Op-Ed: Thoughts on Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Civil War part one: What is the Civil War?

Ever since Marvel announced their Phase 3 plans for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans have been buzzing with excitement. I mean who wouldn’t be? Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Dr. Strange, The Inhumans, two Avengers movies based on the Infinity War and a second Guardians of Galaxy. And kicking off the next five years of epicness is Captain America Civil War. As a long time Marvel fan, I am excited to see one of the biggest events in Marvel history being brought to life on the big screen. But at the same time I feel that due to the huge size of the Civil War, that some aspects of it might either get left on the cutting room board or won’t translate well into movie form. But before I get into my concerns and opinions about MCU’s version of the Civil War, first we must understand what is the Civil War and what caused some of Marvel’s iconic heroes to fight each other.


To keep things as simple as possible for those who are not familiar with the Marvel Comic Universe, I’ll only be discussing key events that led to the Superhuman Registration Act (which we will look at later). This means that I will leaving out House of M, Decimation, Son of M and Silent War due to the fact that these comics only deal with the mutant race. Before I start here is the obligatory spoiler warning: !WARN SPOILERS FOR THE COMIC  AHEAD! IF YOU DON”T WANT TO BE SPOILED STOP NOW THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING!!!

So with that in mind, What is the Civil War?


Civil War 101Civil_War_Vol_1_1_Variant

The Civil War is a seven issue self titled limited series written by Mark Millar and penciled by Steven McNiven that crosses over with several Marvel heroes and villains. This event is a culmination of previous events that have happened in the main Marvel Universe (Earth 616), mainly the Hulk’s rampage in Las Vegas that killed 28 civilians and Nick Furry’s Secret War against Latveria. The US government is tired of heroes going uncheck, unpoliced and not taking responsibility for the aftermath they have caused during a battle. Thus the Superhero Registration Act was drafted.Several heroes, most prominently Captain America, were highly against while heroes, especially Iron Man, is at first is against the act, but feels that the superhero community needs more oversight and proper training and is for the act. A tragic accident in Stamford, Connecticut in which 660 civilians, 60 of which were children in a school bus, were killed. This was was straw that broke the camel’s back and passed the SHRA through with a majority of the country in support of it. Captain America was then tasked to round up all superheroes that didn’t comply with the act but refused. It was then tasked to Iron Man to bring in his former friend and ally as well as any heroes not in compliance with the act. In a nutshell, civil war in the superhero community had begun.


So the government wants oversight and accountability established with the superhero community, nothing is wrong with that. I mean, imagine living in the Marvel Comic Universe and having your home turned into a battlefield every other week. Disaster funds would quickly dry up as relief agencies would not be able to keep up with the constant destruction. Not to mention insurance premiums would sky rocket as the insurance agencies would potentially go bankrupt trying to cover everyone. So why is one of the most respected superheroes is against the act? What about it has Captain America so worried and has him and several superheroes go underground? Let’s take a look.


Superhero Registration Act



The Superhero Registration Act (SHRA for short) is an offshoot of the Mutant Registration Act (MRA for short) that requires all superheroes to register with the government and enforced by SHIELD in order for them to continue to use their powers to fight crime. This also means that the heroes will be monitored at all times. This is to ensure that all heroes are accountable for any and all actions that may happens if they use their powers. Seems reasonable enough. So what has Captain America so against it? For one it violates the heroes right to privacy. In addition to registering as a superhero, they also must register their secret identities to the government. This means that they will be monitored as a civilian as well. This also extends to family members. Captain America also fears that the government won’t see superheroes as people, but as potential deterrents and weapons of mass destruction to be used. He also argues that this give the government the power to classify a registered a hero one day and a terrorist the next. He believes that by regulating the movements and actions of superheroes, that the government will be slow to respond to enemy attacks or will unable to make difficult decisions when need to. And above all Captain America believes that the SHRA breeches the civil liberties that all citizens, superpowered or not, are guaranteed.


Iron Man however is for the SHRA. He believes that the self policing that the superhero community has done for many years is now not enough. The Hulk’s rampage in Las Vegas which resulted in 28 civilian deaths is evident of this. As we all know once the Hulk enraged there is little that anyone can do to stop him. Once he has calmed down, he reverts back to his original form, which is Bruce Banner. It has been proven that when Banner transforms into Hulk he doesn’t have much control over him. This makes it hard for accountability to be place on him since Hulk is a different personality from Banner and vice versa. With the SHRA in place, this will not be a problem as now the government will treat the superhero identity and civilian identity one in the same. But due to SHRA not being active before this event, Iron Man and and several other heroes had no choice but to banish him into space. The other event that proves Iron Man’s point in having the SHRA pass is Nick Furry’s Secret War. Furry receives intelligence that Latverian Prime Minister Lucia von Baradas was supporting terrorism by equipping B-list supervillains with weapons. He presents this information to the President of the United States and suggests that they send in a strike team to stop her. The President is skeptical due to the fact that the US and Latveria are in trade talks, and states that he will handle the situation with diplomacy. Not happy with that decision, Furry goes over the President’s head and puts together a strike force comprised of Spider-Man, Captain America, Wolverine, DareDevil, and Luke Cage to stop Baradas and overthrow her. While they failed to overthrow Baradas, they managed to stop her from supplying supervillains. Then a year later a trap that puts Luke Cage into a coma kicks off an attack on New York by a cybernetic Baradas in retaliation of the previous year. She plans to destroy New York with a hi tech bomb but is stopped. The former team demands why did she attack and Furry, through a Life Model Decoy explains that after the failed overthrow, they were all minded wiped. All are angered that at this, even though Furry explains that he had to do this since his superiors were ignoring all the warning signs. This blatant disregard for the chain of command and lack of accountability by mindwipe is a reason Iron Man supports the SHRA. However its with a major tragedy that drives his point home and the passing of the SHRA.


Stamford, Connecticut



For the most part superheroes who are not affiliated with an experienced team (ie X-Men, Fantastic Four, SHIELD, Avengers etc etc) are self trained. As the years go by and new crops of younger superheroes are popping up, there isn’t anyone who has experience to guide them or train them properly. Then there are heroes that have been around for a while but still act as if they were teen superheroes. This is the case for the New Warriors. A reformed New Warriors were the subject of a reality TV show that followed them in their day to day life, which included several of their battles. One day the Warriors were hot on the trailer of a team of villains that included Nitro, Cobalt Man, Speedfreak, and Coldheart. While trying to apprehend the villains, Nitro caused a massive explosion that decimated Stamford, killing all but Speedball and 660 civilians, 60 of which were elementary school children. This sent the general public into a rage that these so called superheroes couldn’t stop the explosions and that they were too busy trying to look good in front of the camera crew to even notice their surroundings. It’s their lack of proper training that seals the fate of every superhero and the SHRA passes and becomes law.


I apologize for the lengthy post, but as I mentioned in the beginning that even though the Civil War may seem just to be an all out superhero brawl, there will be things that might get overlooked. Who knows, I might even have overlooked a couple of this myself while trying to cover the major points of this storyline without getting into great detail and spoiling the whole thing. If I did miss anything in my lengthy summary of the Civil War, let me know in the comments. Next time I will go into detail about my personal thoughts about the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s version of the Civil War and what elements might get left out, changed and what will and won’t translate well. As Stan Lee would say “Stay tuned true believers and EXCELSIOR!”


Sources: http://marvel.wikia.com/Civil_War_(Event), http://marvel.wikia.com/Registration_Acts, http://marvel.wikia.com/Superhuman_Registration_Act, http://www.comicvine.com/super-human-registration-act/4015-40639/, http://www.comicvine.com/secret-war/4045-54398/, http://www.comicvine.com/civil-war/4045-40615/,


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