"Civil War: The Confession" - Mania.com

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  • Issue: 1
  • Authors: Brian Michael Bendis, Alex Maleev
  • Publisher: Marvel
  • Price: $2.99

"Civil War: The Confession"

Civil Monologue

By Kurt Amacker     March 23, 2007

Civil War: The Confession #1
© N/A

Civil War: The Confession offers the reader an intimate look into Tony Stark’s motivations behind fighting for the Superhuman Registration Act, nearly sparking war with Atlantis through Norman Osborn, and assuming the directorship of S.H.I.E.L.D.  Brian Michael Bendis writes the titular confession as an illustrated monologue.  Speaking aboard the S.H.I.E.L.D. helicarrier to someone off-camera, Stark explains the events that long ago hinted at the future war among the heroes and his desire to end the conflict as quickly as possible.  Approaching the situation pragmatically and anticipating many of the consequences, Stark elected to take the most reasonable approach he could ascertain – one that would see the heroes of the Marvel Universe forced to compromise their principles, but not eliminated. 

Bendis presents an unusually sympathetic look at the pragmatic, yet amoral or even immoral, actions that some men will take in pursuit of the greater good.  Bendis hardly offers a ringing endorsement of Iron Man’s logic, but he lucidly explores a mindset often demonized in comics – that of a conservative willing to make great sacrifices to get the job done.  Most writers use characters like Stark to demonize the current presidential administration and blast anyone that fails to agree with their own politics.  Bendis explores Iron Man’s predicament and, while not exactly justifying it, forces the reader to understand the compromises those in leadership sometimes to have make.  At the same time, he explores the great cost of victory at all costs.  When the camera pulls back to reveal the man to whom Stark addresses his confession, Bendis suggests that some means don’t justify the ends, no matter how reasonable. 

Alex Maleev remains one of my favorite comic artists.  He manages to dress up a story that amounts to a one-sided conversation with dynamic battle scenes culled from flashbacks.  And yet, he always returns to Iron Man addressing a silent figure that remains off camera.  Stark reasons with himself and the other character and examines the reflection on the inside of his own mask.  Eventually, he breaks down and weeps.  Maleev then presents a morbid image that asks us how far we should ever go in pursuit of an ideal. 

Civil War: Confession seems gratuitous after the glut of one-shots, crossovers, and miniseries associated with the title, but it serves as a fitting conclusion to the main series and to the recent events of the Marvel Universe.  Pick this one up. 

Questions? Comments? Let us know what you think at comicscape@mania.com.


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lister 3/23/2007 10:39:03 AM
An "A"? Did we read the same comic? I thought this book sucked for a couple of reasons. First, I didn't think the Doom thing was a compelling enough reason to set Tony off on his new Hitler-mindset. Second, I did not buy the weeping and the idea that it wasn't worth it at the end. I don't think this character has remorse for the whole situation. Just that his former friend died. And if he did have these previous pangs of doubt, he could (and would) have worked with Steve to make some changes earllier (like not cloning/roboticizing Thor and allowing him to kill or their Gitmo prison). It all rang false. Like they wanted to make Tony seem like a villain to the majority of the readership to further the plot of Civil War. Not that it's over, he's supposed to be a leader we admire. Too little, too late. God, I hope the Hulk War thing is fun!
muchdrama1 3/23/2007 12:41:01 PM
The Tony Stark I know wouldn't have ever turned on his fellow heroes and friends. Just goes to show you what's running through Joe Quesada's head...nothing.
CalamityJohnson 3/23/2007 5:23:37 PM
Warning: Spoiler Alert!!! I'm with Kurt on this one. After reading this book I was blown away w/the character development and the inner journey/turmoil of Mr. Stark. I also had a hard time stomaching some of Stark's decisions early in the Civil War and still do but as I look back... c'mon, Stark has never been known to be a flawless hero, but one who has had many vices, insecurities, and arrogance. Put together these weaknesses and they were bound to get him into dirty water sooner or later. I like that the first half of the issue was later supplemented w/the 2nd half where we're treated to an earlier discussion between the 2 men in question in which Stark was still too stubborn to realize what he had and WAS doing. As for those that don't believe Stark would break down like that I would question that readers perception of the relationship of these 2 individuals. Yes, he's arrogant, full of himself, and very unyielding in his opinion, but whatever he might be he still looked up to Steve. I would guess that only Peter's death would have garnered such a similar response from Tony. And, only in such loss was he able to feel humility. I'm not a fan of Iron Man's, but I also respected this story, and of the many Civil War issues that have come out over the past 6-8 months this was the best.
lister 3/23/2007 6:34:34 PM
I am (was) a big Iron Man fan. I will be again with the new movie I hope. But he's kind of ruined for me now in 616. And this is more than just some "dirty water". It's a tsunami of bad choices and out of character actions. Worst of all, it's really depressing and a tad boring. Look, I am still reading. I am still hoping. Maybe it's all just a manipulation on Marvel's part and in one year there will be some sort of real reconcilliation and satisfaction for readers like me. This wasn't it.
lister 3/24/2007 10:00:42 AM
I think it would have been a lot more fun if Tony had come to his senses before the end of the "War". Then he would have had to join forced with Steve to try and stop the juggernaut he had set in motion. Instead, he's rewarded with leadership of SHIELD and is (effectively) getting ready to implant nono-technology into every single human so he can predetermine their fate. After all, who needs civil liberties when there is the potential for anything to go wrong. I am not sure why, but the whole situation just keeps bringing Harrison Bergeron to the forefront of my mind.
lister 3/24/2007 12:17:06 PM
Is it at all possible that Ultron was controlling Tony a little bit with his new nanotech armor? I really, really hope so.
VerbalKent 3/24/2007 9:30:44 PM
I also got to agree with Kurt on this one. This issue was probably the best thing to come out of Civil War so far. Stark comes off as human... finally... and we understand why he was able to turn his back on his friends for what he thought was the greater good. When confronted with the death of his partner and friend of countless years, the reality of his betrayal hits him hard. I see his breakdown as completely in character and believable. The structure of the story was fantastic too... first we see Tony's grief as he confesses he made a mistake over Steve Roger's body. Then we are witness to their final conversation. Tony is a complete ass as victor; Rogers is self-righteous and brutally honest. As anyone who has lost someone they loved knows, the worst part may be the words you can never take back, the wrongs you can never make right. Tony's guilt is eating him alive... and Bendis made him a sympathetic character again, and not just a quasi-supervillain. Other than Ultimate Spider-Man, I've never really liked Bendis' mainstream stuff very much. But I think he's been knocking them out of the park with his post-CW stuff.
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