No, no, we’re not at war with anyone (
and our government will arrest you and toss you in a very deep hole if you say we are). It is the characters in the pages of Marvel Comics who are at war.
Civil War is a seven-issue comic book limited series, announced as Marvel Comics’ big Summer 2006 crossover event. Written by Mark Millar and penciled by Steve McNiven…The series…center[s] upon a newly enacted Super-human Registration Act, an act which splits notable superheroes within the Marvel Universe. This…result[s] in two super-powered factions forming, and…build[s] to the titular Civil War, into which themes from current events will be woven, although writer Mark Millar has noted “The political allegory is only for those that are politically aware. Kids are going to read it and just see a big superhero fight.”
The above is from the Wikipedia entry on Marvel Comic’s Civil War storyline. Comic fans (well, Marvel comic fans) are pretty fairly evenly divided over this storyline. Some think that it is a colossal waste of time while others think that it could potentially be very exciting. Still others feel that it is merely yet another way for the company to get us to buy every comic they publish this summer. Finally, there is a group that has pre-determined that no mater what happens, it will drag on way too long, and ultimately be screwed up by those in charge.
Me personally? I’m on the fence. I’m thinking that the answer is:
E) All of the above.
After some 45 years of reading comics (yeah really), I’m well past jaded over what goes on in the industry. I mostly want to read comics (specifically Spider-Man comics, but generally any comics will do in a pinch — yes, even [shudder] Archie comics). So, for me, if it is a good read, and can be justified as an entertaining read, then I’m on board.
Which brings me to Civil War. The storyline has been building for quite some time (over a year, as I understand it) and last month the actual Civil War series kicked off with an explosion. Briefly, the New Warriors (a “B” list of heroes) who have been relegated to chasing “C” List SuperVillains around the country and capturing them for a Reality show (think Dog the Bounty Hunter) winds up against a group of “A” listers who are totally without scruples.
During their videotaped assault on the villains, one of them (Nitro, by name, whose power is that he is able to literally explode and re-incorporate himself) blows himself up and kills not only the entire team of heroes, but some 650 civilians, including 300 or so schoolchildren. This event, interestingly enough took place in the very real city of Stamford CT. (When questioned about the event, Mayor and gubernatorial hopeful Dan Malloy (D) stated, “Couldn’t they have blown up New Haven (where — incidentally — his potential rival for the Democratic nod, John DeStefano is Mayor).
There’s more, but that’s really enough of a set-up for now. I just recently read Civil War Front Line, a sister series about a pair of sympathetic journalists who become “embedded” on each side of the Super-human Registration Act , that gets rushed into law after the Stamford bombing. Say what you want about comics, and you will be 90% right (Sturgeon’s Law) but don’t ever say that comics are for kids again. Sure, sure I’ve read adult-themed comics (and “Adult” comics) before, but it has been a very long time since I read a comic that truly moved me as much as did Civil War Front Line the other day. Now, for the first time, I honestly have high hopes for this storyline. (yeah, I’m not entirely convinced that the powers that be still won’t screw it up, but — call me a cockeyed, spandex-wearing optimist — I’m actually looking forward to seeing how this will all play out.
The industry flacks are telling us that the Marvel Universe will never be the same, and that this will permanently effect the future of the world in which these characters operate, and I’ve been doubtful (to many years of “permanent” changes being changed back before the ink is entirely dry on the “World-altering” issue). Still, Civil War Front Line #1 was as powerful a comicbook as I’ve ever read.
Personally, I want to read more. Much more.