It seems like the Civil War never seems to end. I’m not talking about American Civil War reenactors. I’m talking about Marvel Comics’ Civil War. Ten years ago, Marvel embarked on a cross-title storyline called Civil War which asked the question, “Whose side are you on?” The conflict centered on the Superhero Registration Act which forced costumed vigilantes to document their names and powers with the government or risk being prosecuted for violating the law. Captain America strongly disagreed with the law and vowed to continue to protect the lives of people around the world without compliance. Iron Man strongly agreed with the law and hunted down those heroes who refused to sign. In the end, Captain America surrendered when he saw the utter devastation being caused by the “heroes.” He gave himself up rather than see it continue.
Last year saw the resurgence of Civil War in an alternate reality during the Secret Wars event. Again, the two sides were divided between Cap and Iron Man, but instead of the fight ending in New York, a second tragedy occurs and destroys an entire city. America is literally split in two – East and West – with Cap’s forces in the West and Iron Man’s in the East. Marvel co-mingled two different huge crossover events in this book – Civil War and Secret Invasion – to come up with this plot and in the end the Skrulls, an alien race with the power to shape-shift, had kept the struggle going for as long as it did. In the end, Cap and Iron Man joined forces and rid the world of superpowers and the world began to heal.
This year, after the release of Captain America: Civil War, Marvel has decided to capitalize on the renewed interest in Civil War (the comic series) and has launched a massive crossover event called Civil War II. Civil War #0 just went on sale last week with writing by Brian Michael Bendis and art by talented artist Olivier Copiel. The story is just beginning but is similar to the previous Civil War in only the very basic of plot elements. Two sides form over the controversial discovery of an Inhuman who has the ability to predict the future. One side wants to use his powers to control the future. One side believes in free will. Already it’s hard to believe that Cap will side with the people who want to control the future. Cap has been a proponent of free will his entire life and was at the heart of the first Civil War fight. But he is shown in advance artwork as being on Captain Marvel’s side (who favors control). Again, it’s weird to see Iron Man on the other side when he so strongly advocated for control in the original Civil War conflict.
This might be a reflection of the hastily put together storyline that normally takes years to craft having been done in just a few months. Forcing a concept just because of cool marketing really isn’t the best way to guarantee success. Which begs the question, Marvel knew for years that Captain America: Civil War was coming. Why didn’t they start planning then?
Only time will tell if the series is any good. Bendis is unquestionably one of the best writers in the business and Marquez (the slated artist for the main series) is very talented, but will that be enough to salvage a storyline that already has holes in it? By the way, if you picked up the Civil War II preview during Free Comic Book Day, read it AFTER you read Civil War II #0. I’m not sure why Marvel released the FCBD comic before #0, but sequentially it only makes sense after you read #0. Copiel’s art in Civil War II #0 is beautiful. Bendis’ story is well-written, but is only set-up for what I’m sure will be an interesting #1 issue. Hopefully, the series will prove to be enlightening or at the very least entertaining, but it could definitely go either way. Should you buy Civil War II #0? If you like Bendis’ writing and Copiel’s art, it’s definitely worth it. I’m not disappointed at all picking it up. But if you’re hoping for a truly groundbreaking new direction for the Marvel U? You might have to wait.