One comic. Six stories. Six editors. Six inkers. Six pencillers. Seven writers. How can this possibly go wrong?

General Information

Title: Civil War: Choosing Sides

Authors: Marc Guggenheim, Robert Kirkman, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Mike Oeming, Ty Templeton and Jim McCann

Illustrator(s): Leinil Yu, Phil Hester, Ande Parks, David Aja, Scott Kollins, Roger Langridge, Alex Chung and M3th

Original Publication Date: This issue first published on October 25, 2006.

Cover Price: $3.99 US, $4.75 Canadian

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

This anthology includes several short stories informing the reader of which side of the Civil War various characters are choosing. It also sets up future storylines. The first story sets up Venom as a member of the new Thunderbolts. The second sets up Ant-Man as an unregistered spectator. The third shows Iron Man as he prepares for his own title. U.S. Agent and his move from pro-reg to the upcoming Omega Flight is in the fourth story. The final Civil War story is about Howard the Duck trying to register to avoid legal trouble. The six and final story is the crossover with Guiding Light, which airs it’s crossover episode this Wednesday, November 1. I’m curious enough about that to give it a shot.

High Point

The Howard the Duck story. The others felt like cheap promos for other titles (or television series), but the Howard story felt like it exists to tell an amusing story.

Low Point

The U.S. Agent story. The writing wasn’t any worse than the other promo stories, but the art was the worst in the set.

The Scores

Most of this did not feel original. The first four could have easily been backup stories spread through other titles, and the Howard the Duck story felt like the good old-fashioned Howard the Duck stuff. The original story is the Guiding Light crossover. It’s not original in the way it’s written, but just in the fact that it’s a crossover with the Guiding Light. Yes, that one. The soap opera. I give it 4 out of 6.

The artwork varies a lot. None of it looks really great, which could be because of the scheduling. (This is an oversized issue, and it’s apparently also set the record for the fastest turnaround from conception to publication for any Marvel comic in the memory of anyone currently working there.) Most is OK, but some just looks ugly. I give it 3 out of 6.

The stories are quick and almost contentless. They’re really closer to vignettes than anything else. I give it 3 out of 6.

The characterization isn’t very strong, which is a problem for an anthology of character moments. I give it 3 out of 6.

The emotional response is similarly weak. I got a chuckle on page two, with the reference to “the other Guggenheim.” (Marc’s brother Eric wrote Miracle.) From there, nothing really entertained well until the Howard the Duck issue. I give it 3 out of 6.

The flow is pretty weak, with abrupt changes between stories and rushed panels layouts within stories. I give it 3 out of 6.

Overall, this really feels like something for retailers to put on the shelves between delays rather than a product Marvel had confidence in producing on its own. I give it 3 out of 6.

In total, Civil War: Choosing Sides receives 22 out of 42.

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