After the events of Civil War II #1, Tony Stark finds himself in a rather difficult place emotionally. Still attempting to deal with the loss of his best friend while simultaneously trying to determine whether Ulysses is a threat or an asset isn't the best combination, and that is evident throughout issue 2.
In fact, this internal conflict is the crux of most of the issue, with the character acting rather brashly and going a bit against his typically pragmatic approach. Here he just outright blames Ulysses for something clearly not his fault. Grief affects everyone differently, and it's certainly understandable. He's not necessarily wrong in his assessment of the situation, just way off in how he handles it.
The issue as a whole doesn't do much for Tony's side of the argument, and frankly the second issue focuses way too much on Stark, with little to no development of Captain Marvel's side of the equation until towards the end. Brian Michael Bendis did such an amazing job in the first issue of giving both sides substance, but in issue 2 the balance is off.
That said, when a big scene hits, it's powerful, and really all because of the fantastic art by David Marquez and Justin Ponsor. One particular scene involving The Hulk sticks in your mind well after you put the book down, and will form the basis of issue 3.
I will give credit to Bendis for allowing the Inhumans to look truly threatening here, even if they ultimately get duped by Iron Man. All of the planning Stark had to invest just to get in and out of their HQ shows how seriously he takes them, and he treats Medusa as both regal and powerful, showing just how deadly she can be.
Bendis' trademark quippy wit can be seen throughout the issue, including one sequence when Stark gets a visit from the Inhumans a bit earlier than expected. Tony's response is perfect, saying:"Hank McCoy, Damn! I keep forgetting he's with the Inhumans now (because that's just weird)." The retort of "save it for an online forum" is even better.
It is unfortunate that the cliffhanger from issue 1 involving She-Hulk is relegated to the background. She is only referenced through one-off comments, which is sort of odd since it appeared to be a crucial plot point that ended the first issue.
Overall It gets things from point A to point B, but the trip isn't necessarily smooth. The developments are promising, though, and should lead to an interesting third issue.
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Writer: Brian Michael Bendis
Artist: David Marquez0comments
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Letterer: VC's Clayton Cowles