With all eyes on the newest trailer for the upcoming Civil War film, it’s easy to forget that Civil War II is fast approaching, with the Pleasant Hill books already starting to lead the way for this supposedly big event. But what do we really know about Civil War II? And how much are we excited for a new conflict between our favorite heroes and not just blinded by past successes?
Spoilers for the original Civil War comic event below.
Civil War II, much like its predecessor, is focused around a simple moral question, one that, at its core, isn’t supposed to have a right or wrong answer, allowing readers to take either side without there being a clear hero or villain. At least, that’s how it’s meant to play out. The original event tried to do this, and succeeded at the start, but as the event moved forward, it was clear that the writers were having Iron Man make a number of controversial decisions, ones that made him more of a villainous figure over Cap. Employing the Thunderbolts, the brutal attack on Spider-Man, and the robotic Thor that resulted in Goliath‘s death are all occurrences that Iron Man spearheaded. And if the eventual results of the aftermath of Civil War are any indication, his methods and ideals were flawed in a way that allowed Norman Osbourne to take control.
Unfortunately, it looks like the film adaptation may be taking a very similar approach. Tony Stark has slowly evolved into more of a destructive influence than true hero, especially in Iron Man 3 and Age of Ultron, becoming more erratic and unable to give up the Iron Man suits, despite how he’s attempted to in the past and acknowledged the damage the influence of the Iron Man role has had on himself. I mean, it is titled as a Captain America film after all, but that’s a discussion for another day.
The moral dilemma in Civil War II is more otherworldly in origin than the concept of a government-enforced superhero registration act. With an Inhuman coming into being with the ability to see and potentially alter the future, the world is faced with the question of whether it’s right to try and change the future for the better or preserve it as is. This is reflected in the series’ tagline “Protect the future. Change the future. Choose your side,” one that is associated with almost every promotional image of the narrative. While at first I had my doubts about this angle, as I saw only one real answer when first hearing the premise, I now realize that I felt the same way about the original Civil War, yet the public was still largely divided in opinion. Hopefully, this will invoke a similar reaction.
I’m still not a huge fan of the idea of an ultra-powerful figurehead being the inciting force, though. We’ve seen this far too often, with Hope in the Avengers vs. X-Men storyline, or the all-powerful mutant in the 2013-2015 Uncanny X-Men series. Unlike Civil War, in which there were battle plans and interesting tactical maneuvers, this could easily turn into a “tackle the ball carrier” type of situation that dominated the aforementioned other books.
The other draw to the book is the suggestion by the author, Brian Michael Bendis, that no one is safe, as well as an interview revealing that at least one big-name hero will die at the onset of the story, and others will likely fall as the story progresses. There have already been a number of speculations of who will bite the bullet, but at this point it could be anyone, giving a certain anticipation to the book before we’ve even started it.
Marvel has slowly been drip-feeding us what characters will play major roles in the story, which, in a Marvel event, can vary from key-player to appears every now and then as comic relief. But the fact that these figures are either featured on the cover of the first issue or have their own promotional images suggests that we have a solid roster of who we’ll be seeing most of.
The cover of the event clearly shows two sides being established, with Iron Man, Sam Wilson and Star-Lord presumably taking the side of those who want to protect the future, and Captain Marvel, She-Hulk, and Spidey advocating to change it. I say this largely because, while Iron Man has always had more progressive views in terms of his stances, Captain Marvel, along with the recent Ultimates team, has tried to stop threats before they happen, much like what they would be doing here.
Other characters who have been touted as being important figures are Black Panther, Thor, Jean Grey, Medusa, Rocket Raccoon and Hawkeye. None of these characters are clearly shown having a particular alliance except Rocket, who’s clearly fighting with his buddy Star-Lord, meaning he’ll be working alongside Iron Man. Additionally, I believe it can be inferred that Medusa will be doing the same, as she is clearly taking a defensive stance alongside who we can assume is the Inhuman who is the focus of the story. This, paired with the “Protect the future” part of the series’ tagline, makes her stance clear. And with Black Panther already being a part of the Ultimates, I think it’s a fair assumption that he will be working with Captain Marvel.
Earlier today, a new addition has been made to the cast, with an image of Ms. Marvel tearing up an image of her once-idol, Captain Marvel, making her allegiances clear.
The X-Men will also be playing a larger role in this story, thanks to the effects of the Inhumans on the X-Men population recently. Magneto, seeing the new Inhuman as a threat, will be leading his team of rogue agents against the Inhumans, as well as their own kind in hopes of killing the Inhuman before it can be used to exterminate mutants altogether. This will take place in a separate four-issue series, fittingly titled X-Men: Civil War II.
So when will we get to read it? Well, no firm release date has been stated, although it’s thought that the series will premiere in tandem with the Captain America: Civil War film. Additionally, everyone will get a chance to read issue #0 of the series on Free Comic Book Day, i.e. May 7th, in which, according to Bendis, “Is a big spoiler-filled inciting incident for the entire story.” So be sure to visit your local comic book store soon to get your first taste of this much-anticipated event.