Civil War

civil war cover trade paperback captain america spider-man
7.5 Overall Score
Story: 7/10
Art: 9/10

Game changing mini-series

Starts out strong then fizzles, bad lasting effect on the Marvel Universe

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Civil War

Publisher:  Marvel Comics

Writer:  Mark Millar

Artist:  Steve McNivens

# of Issues:  7

Release Date:  2007


Civil War #1 (Variant)

Reprints Civil War #1-7 (July 2006-January 2007).  The New Warriors have set off a chain of events that will forever change the world.  Led by Speedball, the superhero team in a quest for ratings tried to apprehend villains in the town of Stamford, Connecticut, but an explosion wipes out an elementary school and half of the town.  Iron Man pushes for the Superhuman Registration Act to keep superheroes sanctioned under the U.S. government while Captain America demands superheroes have the right to privacy if they are fighting for America.  The battle lines are drawn with teams and families caught in the middle.

Written by Mark Millar and illustrated by Steve McNiven, Civil War was Marvel’s big event of 2006.  The series is the culmination of Avengers Disassembled, Secret War, House of M, and Decimation and crossed through many Marvel titles.  In addition to the core title, the series spawned limited series.  The comic did face production problems leading to delays and caused other titles to slide.

I am very leery of big crossover events despite being inspired by one as a kid.  Secret Wars and its massive collection of Marvel heroes and villains helped get me into comics.  Since Secret Wars, big events become more and more important.  With a barrage of events occurring in the Marvel Universe, year after year, it doesn’t give the writers much room to develop the individual comics, forces new readers to try to keep up with dozens of expensive titles, and often doesn’t give you a complete stand-alone series…something that Secret Wars did (the most recent abuse of this probably was Infinity which didn’t work as a solo series).  Civil War has less of these problems and the core series is a standalone…the problem with Civil War is that a great start kind of peters out as it reaches the conclusion.


Civil War #2 (Variant)

Much like The Matrix, Civil War had a great concept behind it.  While The Matrix might have stolen a lot of ideas, Civil War was original and raised a lot of original questions involving vigilantism, superheroes, villains, and the role of these heroes in society.  The problem is both The Matrix and Civil War lost the interesting questions and replaced them with lame fights that took up entire issues instead of exploring the interesting concepts and ideas set-up in earlier issues.  Yeah, it might have been fun to see a Captain America/Iron Man smackdown at the end, but it just felt like Neo fighting Mr. Smith in a puddle of mud in The Matrix Revolutions.  Both felt unfulfilling.

The other problem is that many of the characters seemed to act out of character in the comic.  I could see Captain America objecting to the rights of people being taken away, but I don’t see him attacking soldiers, etc. to prove his point.  The mother storyline involving Iron Man is also a little heavy handed.  Though the course of the Marvel Universe, there have been tragedies (though following 9-11 the big deaths seemed greater), and that a mother taking Tony Stark to task doesn’t seem to justify his creation of a killer Thor clone and a Negative Zone prison…it just doesn’t fit his character.


The conflict that ruined comics?

The art for the series is quite good however.  Much of the series delays involved problems with McNiven and the deadlines so that did cause a ripple effect and hinder the series which at points seemed to really crawl.  I’m glad that they didn’t substitute an artist for McNiven to keep the book on schedule, but I wish that it had been planned and executed in a way to keep the book more on time.

Civil War is one of the event books of recent years that almost made it.  With the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Civil War is being plotted for the big screen and a showdown between Stark and Rogers could happen again (and also is planned to tie in Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe).  With this in mind, I wanted to revisit the series, but still find it has problems.  Civil War did lead into Avengers:  The Initiative and the Casualties of War tie-ins, but fractured the Marvel Universe leading to (in my opinion) big problems for the whole line (and a lack of fun) that have yet to be resolved.

Related Links:

Civil War:  Front Line

Civil War:  Thunderbolts

Civil War:  X-Men

Civil War:  Wolverine

Civil War:  Fantastic Four

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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