Writer: Mark Millar, Artist: Steve McNiven, Inker: Dexter Vines.
Premise: The Marvel heroes are dealing with a tragedy that killed 600 plus innocent civilians. The tragedy was caused by a super-villain Nitro who was being chased by the New Warriors. The resulting political fall out caused a registration bill to be passed and some heroes were in favor of the bill and some were opposed, causing a Civil War. Iron Man lead the pro-registration forces and Captain America the anti-registration forces.
What I Liked:
1) The art was good, but I actually preferred Steve McNiven's earlier work. The panel layouts were okay but not spectacular.
2) Production quality was high. Nice paper all very slick and pretty.
What I Didn't Like
1) The whole idea. The end of the story is Captain America sees what great destruction they are causing and surrenders and the pro registration forces win. This is a real total change in the whole premise of the Marvel Universe. Every hero is essentially signing up to be a super cop. Being an officer of the government and being their agent is totally different from being a hero. Many of the heroes of the old Marvel universe did it because it was the right thing to do and often did it at their own expense. This takes away the heroic ideal and essentially destroys it.
2) The characterization. Who are these people. More then half of these characters don't even sound like themselves. "no, I'm just thinking about my pal up there kicking your butts into next week.." - is that something Captain America says? Reed Richards is watching Spider-Man fight and says "Amazing", then Spider-Man kicks him and says "Spectacular", hell why didn't Reed say not very Friendly - how chessy was that scene (answer very). Heracles has the line that I know Thor and you are no Thor(thank you Lloyd Bentsen) as he kills Clor (I'm not quoting as it was all darest and thoust were added). My favorite example of who the hell is this is a line from a letter Reed is sending Sue "I saw you during the clean up...you looked so beautiful...I cried a full ninety-three minutes when I returned home that night" - BLECHHH. Plus Reed has a new power to be able to cry for over an hour and a half.
3) This not the Watchmen, this is not Kingdom Come, or Absolute New Frontier or even Crisis on Infinite Earths and I think it is less then Infinite Crisis. So why the frelling delay to let Steve McNiven draw all of it. This is not a timeless book that will last for the ages. The actual seven issues themselves were not that good and did not tell even half of the story. The fall out may have some good stories, but this was nothing more then a glorified super-hero fight that is the springboard for setting a new status quo that I think is a bad idea. Hopefully the execution of the individual series will over come this horrible status, but it has already destroyed She-Hulk.
My grade is so harsh because this book failed on many levels, story, characterization and creating a more interesting Marvel Universe. It really missed the mark. The biggest sales numbers do not always equate to the best product.