I’d already been planning to review the Civil War TPB but, with the recent announcement that Robert Downey Jr will be joining Captain America 3 for (potentially, at least) a movie adaptation, I figured it was worth bumping ahead in my schedule!
In many ways, Marvel’s Civil War is more ‘realistic’ than many of its counterparts. What I mean by that is that it finally addresses some of the red tape and public concerns that would inevitably arise in a world habited by superpowered beings – let’s face it, some of these guys have pretty fragile psyches. It’s not uncommon for superheroes to become villains (Hal Jordan, anyone? Plus Superboy Prime, Jean Grey etc) and vice versa (Magneto, Venom, Taskmaster to name but a few), so it makes sense that world governments would want to exert some control. But you already know that some heroes out there aren’t going to be onboard with that…
That, in a nutshell, is the storyline of Marvel Civil War. I once heard it described as Watchmen meets Les Miserables, which might just be the most highbrow plot summary of a comic book ever. The really great thing about Civil War is that it deals with shades of grey; there are VERY few people out there who would ever root for Lex Luthor or Red Skull, but by pitting heroes against other heroes Marvel forces the reader to make a choice about who they support.
And, like it or not, the side you pick probably says something about your political leanings and who you are as a person. Unfortunately, the treatment of anti-registration heroes kinda clinches which side 90% of people pick…
In case you’re curious, here’s a snapshot of those Marvel Civil War sides:
Iron Man (leader of the pro-registration movement)
Spider-Man [later ‘defects’ to the anti- movement]
Captain America (leading opponent of registration)
Civil War pulls no punches. You might expect heroes to take it easy on each other, but instead you’re presented with some epic fight scenes. This demonstrates how strongly they care about the Initiative, and it really pulls you into the action. By the time the book wraps up you almost feel short of breath.
The only criticism I have of the Civil War TPB is that it really is a whistle stop tour of the complete arc – the complete, chronological Civil War takes place over 100+ comics and this pulls together only the main 7 of them. In fact, it omits Civil War: The Confession, which contains one of the most powerful moments in comic book history, and shifts it into Iron Man: Civil War (see below) instead.
Marvel Civil War Review: 8/10
Collects: Civil War #1-7
Check out Marvel Civil War yourself:
Amazon — Amazon UK — Forbidden Planet (UK)