Civil War II: Choosing Sides #5 (Marvel)


CREDIT: Marvel Comics

Rating: 3.5/5 – Canadian PM Justin Trudeau Makes His Comic Book Debut.
by ComicSpectrum EiC Bob Bretall.

As comic book gimmicks go, putting a world leader on the cover generally helps pump up sales and is not so over-used (yet) that we see it multiple times a month.  In the case of Civil War II: Choosing Sides #5, Canada’s good looking prime minister Justin Trudeau gets his debut in the world of super-heroes on the variant cover of this issue.  On the plus side, it’s not an up-priced chase cover, I was able to purchase it for regular cover price, though who knows what will happen if it becomes popular enough to fuel a feeding frenzy with speculators.

Choosing Sides is an anthology book with several stories focusing on what I would consider to be C-list characters of the Marvel Universe dealing with topics related to the current Civil War event.  Leading off the issue is Alpha Flight, by (Canadian) writer Chip Zdarsky with art by Ramon Perez.   This is actually more of a Justin Trudeau story than an Alpha Flight story, though.  Trudeau appears on 7 of the 8 pages, while Sasquatch, Aurora, and Puck appear on only 3.  We get the setup, with the Alpha Flight Team members apprehending a criminal BEFORE he commits a crime at the behest of Captain Marvel, because of a tip from the Inhuman Ulysses.  Since this was done on American soil, they end up explaining themselves to Trudeau for 2 pages and we get some decent debate over the general morality of taking people into custody over a crime they have yet to commit.  We move from there to 5 pages of Trudeau sparring with Tony Stark as the two discuss the central issues behind the Civil War.  It’s nice to see that the cover image of Trudeau (who was once a boxer) in his maple leaf tank top and boxing gloves was not just a throwaway image but was actually woven in as a key part of the story.  It’s no longer a common thing for cover image to be anything more than a poster image with little to do with the story inside the comic

The other two stories were unremarkable.  Colleen Wing interacts with Misty Knight and the new “Howling Commandos” (zombie Jasper Sitwell and Man-Thing) and in the fifth part of a Nick Fury story starring the new “trying to be like the movie” Nick Fury interacts with a life model decoy of his father, the original Marvel Universe Nick Fury.  Neither of these stood on their own, both referring to events and situation in comics I had not read, so they didn’t do a lot for me.  For someone reading this entire series, the Fury story may have had more resonance.  For someone with more of a context in this version of the Howling Commandos, perhaps the Colleen/Misty story is continuing on some thread of that which might be interesting to you.

As a trained comics fan I responded in a very Pavlovian way to this issue.  Cover with Justin Trudeau in a maple leaf tank top & boxing gloves?  I’ll buy it to see what’s going on with that!  What I really liked was that it was not (a) just a cover that had no interior support and (b) not a nominal walk-on for a couple of panels.  Zdarsky has his story feature Trudeau in a key role who gets more story focus than the nominal featured heroes of the tale, Alpha Flight.  The other 2 stories were mostly forgettable for me, but such is the nature of anthology books.  Nothing I got here made me want to get more issues of this series, but the Trudeau story by itself made me feel like I got my money’s worth out of the purchase, delivering what was advertised on the cover when it could very easily taken the easy road and not lived up to the promise of the cover.

Reviewed by: Bob Bretall
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