The last issue of Iron Man‘s “Road to Civil War II” is out, and I’ve got to be honest…I am not keen on this story arc.
Which is sad because I absolutely enjoyed the Iron Man “Reboot” arc to death. Out of all of the initial All New, All Different Marvel arcs, this is the one I loved the most. It is a perfect combination of action, humor, character development, everything that makes a story worth its salt.
And this follow-up lacks a lot of these elements. The first act itself holds together well enough. However, once the second act begins, the story starts to quickly fall apart. Subplots begin to bog down the main story, questions are left unanswered, and you’re left confused more than anything else. Plus the third act is terribly rushed, only adding to the confusion.
Normally I love Bendis’ writing style and pacing. His work on Alias and All New X-Men show this talent beyond doubt. Personally, it seems obligations to the Civil War II story -also by Bendis – is what hinders this story.
Especially with the introduction of Riri Williams. Williams will take over Stark’s duties as the Crimson Avenger in the fall. Though it seems this is unjustly rushed in order to coincide with the end of the Civil War II story arc.
Riri Williams never develops her character outside of a few brief scenes. And those scenes are sadly not interesting. This does not mean her position as a legacy character will not prove itself in the future. Many characters, including Kamala Khan as Ms. Marvel, show this concept to be an excellent form of storytelling. But rushing her character so quickly does not help us connect with Williams.
Secondly, Mary Jane Watson’s story is…well…confusing. I understand her apprehension to working with Tony Stark. I mean, the man is Marvel’s version of Howard Hughs, and that speaks for itself. But I still don’t see why she decides to stay with him by the end of the story arc.
Honestly, the recent Amazing Spider-Man shows a greater amount of development for Ms. Watson than in Iron Man. And Iron Man is supposed to be her new home, publication wise.
Again, I think the duties of plotting and writing Civil War II plays a major role in why this arc is lacking in several spots. Bendis needed to prioritize, and CWII demanded more attention. And I know how it is far easier for me to be on the outside shouting in, than it is to be on the inside and hitting perfect marks.
My opinion of Bendis’s ability to tell a story is not in doubt. But I do feel that this story needed more time to reach its conclusion.