Hello interweb, Nate here. Sorry this review is so late but I’m reviewing all 7 issues so this is an unusually long post, on top of that Christmas and New Years held back this review even more, and overall this review just took a lot of time out of my life. I ultimately decided to post this a day early as tomorrow I’m going to do my New Years special (My Top 10 Posts of 2014 based on views).
So with that said, yes I am going to review all 7 issues so this post might be longer than usual. If you’re a fast reader and my posts usually don’t take long for you to read, than maybe this post won’t be too long but just keep that in mind.
Writer: Mark Miller
Artists: Steve McNiven (penciler), Dexter Vines, Mark Morales, Steve McNiven, John Dell, and Tim Townsend (Inker)
Major Characters In These Issues
Do to how long this story is, there are quite a few characters in this story and so I was debating on the best way to do the Characters section, especially with the fact that these characters are basically split down the middle with whose anti-act and pro-act. So ultimately I decided to place the characters in alphabetical order (based on their superhero name) and I would suggest skipping this section and simply looking back at this section if I mention a character that you do not know. Just to make it easy, I’ll bold the names of the characters if it’s the first time I mention that name in the story section. Make sense? I hope so.
Black Panther (T’Challa): T’Challa is the chief of Wakanda, a fictional nation in Africa.
Powers: Black Panther is human but he is a skilled fighter and his at Olympic-level strength.
Side: Neutral as he lives in Wakanda, Africa and doesn’t care about the act as a result.
Captain America (Steve Rodgers): Captain America use to be a super soldier from the 40s but was frozen in ice only to wake up in present day. Check out his Character Bio here.
Powers: Captain America has strength that rivals an Olympic athlete.
Side: Captain America is not only Anti-Act but is the leader of the Anti-Act.
Daredevil (Matt Murdock): Matt Murdock is a lawyer by day and the superhero Daredevil by night. He gained his abilities after being blinded by radioactive waste and heightened his senses after losing his sense of sight.
Powers: His blindness allows his other senses (hear, touch, etc.) to increase to superhuman levels. He’s also a skilled martial artist and is at peak human strength.
Emma Frost: Emma Frost is a mutant and current co-leader of the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning, a school for mutants, along with Cyclops.
Powers: Her main power is telepathy but she can also turn her skin into organic diamonds, but at the cost of losing said telepathy.
Falcon (Sam Wilson): Falcon is a friend of Captain America and is actually currently Captain America in the comics (don’t ask, I don’t have time).
Powers: Falcon has the ability to telepathically communicate with birds. On top of that, he possesses jet-powered wings that allows him to fly.
Goliath (Bill Foster): Goliath was once an assistant to Hank Pym (see Yellowjacket) and thus has similar abilities.
Powers: Size and mass alteration
Hercules: Hercules is an Olympian from Olympus.
Powers: Since he’s an Olympian, Hercules has god-like abilities such as supernatural strength, immortality, etc.
Side: Anti-Act, although this is due to being close friends with Captain America and not due to any intelligent or moralistic choice.
Human Torch (Johnny Storm): After being hit by cosmic rays with the rest of the Fantastic Four (see Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and the Thing), Johnny Storm gained superhuman abilities.
Powers: Human Torch’s name says it all. He possesses the ability to light his whole body in flames and control fire. He can also channel his flames into the ground to simulate flight, similar to a rocket.
Invisible Woman (Sue Storm-Richards): Previously known simply as Sue Storm before marrying Mr. Fantastic, Sue Storm-Richards gained superhuman abilities by cosmic rays with the rest of the Fantastic Four (see Mr. Fantastic, Human Torch, and the Thing).
Powers: Invisible Woman has the ability to become invisible (I know, the name is so misleading) as well as create invisible force fields.
Side: She originally begins on the Pro-Act side (mostly because of her husband) but later becomes Anti-Act
Iron Man (Tony Stark): Tony Stark is a billionaire and technological genius who designs several robot-like battle-suits
Powers: Do to being human, Tony does not posses any superhuman abilities but instead uses robotic suits that posses anything from rocket launchers to jet propulsion.
Side: Iron Man is Pro-Act and is actually the leader of the Pro-Act.
Maria Hill: Commander Maria Hill is the new leader of S.H.I.E.L.D. now that Nick Fury is gone.
Powers: Maria Hill is a normal human so she doesn’t have any “superpowers”. But do to being the head of S.H.I.E.L.D. she does have countless soldier and several superheroes at her disposal.
Mr. Fantastic (Reed Richards): Mr. Fantastic was hit with cosmic rays along with the rest of the Fantastic Four (see Human Torch, Invisible Woman, and the Thing) to gain superhuman abilities. Side note: he’s married to Invisible Woman.
Powers: Mr. Fantastic has the ability of superhuman elasticity, malleability, and shape shifting. Think Elastigirl from Pixar’s Incredibles.
Namor McKenzie: Namor is a mutant Atlantean and king of Atlantis.
Powers: Atlantean powers
New Warriors (Team): The New Warriors are a group of juvenile superheroes who stars in their own reality TV show. Due to this, they often do stupid things simply to get views.
Side: It was never specified as their only importance was to set off the war in the first place.
Nitro: Nitro isn’t a very well-known villain and is actually best known for this event.
Powers: Nitro has the ability of self-detonation and then reforming as a living gaseous form afterwords.
Side: It was never specified as his only importance was to set off the war in the first place.
Patriot (Elijah Bradley): Patriot is a member of the Young Avengers.
Powers: Enhanced condition (peak human strength, speed, stamina, durability, healing, etc.)
Punisher (Frank Castle): After witnessing his family being killed, Frank Castle became the Punisher. As the Punisher, he uses lethal forces to kill those who breaks the laws. Which is different than most superheroes as most follow a “no kill” policy.
Powers: Punisher is a normal human but he knows how to kill and posseses many firearms and lethal equipment.
Spider-man (Peter Parker): Peter Parker get’s bitten by a radioactive spider and gains spider powers. It should be noted that for a huge part of the Civil War storyline, Spidey is wearing his Iron-Spider suit and not his normal suit.
Powers: Spider-man possesses abilities similar to that of a spider. This includes the ability to walk on walls, shoot webs (via home-made web-shooters), have a spider-sense (an early warning system for oncoming attacks), superhuman strength (can lift about 10 tons), speed (run at 200 mph), and reflexes. While wearing the Iron-Spider suit (given to him and designed by Tony Stark) he can fly, has increased durability, and has four extendable spider-like legs that comes out of his back (think Doc Ock only spider instead of octopus).
Side: Early on Spider-man is Pro-Act mostly because he doesn’t want there to be a war but later becomes Anti-Act as he realize that the SRA is causing the war.
Thing (Ben Grimm): The Thing gains his powers from cosmic rays just like the rest of the Fantastic Four (see Invisible Woman, Human Torch, and Mr. Fantastic).
Powers: The Thing looks as if he’s made out of rocks and has high amounts of strength and durability.
Thor: Thor is an Asgaurdian and the god of thunder. It should be noted that Thor died before this series and the Thor in this series is a clone created by Tony Stark (who knew you could clone a god)
Powers: Being a god, Thor has many god like abilities such as supernatural strength, electricity control, etc. (The clone in this story seems to have similar powers but lacks intelligence and thus goes on instincts, and in comics instinct=aggression)
Side: Thor is dead but his clone is Pro-Act simply because he is lead by Iron Man
Wiccan (William Kaplan): Wiccan is a mage as well as a mutant who is part of the Young Avengers.
Powers: Wiccan mainly uses magic.
Yellowjacket (Hank Pym): Formerly known as Ant-Man, Goliath and Giant-Man, Hank Pym is a scientist and one of the top scientists in the Marvel U.
Powers: Size and mass alteration and the ability to control insects.
Issue 1 of 7
The story begins with the New Warriors as they are about to attack a house full of supervillains that are way too powerful for them. During the battle one of the villains name Nitro self-detonate and destroys a whole block. Killing the New Warriors and a school full of elementary kids.
In the next scene we see several Avengers and a few X-Men helping with the clean up several hours later and several skeletons are on the ground. There is a lot of upset people around and everyone seems quite disturbed at the carnage (which is understandable). Iron Man and Captain America in particularly are talking about the incident and how serious it is.
In the next scene we see several panels of news reporters talking about the horrible accident and a church where a funeral is taking place. After the funeral, an outraged woman (outraged is definitely an understatement) spits in Tony Stark’s face and blames him for the death of her son as she says that Tony says its ok to go around as a vigilante as long as you have superpowers before she storms away.
“…WHO FINANCES THE Avengers? WHO’S BEEN TELLING KIDS FOR YEARS THAT THEY CAN LIVE OUTSIDE THE LAW AS LONG AS THEY’RE WEARING TIGHTS?- -COPS HAVE TO TRAIN AND CARRY BADGES, BUT THAT’S TOO BORING FOR TONY STARK.- -NAH, JOE BILLIONAIRE HERE SAYS ALL YOU NEED ARE SOME POWERS AND A BAD@$$ ATTITUDE, AND HAVE A PLACE IN HIS SUPER PRIVATE SUPER-GANG.”
After this, we see the Human Torch flying towards an unknown girl and proceed to walk into a club and skipping the line. A random stranger than gets upset at this in which Johnny tells her that he can do this as he’s saved the world numerous times. But this only anger someone else as he brings up the incident that killed a whole school of elementary kids. This causes Human Torch to defend himself saying he had nothing to do with that only to be knocked unconscious by a beer bottle. The next panel shows a news reporter confirming that the Human Torch was not the only superhuman who has been attacked.
We then cut to a room where a bunch of Avengers members are arguing over what has happened. Many members believing that superheroes should give up the right to hide behind masks and others arguing to keep their IDs a secret.
In the next scene we see Captain America at the S.H.I.E.L.D. heli-carrier with Commander Maria Hill (look for Maria Hill in the Characters section). Maria Hill then tells Cap that she has planned to make it illegal for super-humans to fight crime with a secret identity. Cap then argues against this and the two argues over this while Hill commands several soldiers to point tranquilizer guns at Cap. Captain America then proceeds to attack several of the soldiers and escape without getting hit.
To finish part 1 of 7, we see hundreds of people surrounding the White House with signs for the ban on secret identities. Inside the WH we see Iron Man with Mr. Fantastic and Yellowjacket confirming that the Superhuman Registration Act (or SRA) is now a law.
Issue 2 of 7
In the first few pages we see that Captain America is secretly fighting crime and is in hiding. Several Pro-Act superheroes are publicly fighting crime and is beloved once again by the public. Mr. Fantastic and Invisible Woman is talking about the future of superheroes while the Thing takes care of their kids (Invisible Woman than heads to the hospital to see Human Torch). On top of this, J Jonah Jameson hopes Spider-man will reveal himself as we see Spider-man swinging around the city in his Iron-Spider suit.
We then cut to see S.H.I.E.L.D. hunting down Patriot. Patriot is then taken down and arrested along with the rest of the Young Avengers (a juvenile version of the Avengers). Then Captain America and Falcon (both disguised as S.H.I.E.L.D. agents) helps break them out by using one of Wiccan‘s spells. The spell than teleports them to Captain America’s secret base where the resistance HQ is.
The issue ends with Spider-man (now in is classic red and blue suit) revealing to the public that his name is Peter Parker and he has been Spider-man since he was 15-years old (much to Jameson’s shock who was watching on a TV).
Issue 3 of 7
The issue starts with Mr. Fantastic trying to convince Black Panther to come to America and help with the SRA but he refuses. According to the notes at the end of the book, Mr. Fantastic wanted Black Panther to come to America and join the Pro-Registration attempts as his stance as an Avenger can help.
We then see Tony Stark having tea with Emma Frost and attempting to persuade her to join the Pro-Act as the X-Men has stayed out of it up to that point. But Emma insists that they stay out of it as if she and the rest of the X-Men doesn’t fight crime, then they have the right to stay neutral in the war.
In the next scene we see Captain America, Hercules, Daredevil, and Goliath at a restaurant in different disguises. After discussing a new plan of attack, they get into their superhero uniforms in a back-alley. They head to a chemical plant only to be stopped by Iron Man and the rest of the Pro-Act-ers (Pro-Actees? Pro-Act people?). We now see all the Pro-Act superheroes and all the Anti-Act superheroes as Iron Man tries to convince Cap to hear him out. Cap then shakes Iron Man’s hand only to leave something that makes his suit deactivate and Goliath increasing size behind him.
Captain America then proceeds to attack the defenseless Iron Man, Goliath and Yellowjacket (who also increase in size) fights each other, and the rest of the superheroes fight. Once Iron Man’s armor turns back on, he attacks Cap and beats him up pretty good. This issue ends with Thor appearing and everyone’s surprised to see him alive (as he died before this event).
Issue 4 out of 7
We open up just as we left off with Thor attacking everyone in his line of sight. While Thor’s going crazy, Iron Man is defeating the now beaten up Captain America. Iron Man uses some type of device that produces sound that hurts everyone except for those whose on his side (as they have protection) and Thor (as he’s a god). Hercules then attacks Iron Man with a bunch of debris and Falcon swoops down to save Cap. Goliath then attacks Thor only for Thor to shoot a bolt of lightning straight through Goliath’s heart, killing him. Everyone is dumbfounded but there’s no time for brooding as the Anti-Act superheroes are teleported out. We then see everyone staring at the corpse of Goliath and Spider-man questioning Tony about weather the SRA is actually a good idea.
“I hate the promise of big deaths in events. It’s so cheap. It’s just bad writing. We could have had Cap, Spidey, and Iron Man all dead in a double-page spread here, but you know they’re coming back in six months. It’s meaningless and just a repeat of the death of Phoenix, Supergirl or the Flash. I wanted a death to mean something and even a relatively little-known character should be treated with respect, his death having story ramifications. I’ve said this before, but why kill characters unnecessarily? Obviously, they have to die sometime, but every character is somebody’s favorite and I’d be p!$$ed off if I saw my favorite character killed of in a panel followed by no repercussions. It’s just cheap. I’ve said this a million times, don’t buy this series looking for big deaths. You can shake things up and do something new without resorting to that.”
-Mark Millar, Writer of Civil War
We see after the fight everyone that is Pro-Act is grieving over the loss of Goliath. We also see all the supers that are Anti-Act not exactly too up and cheery either. During Goliath’s funeral, Peter Parker, Aunt May, and Mary Jane are seen talking about something (but it’s unknown what). We then see Invisible Woman writing a letter to Mr. Fantastic and leaving because she’s sick of the SRA and wants Mr. Fantastic to end it (this is when she switch sides). We see Human Torch (whose now out of the hospital) and Thing playing with the kids and Mr. Fantastic sleeping.
This issue ends when Iron Man is is asking the help of the Thunder Bolts (a group of supervillains) too help them.
Issue 5 of 7
This issue starts with Spider-man and Iron Man as Spidey want’s to go Anti-Act. iron Man tries to stop him but Spidey succeeds in escaping. The Thunder Bolts then find him and gang up on him, beating him up pretty bad. Spidey would have died if the Punisher didn’t save him. Punisher then brings Spider-man to Captain America where they start treating Spidey’s wounds.
The issue ends when Daredevil is arrested and placed in the Negative Zone with the other caught Anti-Act superheroes.
Issue 6 of 7
This issue starts as we see the Pro-Acts deciding what to do next while the Punisher is sneaking into Baxter Building (Avengers HQ) skillfully dodging the security. As this is happening, Invisible Woman visits Namor in Atlantis and tries to convince him to help her and Cap, he refuses as he has no care about American soil.
Back at the Anti-Act HQ, Spider-man (now back in his classic outfit) is greeted by Cap and co. as he’s healed up. They then discuss the information the Punisher came back with about the Negative Zone prison as Punisher kills to villains that was working with Cap and co. Cap retaliated by attacking Punisher but Punisher refused to fight Captain America, causing Cap to stop his onslaught.
The issue ends with Cap and the other Anti-Acts about to head to the Negative Zone before Iron Man and the Pro-Acts uses the portal to get to Cap’s HQ.
Issue 7 of 7
The final face-off starts and superheroes and supervillains face off against each other. But they are then all teleported outside as civilians are running away in surprise and fear.
The next chunk of this issue everyone is fighting. Fists are fighting, lightning is shooting, weapons are firing, property damage is increasing, etc. But then Captain America has gotten Iron Man on the ground. Iron Man tells Cap to finish it, Cap glares at him before a bunch of civilians tackles Cap and holds him back. Captain America tells them to let him go and that he doesn’t want to hurt them, only for them to tell him that it’s too late for that.
Suddenly, shock and realization hits him as he looks at all the destruction that has happened. He realize that he’s no longer fighting for the people, their just fighting. Everyone stops and stares as Captain America removes his mask, saying that Captain America isn’t turning himself is, Steve Rodgers is.
The issue, and story, ends with Punisher picking up Cap’s mask, superheroes cleaning up the damage, others superheroes registering, and those that don’t register being arrested.
The art is top notch and excellent. There’s frankly nothing to complain about. Everything looks great and nothing looks rushed.
Honestly this event is really great. I personally like it better than AVX and I loved that one. Plus it brings up the age old question: should superheroes have secret identities? It brings up a lot of things to think about. Plus this series doesn’t even have a main villain. No one’s the villain here, it’s just an argument that went out of control.
Now I know you guys want me to answer the question: Do I think superheroes should have secret identities? Now considering that Marvel is a fictional universe, yes. The secret identity just adds more drama and suspense. If this was real life? Then I would actually be against a secret identity. I mean, how safe would you feel knowing that these super humans are running around and you don’t know whose who? That would be scary.
If I would to rank this on a 5 point rating system (1 being terrible, 2 being bad, 3 being ok, 4 being good to read, and 5 being amazing) I would give it a 5.
So today I have two polls. One being: Would you be pro secret identity or anti secret identity for a fictional universe. The other being: would you be pro secret identity or anti secret identity for our real life universe? I’m just curious on the results.