In July 2006, Marvel launched a crossover campaign that consumed many readers lives and forced fans to choose a side from two opposing forces. Two powerhouse leaders and idols of the 616 universe, the two most American comic book characters ever created. “Whose side are you on?” was plastered everywhere Marvel fans could be found, creating long debate and divide withing the community – Captain America or Iron Man.
This was Civil War and it is one of the most celebrated crossover events in modern comic book history (for some, anyhow), which will now be adapted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Needless to say, revisiting this concept is an exciting but also risky assignment for Charles Soule and company.
Secret Wars’ Civil War #1 opens right in the middle of the original Civil War‘s climactic arc, but with a much different outcome. Instead of Stark and Rogers settling their dispute over the Super-Hero Registration Act and putting the world back together, things go in the complete opposite direction. Adding to the original chaos, more beloved heroes die along with tons of civilians and the two factions go their separate ways.
Split up into the East and West zones, Tony and Steve run things very differently. It’s really interesting to actually see how the SHRA is actually enforced in “The Iron” and not simply a theory like it was originally. It’s also interesting to see how unlike Cap “The Blue” side of the border is – it’s a wild frontier with a harshly enforced code of ethics. Tony refers to it as a rogue state, while Steve prefers to call it a free state. But these aren’t the only two parties, there are plenty mentioned and one in particular is given a large focus.
Tensions are high as Stark and Rogers do sit down for negotiations, and these scenes add new elements to what was already a compelling story, giving a whole new layer to the drama. How Spider-Man’s fits into this mess is also revealed with some developments that are both heartbreaking and bad-ass.
Revisiting Civil War was a tall order for this art team but they nailed it, and with flying colors, too! Leinil Francis Yu’s pencils are gritty and well drawn. Inker Gerry Alanguilan and colorist Sunny Gho help keep the designs interesting and iconic. Overall the artwork continues in the same vein as the original Civil War, with some panels being reminiscent of art seen in another beloved crossover event, Secret Invasion.
Marvel was smart to release this book deep into the world of Secret Wars. Though a few books that have already released were a bit stale, the Battlezone concept has yet to grow tiresome and shows no signs of doing so. Marvel was obviously saving this big gun in case fans got bored with other titles, but since almost everything has been top notch, Civil War #1 is icing on the cake.
Not taking a single step back from the original Civil War story, Civil War #1 is everything readers want. Like most of the Secret Wars tie-ins, this introductory issue sets up an exciting world that fans will be welcoming with open arms. Whose side are you on? Anti- or Pro-SHRA? The debates from 2006 will no doubt return after this issue’s relase. The only difference is: with six years of new developments, do you still side with the same faction? (Captain America till’ the day I die!)