Welcome back to Civil Words: our read-through of the Marvel comics blockbuster series Civil War.
I’m Cian, the cold-hearted leader of the authoritarian forces here on What Else Is On, ruling the blog with an iron fist (no, not that Iron Fist).
And that’s Colm, my once-trusted brother now leading an underground revolt against me.
How are you, ya filthy Libertarian traitor?
Colm: Well Cian, my band of freedom fighters and I are just peachy, having overthrown another totalitarian puppet government, who knew a story about two brothers on opposite sides of a war could be so compelling?
Cian: Freedom fighters?! More like godless anarchists!!!!
(Ahem) So, three weeks in as good a time as any to ask: which side do you stand on in the REAL superhero civil war: DC or Marvel?
Colm: DC, I am a DC man to the bone, and I’m pretty sure the only reason for that is that I got into DC before Marvel, and stuck with it to my own joy! And you, overall what comic publisher do you hold closer to your heart?
Cian: You know, it’s funny: the Batman and Justice League cartoons were huge for me when I was young, and they’re still the high watermark for me in terms of superhero stories. So in that sense I’m on Team DC. But the problem is….most of DC’s actual comic book stories, especially right now, are pretty poor in my opinion. And the films…..yeeeeeeee.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the house, Marvel is absolutely killing in terms of it’s comics and, obviously, it’s films. At this point the vast majority of series I follow are from Marvel (I really only keep tabs on Batman at DC anymore). I guess I’ve switched sides at some point?
Or, to give a more fence-sitting answer, my personal rule of thumb has become “Marvel for films and comics, DC for TV series and animation”, and that’s worked out pretty well so far.
Colm: Yeah, I cant argue with what you’re saying brudda! DC’s best New 52 title (Wonder Woman) ended the killer run after 35 issues and they lost titles over and over until they’ve rebooted with Convergence! However there are plenty of DC comics from the last 20 years or so that are superb! But the new 52 has largely been a blunder for them.
Truly there’s only been one DCCU movie and it wasn’t all that great, and with Batman v Superman ‘Taking inspiration from Frank Miller’ whose work is DARK and GRITTY past the point of comprehension it looks to be following a more serious route than Marvel.
Marvel has a bunch of killer titles these days! Personal favorites are Hawkeye and Ms Marvel, both quirky and fun stories.
Cian: I suppose for this conversation we should focus only on the house that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby built: so who’s your favourite Marvel character?
Colm: My favorite Marvel character… God that’s tough…any chance I could get a more narrowed down answer? (Bear in mind I’ve read far more DC than Marvel!) What about yourself?
Cian: Well let’s say your favourite solo hero and your favourite member of a team. For me the big has to be Spider-Man, I know, that’s everyone’s answer! But I specifically really like the Ultimate version: the teenaged version of the character that was mostly published during my own teen years before being dramatically killed off a few weeks after my 21st birthday. Symbolism!
Colm: Favorite solo hero I would have to say Kamala Khan, Ms Marvel! Fave team player? X-men probably Beast, Avengers probably … y’know I really dont know!
Cian: Ooooh I actually also really like Flash Thompson as Agent Venom! Since he’s technically a part of the Guardians of the Galaxy these days I’ll take him as my favourite team player.
Colm: Nice choice! But now lets get down to Issue #3! And we’re on the topic of team players! Y’know what the most underrated team is? -Family-. So guess who isn’t being a team player in his family?
Cian: Is it….is it me? Are you guilt tripping me about something bro?
Colm: WHY DID YOU LEAVE US ALONE IN IRELAND?!
Ahaha, i merely jest! No, the neglectful family member I talk of is Reed Richards, off in Wakanda and ignoring his brother-in-laws coma!
Cian: Ugh, Reed Richards is the absolute worst. I bet he tells people his favourite movie is fecking Primer.
So yeah, in Issue 3 we see Reed, Stark and Hank Pym check in with the characters who have recused themselves from choosing a side in the Civil War.
The fence sitters include Black Panther (has his own county to run, isn’t bothered by this American weirdness), Doctor Strange (spending 40 days fasting in the Artic mediating on a possible solution to the war. Aka: bein’ a real yellowbelly) and the X-Men (have their own stuff to be dealing with, and aren’t very friendly with either side in the civil war anyway).
What’d you think of the characters who are sitting this one out, Colm? Were they logical choices to maintain the tension/flow of the story or are you disappointed some of them won’t be weighing in?
Colm: The Mutants were hella smart to stay away from this, seeing as how they already fight intolerance and get all kinds of hatred thrown at them, its best to stay out of a fight. Not to mention they’ve had to deal with registration acts before, acts that detain and categorize mutants, which was a whole violation of their rights, makes sense that they would neither support or oppose!
Doc Strange has his own stuff to deal with! He has to fight an inter-dimensional demon, he has to get his robes clean… I’m not 100% familiar with Doctor Strange but isn’t he like craaaaaaaazy powerful? Enough to utterly annihilate one side? Then I totally get why he’s siting this one out!
You hit the nail on the head with Black Panther! He has an entire nation to run, he has so much more going on than ‘Whose side are you on?’ He has to worry about the economic and social standing of Wakandans.
Cian: Wakandians? Wakanadans? Wakanese people? ….Panther folk. (Ooohhh, is that what Shakira was singing about? Mystery solved.)
And we also checked in with Anti-Registration team and their really doofy new secret identities. Cap’s disguise as a mall security manager is basically Burt Macklin.
Colm: Essentially, but he isn’t going out with Aubrey Plaza! Goliath had the right idea, their identities should have great backstories and cool jobs that draw a lot of attention! Giving Daredevil’s alter-ego glasses… cruel or stroke of genius?
Cian: The Ant-Reg-ers, (we’re told the press is calling them “Secret Avengers”, which,um, I’m not calling them that… ) are lured to a fire in a chemical plant – and then see that the factory is a division of Stark Industries.
Admiral Ackbar, could you?
The rest of the issue is taken up with the requisite big fight scene, and…wait. Did Iron Man set that factory on fire just to lure Cap out? Jeez guy, that place gave people jobs.
Like, the poor plant manager. How does that look on his CV? “Previous Projects: Supervised Giffen-Myer Chemical Plant until 2006, when it burned down under unexplained circumstances. Proficient with Microsoft Office.”
Colm: Admiral Obvious more like… Anyway Cable is there for some reason! Well if the guy was working for Tony Stark he shoulda know what he was getting in to! But yeah, not good to have on your work record!
Cian: It’s a pretty standard giant superhero battle (the only thing that really stood out to me was that there was a full panel shot of Spider-Man’s bulge, for some reason….)
The Pro-Reg side seem to be winning anyway, but they pretty much have it in the bag when SHIELD sends in “Project Lightning” – that is, a very angry-looking Thor.
(Thor had been dead for a few years in 2006, which is why his return here was such a big cliffhanger moment. Also, as an English teacher, “he had been dead” is a very odd grammatical construction.)
Colm: Yeah it was back when coming back to life was almost kind of starting to be a bit of a big deal! That’s the issue though, the beginning of the first skirmish in the War!
Heres a question Cian, with Civil War having Baron Zemo, a notorious Cap America villain, do you think he’ll have a big role in the upcoming movie? And if he is the big-bad, how do you think this first skirmish will go down?
Cian: I can see it going two ways: either Zemo is used as a throwaway first act villain, like the HYDRA guy from Age of Ultron or Batroc the Leaper (Aka, the absolute best supervillain) in The Winter Soldier: Cap and Iron Man could fight Zemo together in the opening scene to re-establish them as friends/partners before their big falling out.
Or else he’s a shadowy guy who’s infiltrated the government and is pulling strings behind the scenes to get the the superhero registration act made law. Maybe he’s working with the UN representative played by Martin Freeman?
Ok Colm, I think that’s about the size of it: any last thoughts on Issue 3?
Colm: Just that this is our first look at who is on who’s side, everyone has turned up for this fight, and there’s now a clear picture for each ‘army’
Cian: Yup, the battle lines have been drawn alright. We’ll see how it plays out next week!
About the Authors:
The lovable slacker type, Colm Sheppard is into all things comic book. He enjoys good food, good stories and lengthy anecdotes.
A lifelong TV addict since his first episode of Sesame Street, Cian Sheppard works as an English teacher in Germany and thinks you look very nice today.