You may be a little confused at that ‘II’ tacked onto the end of Civil War, but fear not, as the whole thing isn’t too complicated and it’s not yet finished so we here at The Arcade will get you up to speed! The story isn’t even half way through its run yet, so we’ll only be explaining what’s happened so far to give you an idea of what’s happening.
If you’re a comic fan or you’re friends with a comic fan or even if you’ve just seen the latest Captain America movie, you’ll be familiar with Civil War, or at least the basic story. Well, try to forget all you know about it for the time being as you’ll enjoy Civil War II a heck of a lot more if you forget the older, better original.
Civil War II is ultimately a crossover story and has been touted as the ‘sequel’ to 2006’s Civil War. It consists of just eight issues and is the brainchild of writer Brian Michael Bendis (the same guy who has created the latest Iron Man, Riri Williams) and artists David Marquez and Justin Ponsor. The main conflict in the story covers the theme of determinism versus free will, and discusses whether it’s better to act to try and prevent something that might come to pass or dealing with the situation when it happens.
So what exactly happens?
Ulysses is a student at Ohio State University and after being exposed to the Terrigen Mist he is turned into an Inhuman (handy, that!). When he emerges from the Terrigen cocoon, he is changed, and he has a vision of a dystopian future where everything is… well, it’s not exactly rosy, put it that way.
Some time later, the Inhumans help the Avengers defeat an invading Celestial Destroyer and Ulysses reveals to the Avengers that he foresaw the invasion, which is where the central conflict of Civil War II begins. Iron Man argues about the logic (and ethics) of stopping crimes before they even occur, while Captain Marvel, who is part of a government project tasked with doing exactly that, disagrees. Many of the heroes have their own thoughts on the visions, but there is no clear divide just yet.
Things start to go wrong!
A few weeks later, War Machine (who is Tony Stark’s BFF), is killed and She-Hulk is mortally wounded during a battle with Thanos. Stark is devastated and enraged after discovering the only reason War Machine and She-Hulk were battling Thanos was because they, along with Captain Marvel, used Ulysses’ precognitive power to ambush him. Incensed at what he sees as needless deaths for something that might not have happened, Stark kind of goes off the deep end and vows to make sure nobody ever uses Ulysses’ power again. She-Hulk, however, despite being at death’s door, tells Captain Marvel to fight for the future just as she goes into cardiac arrest.
Stark has a breakdown!
When I say Stark goes off the deep end, I really do mean it, as he exhibits some truly bizarre behaviour after the crisis with Thanos. He breaks into New Attilan, the home of the Inhumans, and kidnaps Ulysses from his bed. Fair warning: You may be kind of bewildered at Stark’s decision making skills during these panels. Putting it simply: he has no chill. But hey, this is an information dump, not a review. On with the story!
While kidnapping Ulysses, the Inhumans attack Stark Tower, but they are stopped by the Avengers and agree to team-up to confront Stark together. They ambush him at his secret facility while he is performing tests on Ulysses, but while the group starts arguing, Ulysses has another vision where he (and everyone else in the room) sees the Hulk killing the Avengers.
Shit really hits the fan!
Later, Bruce Banner is approached by Captain Marvel and a whole horde of superheroes at his ‘secret’ laboratory outside Utah. Banner has no clue what’s going on and while Captain Marvel and Stark try to explain that they’re looking for any proof of an imminent big green episode, Banner is suddenly shot dead by Clint Barton (Hawkeye). All is not as malicious as it seems, however, as Barton claims that Banner came to him and entrusted him with a special mission: to kill him if there was ever a chance that he would Hulk out again. He even gave him a specially made bullet capable of permanently ridding the world of Banner (and the Hulk with him) should it be necessary.
We find out about this interaction via Barton’s testimony during his court case. Stark’s testimony brings up the possible situation of whether any of it would have happened if they hadn’t forced Banner’s hand. Stark also claimed there was no evidence of Banner starting to hulk out, but Barton said different, and Hank McCoy was able to prove that Banner himself crafted the bullet that killed him, giving plausibility to Barton’s story.
As the jury’s decision is announced, the calculations on Ulysses’ brain that Stark took when he kidnapped him allow Friday to determine how his visions work. As issue 3 closes, we’re left with Stark looking at a screen in amazement as he proclaims ‘Oh my god. It’s – it’s our future.’
What do you think of Civil War II so far? Let us know in the comments!