The best part about all the Secret Wars tie-in is that they have allowed whole lines of What-if comics playing off some of the most popular Marvel events and classic comics. I’ll save my favorites for another post, but Civil War #1 is definitely on that list. As you can guess from the title it continues the storyline of the seminal Civil War event from 2006 and shows us what the world would have been like if the war had never ended. Spoilers below.
How it continues
Much like the rest of the what-if comics Civil War goes back to the original and tweaks it to make it a logical continuation. In Civil War during the final battle where Cap and his forces try to free prisoners from Iron Man’s citadel someone triggers the prison’s self destruct. Cloak manages to rescue heroes from both sides and teleports to St. Louis, but he’s not able to close the portal in time, meaning that when the prison explodes it vaporizes St. Louis. With both sides blaming the other for triggering the explosion, it creates an intractable divide that neither can overcome.
The country is now divided between east and west, called the Iron and the Blue respectively. Each one is controlled by either Cap, now known as The General, or The President, which is Iron Man. Each country has evolved around the ideals of their leaders, with the Blue being a loosely organized band of villages with only two laws: don’t hurt people and help when you can. The enforcers of these laws are his Avengers “in case you fail” to do harm, or his Punishers “in case you succeed.” The Iron is built around order and using that order to protect it’s people from harm. The system will protect you.
The story picks up in the midst of this civil war and the two men are pulled to a peace conference a place called The Divide, which is the ruins of St. Louis. The conference, as expected, quickly goes south when someone assassinated the person who called the two leaders together, Miriam Sharp. Personally I had forgotten who she was and had to look her up. She was the mother of one of the dead children that started the push for the Registration Act. For the first half of the issue she served as the narrator of the book, and personally I would have preferred someone I cared about to have, but it serves for a nice transition when you realize all the backstory she is giving is being delivered in a news interview. The twist on her assassination is that she was never the target, it was Steve Rogers. Steve immediately blame Stark as the only person who could have made that shot was Bullseye, and according to Rogers, “He works for [Stark].”
Overall, the story is good and quickly paced, but as most first issues go most of it is dedicated to catching you up to current events, but even that had moments of magic. I particularly enjoyed the nods to Secret Invasion and Dark Reign in the first half of the book, and I particularly love the two twists with Spiderman in this issue. I can’t wait to see where this story goes. I always love to see Steve Rogers as Cap whenever possible.
Rating: 8 out of 10