device, as the Mutant Registration Act has been a black cloud hanging over the X-Men for decades. this may be the next logical step to that idea, but it was a little too easy and therefore, a little lame. That and Millar's using the phrase "the straw that broke the camel's back" twice in this little issue were the only things that really kind of bugged me, but it certainly wasn't enough to ruin the book or anything. It was still pretty good. I really enjoyed the discussion the heroes had about revealing their identities. Some people thought it was no big deal and they should pacify a paniced public, others like Spider-man said he didn't want to go home to find Mary Jane impaled by Doctor Octopus. There are concerns on both sides. I kind of liked the idea of a superhero strike. Serve the public right at this point considering how disgusting they're acting. But anyways, my favorite exchange of dialogue was between Captain America and Commander Hill, who's in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D., following a superhero meeting at the Avengers' HQ:
HILL: "How many rebels do you estimate here, Captain?"
CAP: "A lot."
HILL: "Any majors?"
CAP: "A few, but mostly the heroes who work close to the streets like Daredevil and Luke Cage."
HILL: "So nobody you can't handle?"
That last remark from Hill sent a chill down my spine when I first read it. I like Hill, even if she is sort of a bitch. But anyway, this is shaping up to be a decent story and I'll be looking forward to the subsequent issues.