Readers of The Lost Art

Civil War: Marvel Universe

March 4th, 2009

 Civil War Marvel Universe

Writer: Peter David

Artist: Fabian Nicieza

Reviewer: Louise

This trade paperback collects several Civil War-related Marvel comics; “X-Factor”, and “Cable and Deadpool”.


Background to Marvel: Civil War
The full story of the Marvel: Civil War arc would, I suspect, take up more space that I actually have allocated on the server for the entirety of this website. So for the purposes of understanding the plot, the basics are: a tragic incident in which innocent bystanders were killed during a battle between superheroes and villains has led to calls for all individuals in the Marvel Universe with super-powers to be registered with the authorities. Predictably, some are all in favour of this, and some are vehemently opposed. (More than this I cannot be bothered to learn. I may love graphic novels, but I also fondly like to imagine that I have a life, and said life is too short to try to comprehend a multi-book story arc that requires eager fans to start posting “suggested reading orders” of the books involved on the ‘net.)



The X-Factor issues collected here cover a clash between X-Factor and the X-Men over whether to hand over super-powered individuals for registration. I can’t really say much more than that, for the simple reason that, like many of the more tangential “tie-ins” to the Civil War story arc, you really need to know the background and the back-story to the issues collected to get the most out of them (and to really understand what’s going on). The artwork is very well done, however, with a slightly noir-ish feel.


Cable and Deadpool
Anyway, Cable and Deadpool. Both mercenaries, both deadly, but where Cable is opposed to the Registration Act, Deadpool’s all for it; more money for him, since he’s looking to find a job tracking down and bringing in unregistered heroes and villains. Unfortunately, he screws up from start to finish, managing to get himself beaten up by the Great Lakes Avengers (possibly the naffest super-hero team in the entire Marvel Universe) and held captive, desperate for the toilet. (Yes, the writing is that good.) Fortunately, he’s rescued by Cable, who teleports them both to the White House. Lucky for Deadpool – until the US president orders him to kill Cable…

You may have guessed that I’m not a huge fan of this book. Largely, as is so often the way with so many graphic novels, there’s an interesting potential story here which is being ignored. Deadpool’s point towards the end of the book about war and law enforcement being taken over by private contractors is extremely relevant in the current climate, and this could have been quite interesting as a counterpoint to the whole “morality of war” issue being raised by the other books. Unfortunately, the book can’t seem to decide whether it wants to go into this in more detail, or whether it wants to be a hi-larious romp taking the mickey out of the seriousness of the rest of the Civil War series, and ends up being neither.

Part of the problem is that the writers, in writing Deadpool’s character, are hamstrung by the need to keep everything PG-13. I’m all for crude, mouthy anti-heroes poking fun at Marvel’s po-faced universe, but for Deadpool’s character to work – for him to appear as the deadly ninja mercenary, capable of seriously taking on Cable in a one-on-one fight, that he’s supposed to be – he needs to not be using the “Lawksamussy!”-type expletives that Marvel’s books are still annoyingly littered with. And the reference towards the start to “Spiderman being doe-eyed Toby Maguire” is just baffling; is this book supposed to be part of Marvel’s continuity or not? I give up. Anyway, Cable and Deadpool! A missed opportunity.


Publisher: Marvel Comics (23 May 2007)
Language English
ISBN-10: 0785122435
ISBN-13: 978-0785122432

(First published 31/10/2007.)

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