When Marvel wrapped up their original Civil War crossover in early 2007, they capped off the story with a one-shot called Civil War: The Oath, which explored the emotional fallout of Iron Man and Captain America’s war. Unsurprisingly, Marvel is taking almost the exact same approach with Civil War II. Civil War II: The Oath is very similar to its predecessor in terms of tone and execution. It’s also more ambitious, though that actually winds up being its biggest flaw.
Civil War: The Oath’s power stemmed from its elegant simplicity. It was just two guys in a room (one of them dead for the majority of the issue), reminiscing about their friendship and the long, terrible road that led them to where they were. It was and still is a straightforward and powerful read, and easily one of the best of the many partnerships between Brian Bendis and Alex Maleev. This sequel echoes the original in many ways. It’s still framed around a heartfelt conversation between Captain and America and Iron Man (now having traded roles). But at the same time, it also devotes a great deal of energy to setting the stage for new books and new conflicts. The script frequently cuts away from the Cap/Iron Man conversation to touch base with characters like Spider-Man, Captain Marvel and Hawkeye, in some cases setting the stage for new series that have already launched. It’s a little too preoccupied with setting up future storylines and, as a result, the timeless quality of the original Oath is lost.