|Ever wonder who would win in a fight?|
No? Too bad
What’s so important about Civil War? So important that I would sit on reviewing it for years? Well it was a major game changer for Marvel Comics that set a particularly dubious status quo for Marvel both in narrative and the way they conducted business. The effects of this book, as far as the storyline went, lasted for the rest of the decade up until 2010’s Heroic Age. In my opinion Civil War is likely the most important storyline from Marvel Comics during the 2000s (House of M would be the other logical choice).
So next time I’ll be reviewing the main Civil War book, which was seven issues. However today I’d like to talk about important points that lead up to this crossover so that we are all on the same page when I review it, much like I did with One More Day and X-Men Schism.
More useless information after the jump.
I’ve decided to split this into three sections.
|Marvel would like you to forget about this when reading Civil War|
Besides that Marvel has had a few other storylines that dealt with the issue, most notably the Super-powers Registration Act in Canada that played a part in Alpha Flight. However, like the MRA, this concept never led to a conclusion as future iterations of Alpha Flight didn’t really touch on it. This seems to be a pattern: a big idea of how character would act when faced with government crackdown but weak follow-up, possibly due to lack of ideas of how to wrap it up.
In regards to the Superhero Registration Act it actually was proposed in the months leading up the series. In fact apparently public support for the bill began in the aftermath of the miniseries Secret War in which Lucia von Bardas, the crazed cyborg Prime Minister of Latveria, engages in an all-out assault on New York City following Nick Fury tricking a bunch of superheroes into illegally sneaking into the country a year earlier. The bill was eventually delayed due to the actions of Iron Man who bribed known super villain the Titanium Man into making a big public attack in Washington D.C. that Spider-Man manage to publicly “stop”. It’s important to note that Iron Man was very against the idea of the SHRA at this point and that he is not above hiring murderous villains to do his dirty work.
|Pictured: Mutant Registration in Action|
At least that what the X-Men books taught me
|I didn't have to pick the cover with the Scarlet Spider|
But you youngsters gotta learn!
I talked about the New Warriors when I profiled Night Thrasher earlier this month. As a refresher they are a team of young superheroes, none of who were sidekicks. In the Marvel Universe there are top tier teams (X-Men, Fantastic Four, Avengers) but the New Warriors are on a lower level than that, often being the place writers dump third tier characters. To be fair the book did have its fair share of fans and even I have a soft spot for them since two of my favorite characters (Jubilee and the Scarlet Spider) have been members of the team at some point.Anyway the New Warriors was not a super popular book during its run as it kept getting canceled and restarted. Prior to Civil War there had been three volumes of the title, which is a surprisingly large amount all things considered. Volume three was the final series before Civil War and was a six issue miniseries published in 2005. This version was revamp of the concept of the team as they were re-imagined as a superhero reality show, where their adventures were filmed and key members seemed a bit more concerned with getting ratings than stopping bad guy. Now Marvel already had a superhero team with an extremely similar concept with the book X-Statix, which had only just ended the previous year, so why they felt the need to make New Warriors into a bunch of jokes is a mystery. Regardless the thing to take away from this is that by 2006 this team of young heroes was active but not exactly at their best or most respected.
|Step 1: Make Them Stupid. Step 2: Make Them Scapegoats|
Step 3: Civil War
[Note: The New Warriors Vol. 4 began immediately following Civil War starring a completely new roster and lasting twenty issues before being canceled (but giving us the awesome that was…WONDRA!). Volume Five is set to be launched later this year. Because if at first you don’t succeed try, try again.]
|The Word's Greatest Heroes...and Wolverine...and the Sentry|
This new status quo of Avengers also included heroes like Echo (under the guise of Ronin) and the Sentry (under the guise of “worst new superhero of the decade”). This version of the team would also be involved in House of M. The most important thing about this storyline is that when it ended, known as Decimation, 99% of the mutant population was depowered. With mutants making up the vast majority of superhumans across the world this meant that the United States suddenly had the largest collection of super powered beings in the world. Now if only there was some law the government could pass that would allow them to draft the vast majority of these people so that they could win the genetic arms race…
A big different in this status quo was Spider-Man’s lifestyle. Prior to joining the Avengers he was just your friendly neighborhood crime fighter but suddenly he was rubbing elbows with Captain America and Iron Man on a daily basis. In fact he became very close with Tony Stark, who became something of a mentor to him. He moved into the fancy Stark/Avenger Tower with his family, he was able to indulge in scientific pursuits and was even given a
|Comics circa the 2000s in one gloriously overly sleek image|
I think that’s the most important stuff you’d need to know for the review. I can tell you right now that I do not possess the sheer amount of hatred and loathing that I did for One More Day so there’s less of chance for a biased review. That said this comic is not without controversy and immense critics. On the next blog we’ll see how Civil War was, how it’s aged and how it affected the Marvel Universe.