Comic Book Mondays: Civil War

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I’m a Captain America fangirl. This is a known fact about me. So knowing that, you can imagine how difficult it was for me to jump into Civil War – an event I had very high hopes for, given that it forms the premise of the next Captain America movie – and find that I actively, vigorously disagreed with the stance that Captain America took.

Civil War centres around the political debate regarding whether or not superheroes and mutants – superhumans, let’s call them – should be registered and given mandatory government training in order to be allowed to mingle with the regular-human public in their day-to-day lives. You get the impression that this debate has raged in the Marvel background for a long time before the tragedy that levels a primary school and kicks off Civil War takes place. But here it is – a group of low-level mutants are filming a reality TV show. They enrage some villains, and the fallout levels a primary school and kills dozens. The public, understandably, is furious, and the superhuman registration debate explodes.

In the midst of this, we have the superhumans we know and love. On the one hand, Iron Man, who wrestles with his own responsibility for public safety as a superhero and as an ex-weapons developer. On the other, Captain America, who for all he was developed as a weapon, has an impressive moral compass and respect for civilian life. Tony Stark believes that the safety of the many is more important than the comfort of the few, and is all for registration. Steve Rogers believes that the privacy of superhumans must be respected, and rejects registration out of hand.

Civil War puts the reader in the uncomfortable position of having their favourite duo – Cap and Shellhead – at odds for almost the whole event. Cap fights, and hides underground, gathering a collective of superhumans – both heroes and villains – who also disagree with registration. It’s a weird and uncomfortable feeling, having Cap in the role of Bad Guy, seeing what the science cohort does without Cap standing there saying, “Really, Tony? You think that’s a good idea?”

I read Civil War in about two days, I think. Two big chunks. The art was beautiful, the storyline gave me all the information without slowing down, I got to meet heaps of cool characters (like the Punisher; let me just say OMG); but best of all, I think, was that Civil War gave me an opportunity to really reflect on why Captain America – Steve Rogers, really – is one of my faves, and to understand that just because he is my fave doesn’t mean he’s perfect or that all of his ideas are good.

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