Home Comics Comics 101: Civil War
Comics 101: Civil War

Comics 101: Civil War


When it comes to comics you may be, as staff writer Danny calls it, a ‘filthy casual’ so you might only flick through the pages of a comic book once every few months or whenever a particularly viral story arc is all anyone can talk about, but there are certain stories that everyone professing to be a comic lover should know. Civil War is one of these stories.

The New Warriors

This is where the story starts, not with a bang but a whi- actually, no, there is a bang. Kind of a big one. A young group called The New Warriors want to boost the ratings of their reality TV show and target four villains who are holed up in a house in Stamford, Connecticut. The cameras are rolling while they attempt to apprehend the villains, but things go from bad to worse very quickly. Truly, nothing Kim Kardashian has ever done is quite as bad as what the New Warriors are about to start.

The New Warriors

A member of the New Warriors, Namorita, slams a villain called Nitro into the side of a bus, right next to a school full of children. That wasn’t the bad part, however; Nitro informs her that she’s playing witNitro explodesh “the big boys” now and self-detonates, blowing the New Warriors and a huge chunk of Stamford into the ground. Not only did hundreds of people die, including all of the children at the school, the entire thing was caught on tape. Cue widespread outrage and grief, leading to a devastated mother spitting in Tony Stark’s face and the subsequent demands by the American people for the government to do something about the superheroes. Bear in mind as well that this isn’t the first time the public has been pissed off, as
Hulk’s rampage in Las Vegas had just happened and they were also still getting over an attack on Manhattan as a result of Nick Fury’s Secret Wars. So yeah, the reaction was entirely expected.


The government, in response to the tragedy and the growing pressures from the electorate, wants to pass a Bill called the Superhuman Registration Act into law which would force all superheroes to reveal their secret identities. Once the heroes reveal who they are, they must all work for SHIELD on the government’s dime. Naturally, the superheroes are totally divided by the issue, and this causes former friends and lovers, even family members, to be placed at odds with eachother over their views on what should happen.

Civil War Maria Hill

Tony Stark and Reed Richards both think it’s a good idea, and are pretty much just counting their chickens too soon because Captain America, obviously, isn’t too keen on the proposed legislation. The Captain is soon confronted by Maria Hill of SHIELD about it; she demands to know whether he is with them or against them and actually lands a zinger when she asks him to obey the will of the American people, as if he’d be against them and, as a default, democracy if he opposes the Bill.

Civil War Captain AmericaHill foolishly sets a dozen or so soldiers on him and attempts to take him out with tranquilisers when he makes it clear he’s not going to let the Bill happen without a fight or, at the very least, a tantrum. Long story short, Captain America jumps out of SHIELD’s helicarrier and rides a nearby plane surfboard-style to safety.

As he’s officially positioned himself as being against the Bill being passed, the American people stage widespread protests and demand that the Bill be passed into law immediately.

The law

The Bill is quickly passed and Reed Richards, Iron Man and Yellowjacket inform the President that they will take care of Captain America, who begins to rescue the superheroes taken by SHIELD who refuse to give up their identities and get on board with their new reality.

Spider-Man’s reveal

Initially Spider-Man was against the Superhuman Registration Act, and he pretty much pulls no punches and says the whole thing is a horrible idea. Out of all the superheroes, Spider-Man’s identity has always been the most closely guarded. It’s been kept under lock and key because he doesn’t want all of the supervillains he’s faced to come after his family. Which is fair enough, right?

Civil War Spiderman

However, he’s eventually convinced and joins Iron Man’s side. After Captain America teams up with other rogue unregistered heroes who are opposed to the new law, Iron Man attempts to get one over on the Captain and reveals what he thinks is his coup de grace: getting Spider-Man to reveal his identity to the world. Spider-Man announces that he is Peter Parker to a shocked crowd and dozens of cameras, but it does nothing to dampen Captain America’s passion for what he believes is right.

The Secret Avengers

The Secret Avengers is a group of rogues formed by Captain America and they pretty much attempt to do things the way The Avengers used to: fight bad guys and tackle crimes wherever they find them. Which could of course be construed as self-delusion on the Captain’s part, as well as everyone who follows him, but I digress.

Iron Man is super pissed that everybody isn’t falling in line, so he promises the public that he’ll handle Captain America (although, if you recall, he did promise something similar before so don’t hold your breath). He and his cohorts send out a fake distress signal so that The Secret Avengers think that it’s a factory that’s about to explode. Civil War Being superheroes and wanting to save the day, The Secret Avengers arrive.

Iron Man doesn’t want to fight, however, and tries to convince Captain America that he wants to talk, to convince him that his way is the right way. He offers the Captain and the Secret Avengers amnesty if they agree to come with him. Spider-Man jumps in and wisely points out how stupid it is that heroes are fighting heroes, so Captain America consents to five minutes with Iron Man.

Civil War

This is just a ruse to be able to shake Iron Man’s hand, however, and Cap sneaks an electrical device onto his hand that temporarily disables Iron Man’s armour. Iron Man hits the floor hard and Goliath, a size changing superhero, grows and grows until he’s basically the size of a five story house and the heroes start to, well, beat the crap out of each other is the only way to say it.

Cap Vs. Iron Man

Although there’s a fight of epic proportions going on in the background, the most important thing happening is the brawl between Iron Man and Captain America, who is getting absolutely destroyed because Iron Man has programmed his armour to attack all of Cap’s weak spots.

Civil War

As this happens, Reed Richards’ cloned robot Thor arrives on the scene and starts wrecking the Secret Avengers in the most brutal way. As if they didn’t have enough on their hands to deal with, Iron Man then blows the building he’s fighting Captain America in and, at the last second, Falcon swoops in to save a severely injured Cap before he’s crushed by a car.

Goliath’s death

Falcon calls for Cloak to teleport them out of there and Goliath steps up to hold off Iron Man’s team while the Secret Avengers escape. His act of heroism is very short lived, however, as fake robot Thor brutally shoots a lightning bolt right through Goliath’s torso and he dies immediately, which is the last thing Falcon and the team see before they teleport away.

Screen Shot 2016-01-27 at 17.52.35

Everyone looks on in total horror at Goliath’s massive dead form and Spider-Man in particular is in disbelief at what has just happened. This is a turning point in Civil War and leads to Spider-Man changing sides, as well as some of Captain America’s own team as well. Basically nobody is happy that Reed Richards cloned a god (which, besides being kind of psychopathic, is seriously disrespectful to real Thor’s memory) to destroy their friends. Least of all his wife, as Goliath’s death leads to Sue Richards leaving her husband for creating such a monster.

Civil War Goliath

The Negative Zone

After Spider-Man defects (and nearly dies in the process) to Cap’s side, Iron Man has a prison specifically Civil War Spidermandesigned to hold rogue superheroes built in the Negative Zone. Captain America learns of this and brings his whole team there because, what better place for them to be than in a building with like-minded anti-Starks? However, Iron Man is waiting for him and informs the Cap that he’s just wandered into yet another trap.

The Cap then reveals that he and his team knew about Iron Man’s double agent and reveals a surprise of their own: Hank Pym, a prominent member of Iron Man’s team, changes back into Hulkling, a shape-shifting member of the Young Avengers. Iron Man now realises that Hulkling has released all of the captives in the prison and that they are horribly outnumbered. Civil War Hulkling

After the heroes start fighting (AGAIN), Maria Hill is done with all of their crap and decides to just lock the whole lot of them in the Negative Zone, thus getting rid of the problem once and for all. However, Cloak learns of her plans and uses all of his power to teleport everyone from the Negative Zone to the middle of New York (yeah, great plan there…).

Once there, the two teams absolutely destroy the city trying to land punches on each other, seemingly oblivious to the fact that they are endangering and injuring civilians.

Civil War finale

The end game

After a heated battle, Captain America decimates Iron Man and he stands over his former friend whose armour and will to go on is cracking to pieces. Cap is about to deliver the final blow when, out of nowhere and to his total surprise, he is tackled to the ground by civilians.

Civil War finale

Cap finally looks around him and realises that they have destroyed the city and that everything they’d been fighting for was for selfish reasons, that all they had done was cause more damage than supervillains ever had. He yells at everyone to stop and hands himself in, not as Captain America, but as Steve Rogers.

And that was the end of the Civil War story (pretty much); Iron Man, or should I say Tony Stark, was made Director of SHIELD, Sue Richards took Reed back, Spider-Man went about his business (but with his secret identity known to the world now) and everyone got with the programme while Captain America was imprisoned.

There are some really great ‘What If?’ stories about Civil War that you should definitely check out if you weren’t a fan of how this story went, and keep a lookout for Civil War II which is starting in spring this year.

What did you think of Civil War? Let us know in the comments!