Writer: Brian Reed
Artist: Roberto De La Torre
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: After thwarting a robbery at a fast food joint while tracking down the teenaged superhero Araņa, Ms. Marvel and Wonder Man bring the girl into the Stark Tower facility for registration and training purposes. Meanwhile, Arachne switches sides and helps her lover the "Shroud" escape. Carol and Wonder Man are dispatched to retrieve them.
Comments: Though I strongly dislike the concept of Civil War, the big Marvel event comes to one of my favorite new Marvel comics and is handled quite well by the creative team. I also hate the fact Carol is on the pro-registration side of the conflict, but I can live with it if it means good stories will come out of it.
This story, the second one of the arc, alternates between two subplots, Araņa's inclusion into the Iron Man camp of the conflict and Julia and the Shroud's attempts to escape from the government. Anya reacts like a typical teenage girl in this comic. She isn't really bogged down by the ethical dilemmas of registration or worried about heroes turning against other heroes. Instead she is thrilled at the prospect of fighting side by side with the big names such as Iron Man and Ms. Marvel. The awe and wonderment a young adult would feel at siding with these larger than life figures comes across in a genuine manner, as does her papa's concern over her safety.
The possibility of never using her powers to help people is a not an appealing idea to young Anya, so she decides to stick around for training. Araņa's strong personality also surfaces when she practically demands to be included in a briefing about Julia's escape.
Penciler Roberto De La Torre continues to do a fantastic job of illustrating these stories, pulling out all the stops with the car chase at the end of the book which is rendered with a lot of dynamic panels of suitable action. Despite the fact this comic book is only 21 pages long, there's enough action and intrigue to make it feel longer. The sequence where Julia and Max discuss their decision to flee is made more moving by Julia's refusal to leave her daughter behind. Both characters act like two desperate fugitives, allowing the reader a glimpse into the complications of taking a stand against superhero registration.
Reed crafts a compelling read and packs a lot of drama into this story. However, I'll be glad when this Civil War interlude is over and we start getting full covers again, instead of these half painted covers with the stylistic CW logo rounding out the bottom.
Final Word: It was nice to see the letters page at the end of the comic, though this issue Reed departs from the tried and true formula of letters followed by a response in favor of a column/blogging approach. This is fine, unless it means one less page of story like it appears to be the case here.
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