Is there a better mode for conveying narrative then using court room testimony to establish flashbacks? If there is, somebody tell Mr. Bendis, because I was all courtroomed out after the first comic. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Here is the story's breakdown:
There isn't much of a "story" here. A trial is taking place, so Bendis uses courtroom depositions of heroes to usher in flashbacks surrounding a particular event. Carol Danvers, Tony Stark, Hank McCoy, and Clint Barton retell the tale of how Bruce Banner died.
If you remember from last issue, Ulysses predicted that the Hulk would end up killing all of Earth's heroes. He created a psychic impression of everyone in the room. Everybody saw his "vision" of the future, even Tony Stark who had to admit that it felt very "real." The Inhumans, Avengers, the Ultimates, and SHIELD confront Bruce Banner with this terrifying revelation only to find out that he has been conducting experiments on himself. Shocked that he would do such a thing, Maria Hill orders that he be placed under arrest. Bruce denies any wrongdoing and begins to get visibly upset at his invasion of personal privacy and civil rights... right up till the point that an arrow is put through him.
None other than Clint Barton is responsible for killing both Bruce Banner and the Hulk. It is revealed that Bruce developed a means to kill the Hulk and entrusted it to Clint on the condition that if he ever started turning into the Hulk again, Hawkeye would put an end to it. Clint agreed to his role in Banner's euthanasia, and promptly surrenders to the authorities after he completes that role. Hence the trial.
The comic ends with Mary Jane trying to tell Tony Stark the results of the trial, but is interrupted when Friday tells Tony that she has figured out how Ulysses mind works. MJ and Stark gasp with the new knowledge... knowledge we will have to wait for till next month.
Now I like to kid a lot about how Bendis likes to draw on traditional tropes and beat them to an inch of their lives, but this courtroom trope is REALLY bad; It is an unoriginal and boring vehicle to establish narrative outside of TV drama. This could have been interesting if we got the story from each individual perspective in each flashback. Instead we get the standard third person view giving a liner account of the events. In this comic book, with a limited number of pages, a talented artist like David Marquez spends half his time drawing people behind the bench and having Matt Murdock do his best Phoenix Wright impression. This is not what we as readers want from a "Civil War" comic. We came for fighting, not courtroom exposition that is supposed to pass for drama. Bendis maybe getting around to this at some point, but the action will end up spanning only a couple issues before Marvel has to pave the road for the next "event."
The books I go back to most often are the ones that have interesting and beautiful art conveying scenes of epic struggle. Clint Barton crying is not one of them. Courtroom deposition is not what most of us come to the visual medium of comics for. David Marquez's art keeps getting better the further we get into this series. I would like to see his talent put to use on something else that gives him just as much exposure without feeling he is tied to some awful story telling.
This is the low point for me on this series, which was pretty low to begin with.