Welcome to another installment of MCU 101, where we here at Geeky News do our best to break down everything that’s happening in the upcoming Phase Three of Marvel’s Cinematic Universe. Today’s film: Captain America: Civil War. It’s been one of the events most talked about among fans, even before the official announcement. Allow us to guide you through the very spoilery world of Civil War.
But what exactly IS the Civil War?
During a fight between the superpower group New Warriors and a group of escaped villains, Nitro caused an explosion which killed not only most of the New Warriors and hundreds of civilians, but a large number of children at a nearby school. This became a national tragedy, and in response the Government created a Superhuman Registration Act, a law that if passed would require all super-powered persons to register, unmask themselves, and basically would require them to work FOR the government. And of course, it did pass.
And thus the superpower world was torn in two: Those who wanted the Registration Act, a group led by Iron Man himself; and the Resistance, led by Captain America, made up of those who refused to register and moved underground. Some people and teams also decided to remain neutral.
There was mass fighting and propaganda agendas between the two factions. Groups were founded, like the new Thunderbolts and the Secret Avengers. Spider-Man revealed his secret identity at the behest of Iron Man to bolster support for the Registration Act.
Not to mention the extreme measures that were taken on both sides. Captain America attacked and sucker punched Iron Man during an alleged peace talk proposal. Iron Man, with the help of Mr Fantastic, created a prison in the Negative Zone where people who refused to register would be sent. Events like those compelled some people to switch their support, and there were casualties on both sides.
The big final fight took place between Captain America and Iron Man in the middle of New York City. But before Cap could deal the finishing blow to Stark, a group of non-powered enforcers held him back, and he surrendered to stop any further blood shed. While most people who fought with the Resistance were pardoned, Steve was arrested. As he was being taken in, Cap was shot and killed on the steps of the courthouse.
Who are the notable players in Civil War?
Civil War was an event that shook up the entire Marvel universe, but it did have a good handful of main players, including:
- Captain America
- Iron Man
- The Fantastic Four
- Black Panther
- The X-Men
- Ms Marvel
- Young Avengers
- The Runaways
- The Punisher
But almost every single hero and villain chose a side and fought with it.
How can the MCU do this if there are only like 10 heroes and now everyone knows their names? How can they do this when Spider-man/Fantastic Four/X-Men/other character Marvel doesn’t have the movie rights to/people who haven’t even been mentioned in the MCU played such a huge part in the story?
A very good question, and in fact that’s the base argument of every fan who does not want Civil War to happen in the movies. After the events of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, where Natasha dumped all of SHIELD’s secrets for the world to see via Project Insight, secret identities are now a thing of the past. And you’re right, it wouldn’t be much of a civil war if there were only a dozen people fighting each other.
But the movies have always changed things up comic-canon wise to fit their different medium, and also to modernize. It’s been said a few times that the cinematic Civil War would be largely focused on politics and government overseeing, and especially the idea of registration itself.
Look at it only through the eyes of the MCU: After everything that happened with the Chitauri and the destruction of New York, and then the reveal of not only SHIELD but HYDRA as well, and then add on the fact that Ultron – a robot who is technically civilian tech as he was made by Tony Stark – is about to attempt to take over the world, normal non-powered citizens are not going to be okay with the world being threatened and destroyed every few years. They’re going to be less than thrilled that new superheroes are coming out of the woodwork to fight. And thanks to the Project Insight dump, not only does the public know how many super-powered people are out there, they also know more could appear at any time. They’re going to WANT regulation.
The seeds for Civil War were sown long ago. Bits and pieces of hints dropped throughout the movies have all been pointing us in this direction. It won’t be the full-fledged all out war of the comics, no. But it will still be about the same issues that the comic Civil War was about, and key roles are most certainly going to be switched to already established characters.
How do I go about reading this Civil War Event?
While there is a main comic, there are a TON of lead-ups, tie-ins, and epilogue comics. Almost a hundred in all. But you don’t have to read every single tie in, if you’re feeling overwhelmed. Below is a list of the basics, but you can find a complete list – in order – on the next page.
- The Road to Civil War (New Avengers: Illuminati, Amazing Spider-Man #529-#531, Fantastic Four #536-#537)
- Civil War#1-#7
- Civil War: Front Line #1-#11
- Civil War: Heroes for Hire #1-#3
- Captain America #22-25
- Iron Man #13-#14
- Iron Man/Captain America: Casualties of War
- Civil War: Fallen Son – The Death of Captain America #1-#5
I noticed that you skirted over the very large issue of Captain America dying!
Okay, yes, I did. It’s hard to understate the devastating impact that Cap’s death had on the Marvel comics universe. That shot is the shot that was heard ’round the Marvel world, and his death is what ended Civil War.
Will they go that route in Captain America: Civil War? I’m sure they will. Not only is it the only way the story could end, it would also line up with contract rumors for multiple actors. But because of how Marvel has a way of tweaking canon, it’s hard to tell exactly how it will go down, and how it will impact the MCU as a whole. So right now, hold off on all that and allow the entirety of the Civil War to sink in before you start weeping over Steve Rogers.
So really, that’s what you need to know about Civil War if you want to understand all the debates happening within the fandom and to prepare yourself for Captain America: Civil War. Don’t forget to scurry along to the next page to get the full list of Civil War comics.