Marvel’s ‘Civil War II’ Weak Link – My Thoughts on Ulysses

So Marvel’s Civil War II event is roughly half way through its overall arc. Lines have been drawn. the teams have collected their respective members. and the final push is about to begin. Having read the main story and a few of the subsequent tie ins, I wanted to discuss the one major weakness throughout the entire event, Ulysses.

Now this is my opinion alone, you will probably have your own thoughts on the character. And perhaps what I don’t like about this guy is the same reason you love him. More power to you. But on my end of the spectrum, he is not a character I’m rooting for.

The first issue I have with the character is how, for being a catalyst of the main arc by Brian Michael Bendis and even in his own series, he doesn’t have much of a presence in the story. He’s a background character who is treated like he’s in the main cast.

Most of the time he’s mentioned in conversations, usually in a passing manner, making his contributions to the story in a very indirect manner. If his role was filled in by an already existing character then it would probably have a greater impact to the narrative.

Even in his own limited series, Ulysses has a very limited role. And most of what he does is react to other characters or just complain. There’s nothing really to him. No depth, no mystery. Just a whiny guy who seems to be the single most important character in the Marvel Universe.

The second issue I have with Ulysses is in his actual character. He’s just so…boring. We never get to know him as a person. So far two of Marvel’s heavy hitters are out and I don’t really think we’ve seen his reaction to the situation. I mean I think he was moping, but to be honest…all he does is mope.

We don’t know why exactly he feels guilty. And I can see how he could feel this after the death of War Machine and the Hulk, but no one seems to give the guy a moment to explain the guilt.

Is he upset he never saw that part of the vision that could’ve saved either hero?

Is he upset that his visions led to their deaths?

Does he feel like maybe he should’ve stayed hidden from the Inhumans?

Maybe he regrets having these powers?

Is his resolve to master his power strengthened or shaken?

None of this is ever explored. Ever!

While not following this example to the letter, they could try and use the example of Cassandra of Greek mythology. Cassandra had the ability of prophecy, but it eventually leads to her downfall and her city of Troy. There is an emotional pull to her tragedy in that she tries to avoid this fate, and it is through this effort that leads to the destruction she is trying to avoid.

You get no such feeling from this guy. And it really hurts the Civil War II story.

Miriam Sharpe, a character introduced in the first Civil War story, and who is strictly a supporting character, pulls more than her weight in the story. She represents the reason for the Registration Act, aside from Tony Stark, and her cause is relatable. It resonates with us, even if we may not be on her side. And when the story is over, you still think of her when you think about Civil War I.

You can’t really say that about Ulysses. Which is sad, because a plethora of Marvel writers are trying to make you care. Really really hard.

I hate to say this about the character, since he’s a creation of one writer I truly respect. And the same for the company, as they have been one I’ve enjoyed reading over the years. But this guy…this guy is just hard to sell to me. And it’s hurting the Civil War II story arc more than it should.

What do guys think of the Civil War II story? Who’s your favorite character so far?

Seth Frederiksen
Seth Frederiksen
A post-grad history buff who is addicted to comics and books, and lover of anything with the words "ice" and "cream" in it. I've been a huge Batman fan since I can remember, and have come to appreciate sequential art as literature and entertainment. Also I have a soft spot for dogs. Just saying.