Civil War by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven

Laterally with the biggest super hero film of the year, i thought I could do a special recommendation.  Civil War.  The 2006-07 mega event was based around a seven issue mini series.  The effects of which, felt through the entire Marvel Universe.  Involving all characters and a plethora of issues, collected among 20+ graphic novels.

Now lets rewind a little bit.  At the turn of the millennia comic books were picking up steam.  But it wasn’t the big publishing companies leading the progress.  It was the independent, the lesser knowns, the new unique, the genre bending books that were picking up steam.  At the time I was heavy into an obscure little series known as Walking Dead.  The indie comic scene was exploding leaving the super hero genre behind and stagnant.  The fans craved something fresh.

Enter Brian Micheal Bendis.  Now Bendis had already accomplished great things at Marvel with his work in the Ultimates universe, specifically Ultimate Spider-man.  At the same time Bendis was gaining popularity with his own independent book Powers.  Then basically, Bendis was handed the keys to the kingdom of Marvel.  Crafting a master plan that would bring the comics to the next level.

Beginning his domination of the universe with a brilliant run on Avengers.  Famously ending as the bland, out dated team disassembled.  Kick starting a five year plan to re-imagine what the genre could be.  He was writing everything back then and dropping easter eggs of things we wouldn’t understand for years.

The turn of Marvel began in earlier books such as Secret War and House of M.  The consumers really started to take notice when good friends Captain America and Iron Man were seen facing off on posters and advertising.  The war to divide the universe was on its way and the consumer was paying attention.

Civil War hit the stands and I don’t think my little local comic stores were ever so busy.  Everyone was buying the series, seeing how their favorite characters were effected in their own issues and buying alternate covers of everything.  Every book had its own alternate cover issues from black and white sketches to guest artists.  It was a real catalyst for the collecting craze that exists to this day.

Marvel had put themselves back on top.  Everybody was talking about who’s side they were on or the latest casualty in the series.  It was bitter sweet for nerds like me, that loved the surging popularity but missed the quiet in our favorite stores.  In hindsight if it were not for this burst of fans and the growth of the books we would not have the great movies we are being blessed with today.

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Thanks for sticking that out lets get back to the story itself.

Civil War was everything it needed to be.  Despite Bendis being a major contributor, the reigns to the headline title were given to talented storyteller Mark Millar and the dark realistic sketches of Steve McNiven.  Well deserved. 

The falling out of Cap and Iron man a long time coming was tipped by the destruction of an elementary school in middle America.  I cant tell you how many times the catalyst event was shoved in our faces.  Basically some b-list characters got a little too cocky and things got out of hand.  The Superhuman Registration Act was fast tracked through Parliament and the billionaire, playboy, philanthropist Tony Stark was given the duty of organizing the hero community.  Mr. America the traditionalist argued the other side, supporting hidden aliases and super humans rights as people.

The book explodes into epic battles, and twisted espionage.  With superhero allies fighting on the streets. As the Captain runs a guerilla group from underground, Iron Man begins implementing his plans for the future of America.  Highlighted by inconceivable unmaskings, deaths, and the integrating of villains into the hero community.  The struggle of friend versus friend having emotional effects on all characters involved.

So who’s side am I on?  Well that’s a hard choice for every fan, I would have to team with my friendly neighborhood web head.  It was Spidermans part in all of this that lead the readers path.  Originally Peter Parker followed Iron Man, who’s vision was true and noble.  But when Parker saw what it was going to take to reach Tonys goals the effects were too much and morals came into play.  Spiderman breaks lose and joins Captain America and the rag tag group of underground heroes.

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The ending is a little lost in the featured title as the two groups continue on with their disagreements.  Brought to the fore front by the death of Captain America we are left with no solid conclusion.

What made this series so good, wasn’t its own stand alone series.  It was that the effects felt across the Marvel line up.  Every Marvel issue on the shelves had the iconic blank white bottom half as the event was commencing.  Some books were classic stories and amazing reads such as Spiderman and Punisher.  Some fell short like Fantastic Four and X-Men.  And some put books back on the map i.e. She-Hulk and Thunderbolts.  Then there were books that felt like bad fan fiction; Young Avengers or Ms. Marvel.  The fact was that everyone was effected and the massive events aftermath is still seen today, as Marvel releases Civil War 2.

I give the Civil War headline title 4 out of 5.  The other books fell short, i’d give a 4 to a few books; Front line, Spiderman, Punisher and Wolverine.  The rest of them sit at a 3 for me, maybe a couple 2s…

I recommend Civil War to any one that wants to read the super hero genre.  The reason the publishing companies do these big events is to hook new readers.  So they are purposely made as good jumping in points for every one.  You may be a little lost at certain references and characters but the story will carry you along.

My feelings toward the movie are still misconstrued.  I feel when I watch a movie like this the eye candy of it all shadows how I feel about the plot.  Example being Avengers 2, the movie is not very good but I thought it was epic the first time I saw it due to seeing Vision come to life.  So as great as I felt Civil War was I need to let it soak in a bit before I express my opinions.

Thanks booknerds.

3 Comments Add yours

  1. Michael J. Miller says:

    I appreciate your review of the series. ‘Civil War’ was one of many things that happened while I was away from the genre. I followed it’s events loosely via articles but, since my return to comic collecting, I’ve been thinking I need to read it. It’s intimidating because it’s so epic, in size and scope! But I think I might need to just suck it up and give it a read…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Green Onion says:

      Its worth a read for certain. Even if you just read the headline title, I feel most the other books are just sub plots.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Michael J. Miller says:

        Thanks for the insight. I really appreciate it. I’ve heard the main title’s “must read” and the Front Line series is important too. But I kind of think if I’m going to do it, I should just try to go for it. We’ll see if I’m bold enough!

        Liked by 1 person

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