Civil War is a Marvel Comics event that turned iconic comic book characters against each other in the name of heroism. The story defines a clear division between two sides, fronted by none other than Iron Man and Captain America. Mark Miller and gang were very clever putting Captain America on the rebellious side; he’s not a character you’d typical associate with operating outside of the law.
The story is basically based on a Superhero Registration Act – a piece of Legislation formed to allow the Government to keep tabs on superheroes and control how they operate. This is all kick-started by a group of B-List superheroes, who in reality are a bunch of kids with powers who decide to take on a few villains. This sparks a public outcry, as the ‘heroes’ didn’t quite get the job done. Somebody attempts to capture Nitro, who causes an explosion so huge and deadly it takes out an elementary school in its entirety.
After hundreds of children are unfortunately killed, Tony gets confronted by a mother who’s grieving over the passing over her child. Overwhelmed with guilt, he decides to push for the Registration Act and becomes the poster-boy for the cause. He believes every super-powered individual should be registered, trained by, and working for the Government to avoid similar situations from happening ever again.
Captain America sees the potential of this Act to be misused as an army of superheroes that could be used as weapons of war. This doesn’t sit well with him, and spurs him on to lead the rebellion against Iron Man and those who share his beliefs.
Spider-Man sits right in the middle of these two, representing (most likely) the majority of individuals who don’t really know where to stand, but were forced to pick a side. At first, he invests in Iron Man’s vision; helping to stop untrained people from running around and causing havoc, whether they mean to or not. As you know, Peter Parker doesn’t come from a privileged background so the idea of the Government handing him a paycheck sounds rather appealing. You should also know that he loves the privacy he’s awarded with due to concealing his identity, so registering with the Government will take that away from him.
Parker believes he can lead others to join Iron Man’s side by finally unveiling his true identity – it was great to see J. Jonah Jameson’s reaction to finding out that he’s the webhead. After Goliath is killed when attempting to arrest some of the rebels, known to me and you as superheroes who want freedom, Spidey has second thoughts. This leads to him switches allegiances and joining Team Cap.
Anyway, we hope this overview of the comic run has wet your appetite enough for you to pick up the Graphic Novel – which compiles the main issues into one book. That’s the only way you’ll find out how this huge battle is resolved, because we really don’t want to spoil it for you!
This story marked the culminated of the Marvel universe in an epic way, pitting Iron Man against Captain America.