Sunday, September 13, 2009

Looking Forward to Ultimate Alliance 2 and back at the "Civil War" story... Civil War fans beware!

This is going to be one of those stream of consciousness posts where I type random gibberish until I get bored enough to(mercifully)end the post. Let's see, I guess I'll blog about the upcoming Marvel Ultimate Alliance video game. I think it drops this Tuesday(although I could be wrong). I loved the original Ultimate Alliance, it was a great game with an interesting storyline. Unfortunately, it looks as if the new UA is going to be revisiting one of the worst Marvel stories in recent memory...

The game is based on the "Civil War" storyline from a few years back. For the record, I HATED the entire Civil War storyline. Why? For a whole bunch of reasons. For one, I thought the story resembled one of those summer Hollywood blockbusters, you know, a whole bunch of exciting moments with little cohesive storyline. Stanford blows up, Tony Stark becomes a pseudo-villain, Spider-Man nonsensically unmasks, Captain America becomes a wanted criminal, and things climax with a big old brawl in the streets of downtown Manhattan, with an ending so telegraphed that I could see it coming from nearly the beginning. I don't know what angered me more, Spider-Man unmasking or Cap becoming a fugitive.

Let's look at Spidey first. Here's Spider-Man, a character who valued his secret identity as much as anybody, happily unmasking at the behest of Tony Stark, on live TV no less! Why would Spidey do such a drastic thing? Because he wound up seeing Tony as some sort of a father figure or something like that. The best part of the unmasking? Within a few months, Marvel wound up retconning the entire sorry affair! To me, Spider-Man's unmasking was just a blatant money-grab, no more, no less. Now, there's nothing wrong with trying to sell a comic book with a big "event". However, Spidey's unmasking destroyed years of Spider-Man history and mythos. It just didn't make sense for THAT character to make THAT decision at THAT time.

Then we have Steve Rogers... The Sentinel of Liberty himself, Captain America, being branded a criminal. "Captain America: Fugitive" just boggles my mind to this day! Who makes Cap into the bad guy?!? Ah, but that was the thing about Civil War, wasn't it... Marvel wanted it to seem like there was no right or wrong, only shades of grey. Tony Stark threw his lot in with the government and followed the law, while Cap decided to disobey the law. When put like that, Cap seems like he was in the wrong. Of course, if you actually read the story, you quickly realize that Tony and his pro-government forces couldn't have been shown in a more villainous light. Tony's forces openly work with known criminals, back stab allies and most damning of all, create an clone of Thor which inevitably goes insane.

Huh, I can't think of a single positive that came out of Civil War. Civil War gave us Captain America's eventual assassination, Speedball becoming the useless Penance, the Thunderbolts inexplicably working for known criminal Norman Osborn, Tony Stark becoming the head of SHIELD, and of course, Spider-Man undoing his unmasking by making a deal with Mephisto... Oh yeah, and Civil War also paved the way for "Secret Invasion"... Ugh...

I don't know how Ultimate Alliance 2 is going to tackle the Civil War story, or how closely they're going to follow the original "Civil War". I can tell you one thing, I won't know for quite some time. I usually rush out to pick-up any Marvel licenced video game(yes, even Marvel Nemesis: Rise of the Imperfects...), but I don't think I'll bother buying MA2 until the day I find it in a bargain bin at my local Gamestop. Sorry Marvel, but I think I'll continue to play the surprisingly good Civilization: Revolution or the magnificent Batman: Arkham Asylum, as opposed to revisiting some of the most ill-conceived occurrences in Marvel's storied history.

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