Monday Wednesday Paperback Edition!
2006, it was the proverbial shot heard around the World! And the Marvel Universe will never be the same afterwards. The graphic novel, Civil War is one of the most controversial if not celebrated story arcs of comicdom for so many reasons.
It all started when a group of younger Superheroes called the New Warriors making some desperate attempt at boosting their ratings for their reality based TV show attack a few super powered criminals on the lam and things turn for the worse when one of the escaped felons, is cornered, he sets off a powerful explosion which results in a high casualty rate within the town of Stamford Connecticut.
Fast forward to a collective group of first responders that consist of the Avengers and a few others having an open discussion about irresponsibility and repercussions that may soon occur thanks to The New Warriors’ reckless actions.
Needless to say, the Congress has approved of a bill that will regulate or more like, deputize Superheroes in order to keep them in line. While some question the Government’s ulterior motives, (and rightfully so since this era falls under the Bush Administration.) there are others who welcome the proposal because each will be held accountable and of course monetary and healthcare benefits.
While at a private gathering of Super powered individuals, Ironman/Tony Stark has this epiphany after his encounter with a Woman whose child was one of the many casualties of the Stamford incident. And in doing so, cooperates with the United States Government’s Superhero Registration Act- a new legislature that would require all Superheroes/Metahumans to sign up with the government and provide personal information i.e. their secret identities for starters.
Elsewhere, aboard the SHIELD Helicarrier, Captain America is confronted by a headstrong Commander, Maria Hill who is left in command after Col. Nick Fury’s disappearance.
Hill gains intel of the Superheroes’ summit and demands that Cap turn in his comrades so that they can fully cooperate with SHRA, but being the conscientious objector, he defiantly refuses to comply thus making a daring escape but not before taking down a few well-armed SHIELD agents.
This was the very first impressive scene that demonstrated Artist Steve McNiven’s flair of high octane storytelling. his penciling offers a clean aesthetic whether its the facial expressions or torn fabric resulting from serious brawling.
After escaping SHIELD and going underground, Cap forms an Anti-Registration group (Falcon, Luke Cage, Hercules, Goliath and Daredevil who strongly identify with Rogers’ sentiment that the Registration Act officially known as the Fifty State Initiative, will impede upon their Civil Liberties.
While Stark along with Reed Richards, Henry Pym, Doc Samson and She-Hulk who are in favor of the legislation, proceed to convince Cap and his team that their way is the right way. But things do not go well according to Stark’s plan since his words fall on deaf ears. I remember laughing my ass off when Cap sucker punched Ironman unexpectedly but of course this course of action would being about serious repercussions as most of you readers are aware of.
And thus begins the Battle Royale of Marvel Comics. Millar deserves praise for this bold concept and shocking scenarios starting with the first faceoff between Cap and Ironman. This brutal struggle between two of the most prominent Avengers, illustrated how strongly opposing sides stood by their convictions and not to mention how ugly things turned out real fast!
It’s amusing as how Ironman was portrayed as the antagonist and Captain America, a hero of course and after reading the entire saga, it does not bode well for Stark’s image thanks to questionable actions such as:
- Stark’s desperation against Cap’s forces is showing especially when he would go as far, or as low to recruit Super Villains such as Venom, Taskmaster and a few others in order to help him turn the tide in his favor.
- Tony being a mentor to a naive Peter Parker develops a new Spiderman outfit and as a sign of trust, Peter feels obligated to take up Tony’s cause and was convinced to reveal his true identity in public! This was perhaps the most shocking part of the series but this wasn’t the only example of how far Millar went with the storyline.
- To top things off, there’s this very questionable idea “Project Forty-Two” put into motion by Reed Richards and Hank Pym (spearheaded by Stark) that is a detention facility where Anti-Registration individuals would be apprehended and imprisoned within the Negative Zone.
- And let’s not forget the creation of a synthetic Thor clone in place of the real Asguardian presumed dead. In his place, “RoboThor” attacks Cap’s army during the second match leading to a casualty of a supporting Character-Bill Foster also known as (Black) Goliath. I guess Marvel wanted to further address that this wasn’t some Schoolyard fight but how real Shit can get!
Spidey immediately changed sides after realizing that Stark is way over his head and the repercussions for revealing his true identity was harsh to say in the least. If it wasn’t bad enough that his former employer and all around Douchebag J. Jonah Jameson filed a frivolous lawsuit for Parker’s “arranged” Photoshoots of Spiderman, but his life was in serious peril when being pursued by Venom and the deputized “Cape Killers”.
These were primary scenarios of how far things went with thus storyline and after reading the Graphic Novels within its entirety, I often wondered, how can Marvel correct these questionable actions since there was no turning back? I avoided reading the crossover comics since Marvel saw this as an opportunity to further increase book sales also the series was best served as a self-contained event. As if it had taken place in some parallel universe and that works for me. No stupid Skrull Invasions, dealing with the Devil or fake assassination of a major character.
Civil War was an interesting experiment that addresses one’s civil liberties, moral compass and a few metaphors i.e. Government intervention like the Patriot Act primarily under the Bush Administration, Goliath being the first casualty as with Crispus Attics-a Blackman who was the very first to be killed in the real Civil War skirmish.Loyalties shift and quite a few found themselves switching sides throughout the series. This book had gained so much momentum that the concept has been utilized in other mediums such as Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2, Ultimate Marvel vs Capcom and most importantly, Captain America: Civil War.
Was Civil War a bad idea? Well it depends on who you ask. Personally, I applaud Millar for developing a bold concept that shook things up a bit and got the Geeks talking!
Although there is a sequel to the Comic series planned for July, I strongly doubt that it will have such an impact as the first storyline.
Time will surely tell.