Today, the New York Daily News broke a real exclusive – one of their reporters got to attend Marvel’s semi-annual editorial retreat, and got unique insight into the plot of the next Marvel event!
Civil War II has been on the cards for some time. As far back as October, a retailer got this mailshot from Marvel:
Nobody was particularly surprised. Civil War was easily one of the most ground-breaking events of Marvel history, tearing the Marvel families apart and actually having a lasting impact. The series led straight into the death of a major character, none other than Captain America himself, and over in the movies the MCU adaptation – Captain America: Civil War – is due out this year. If the trailer’s to be believed, it’s going to see deaths. Rumours abound that the Star-Spangled Avenger will meet his untimely demise.
Meanwhile, showing the lasting power of the Civil War brand, the “Secret Wars” tie-in with that title was among Marvel’s best-sellers of 2015.
Here’s the official synopsis for Civil War II:
“A mysterious new Marvel character comes to the attention of the world, one who has the power to calculate the outcome of future events with a high degree of accuracy. This predictive power divides the Marvel heroes on how best to capitalize on this aggregated information, with Captain Marvel leading the charge to profile future crimes and attacks before they occur, and Iron Man adopting the position that the punishment cannot come before the crime.”
The original Civil War had featured a very different issue – that of superhuman registration, with Captain America taking the lead against the SuperHuman Registration Act, and Iron Man heading up its enforcement. It was triggered by the New Warriors, who made a cataclysmic mistake when handling the super-villain Nitro.
In the same way, Civil War II will begin with this enigmatic new being warning that a hero will cause a major incident – what Bendis describes as “somewhere between Hitler and self-defence”. As a result of this correct prediction, sides will be taken. But – and here’s the catch – Marvel may have given away a lot more than they intended to.
First of all, remember the first teaser image? It’s notable that it didn’t show Captain Marvel at war with Iron Man. It showed Sam Wilson’s Captain America. But, while the current Captain America is shown on the cover of Civil War II, he’s not exactly front-and-centre. That pivotal role has evidently been taken by Captain Marvel. There are likely two reasons for this – the first being Captain America: Sam Wilson‘s poor sales performance! But the second is connected to Captain Marvel’s current role in the comics.
The All-New All-Different Marvel range has put Captain Marvel in command of S.W.O.R.D., a top-secret intergovernmental agency dedicated to protecting the world from alien threats. The fact that Captain Marvel is playing so pivotal a role in all this strongly suggests alien involvement – and, given that Bendis originally intended the superhero who causes this ‘new Stamford’ to be Spider-Man, it’s safe to say that the predictor is an alien. Dan Slott was relaxed, and – true to his expectations – Spider-Man was saved. Supporting the idea of aliens being mixed up in this, the full cover image includes Star-Lord, who by this time will have returned to an active role in Guardians of the Galaxy.
It seems clear that the superhero who causes this incident subsequently dies, although the circumstances remain mysterious. Editor Tom Brevoort ix-nayed the idea of the superhero in question committing suicide, but the death will still happen. Given that the one death of the original Civil War – Goliath – was a pivotal moment, the death should be significant. That said, fans of female characters can relax; the New York Daily News unintentionally refers to the character in question as a ‘he’, and the sentence structure is so natural as to suggest this was an honest mistake.
All of which doesn’t mean female superheroes won’t take sides, of course. I’m particularly interested in Captain Marvel’s reputation, and it’s impact on the liberal-minded Kamala (Ms Marvel) Khan.
Civil War left Tony Stark’s reputation damaged with fans for years, and it ultimately required the Avengers Prime miniseries to pull the Avengers back together. Given that Captain Marvel’s movie is due in 2018, it’s rather surprising to see Marvel Comics choosing to use the character in so controversial a role. That said, it’s possible that the comics and the movies are diverging nowadays – Disney’s restructure of Marvel last year pulled Marvel Studios out of that corporate reporting-line, breaking any ties and shutting down various advisory panels.
One thing’s for sure: the future doesn’t look bright for Sam Wilson’s Captain America. He’s been relegated to second place, no longer going man-to-man with Tony Stark. Given that this is the seventy-fifth anniversary for Steve Rogers, as well as the year of his third (final?) movie, it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the current status quo changed, with Steve stepping back into his traditional role.
Superhero-on-superhero conflict has always been Marvel’s thing. 2016 will give us Captain America and Iron Man going head-to-head on the big screen, Batman trading blows with Superman, Daredevil taking on the Punisher, and major X-Men such as Storm and Psylocke working for Apocalypse in the Fox franchise. Now we know that the comics will continue this trend…
Here’s the full cover for your consideration: