Mark Millar and Steve McNiven collaborated back in 2006 to bring us the Marvel Event, Civil War. This title has been getting a lot of attention recently due to the upcoming release of the Captain America: Civil War movie, based loosely on this story arc. Notice, I said “loosely.” Don’t expect your movie experience to match your comic experience. Every storyline, hero, and villain from a year long comic crossover simply can’t be shown in two hours on a movie screen.
This hardcover edition collects Civil War (2006) #1-7 and Marvel Spotlight: Mark Millar/Steve McNiven. Included are some spectacular extras, including concept art, variant covers, pencil sketches, interviews with Millar and McNiven, and an 11 page Daily Bugle, Civil War Special Edition newspaper.
Mark Millar did an amazing job telling both sides of the story of two leaders who both have vastly different views on how to solve a common issue. As Doctor Strange so aptly describes the situation, “There is no right or wrong in this debate. It is simply a matter of perspective.”
The artwork is stunning. This edition features Steve McNiven’s strong style throughout the pages, but also on the dust jacket and the cover itself. The battles are epic, involving just about all of the Marvel Universe’s major players.
In the opening sequence, we see that heroes and villains are out of control. As part of a setup for filming a reality show, The New Warriors are taking on Cobalt Man, Coldheart, Nitro, and Speedfreak. We quickly learn these villains are way out of the youngsters’ league. The fight ends with a massive explosion that kills innocent bystanders, including a whole elementary school filled with children. The blowback has ordinary citizens calling for the blood of all super humans, faces and heels, A-list , B-list and C-list.
One of the student victim’s parents appeals to Tony Stark, and he is so guilt ridden that he agrees to help lead the movement for the Registration Act, a bill that would see every human with super abilities registered, trained, employed, and monitored by S.H.I.E.L.D. Captain America, by contrast, believes that superheroes should be able to keep their identities secret, and that being controlled by the government had massive potential for misuse of the almost unlimited combined power of every super human on the planet.
The leaders both gain strong initial support. There are surprise appearances on both sides of the fence, and a few heel turns and face turns. Not a lot of cheap pops to be found in the story. The characters felt genuine and the finish, while it made perfect sense, left me in shock.
Civil War, HC McNiven Cover, new printing, April 6, 2016, Writer: Mark Millar, Artist: Steve McNiven, $31.49 at tfaw.com.
Review by Brendan Allen.