Civil War is over. After ten months, multiple delays, countless tie-ins, plot twists, and online fanboy whimpering, the most popular crossover in comicdom over the past several years has come to its conclusion. Was it satisfying? Did it live up to the enormous amounts of hype behind it? Will it really change anything in the Marvel Universe? Maybe, probably not, and most definitely. Let’s talk about it. If you haven’t read it yet, I’m going to be fast and loose with spoilers, so be warned.
First off, from a sales standpoint, Civil War has been nothing short of a gigantic success. Even if people only bought the issues to cry about how poorly they characterize Captain America, Iron Man, and Spider-Man, they’ve still flown off the shelves. Last month, Marvel owned the top five slots in the sales charts, with three of them coming from Civil War and its tie-ins. Civil War #6 held the top spot, selling more than twice as many issues as Civil War: The Return, which took slot number two. Make no mistake: I hated The Return. People have started getting into comic books again because of this series. It’s gotten tons of main-stream media coverage, and, more importantly, it’s gotten comic nerds everywhere talking. This series and nearly everything with a Civil War logo on its cover, has profited a great deal for Marvel Comics. But, there’s much more to the success of a series than sales figures, so let’s ask ourselves the real question here: Was Civil War good?
Yeah, it was.
The war ends in issue seven after Captain America sees the damage that’s being caused to New York because of this superhero infighting, and he realizes that he’s lost sight of what’s important; that is, protecting the innocent. He drops his shield and surrenders. I’ve given this ending a great deal of thought. At first, I was somewhat peeved, as I thought it was a move that didn’t line up with Captain America’s character. I figured that if Cap’s going to fight for a cause, he’s never going to give up. Before throwing a punch, he’s thought everything through to a point where he’s absolutely certain that what he’s about to fight for is entirely just and right. It’s just the way the dude is: He’s Captain America. So, how could this have happened? How could he have been wrong? I mean, the other side is guilty of murder, and they’ve been using known supervillains to help in their cause. They’re wrong, right? Wrong. Both sides are equally justified in what they’re trying to do; Iron Man just took it further than Captain America and the anti-registration group thought they’d go. Things got out of hand, and it took a strong man to say, “Enough of this fighting. Let’s just be heroes again.”
That’s really the only part of this entire series that Marvel had to knock out of the park. They had to make us believe that Captain America would surrender. My biggest complaint about this series is that they hit a homerun here, but it didn’t leave the stadium. They could’ve given that moment another page, and it would’ve been justified. Instead, it was rushed. Maybe just barely, but it was. And that’s why we’re seeing such outrageous levels of fanboy hatred spewing forth on the Internets right now. The powers to be gave every geek with a Captain America t-shirt just enough room to spew out from their cheeseburger filled mouths, “Hey, waitaminute, I know Cap better than these guys, and Cap wouldn’t do that! BLARG!” It’s really unfortunate, because if everybody would just give this a day or two to sink in, they’d realize it’s quite a touching moment, and it’s really the only satisfying conclusion that could end the war without completely throwing away the idea of registration and acting as if nothing happened. Something did happen, and its effects are going to be felt for a long time.
Think about it. Every state will have a registered superhero team to defend it. Captain America’s in jail. Iron Man’s got a long road ahead of him to regain the respect of the superhero community. Spider-Man’s unmasked. Goliath’s dead. The Fantastic Four is splintered. The Punisher’s got Cap’s mask. Every superhero’s secret identity is fully known to S.H.I.E.L.D, and, more importantly, its new director, Tony Stark.
DC advertised that Infinite Crisis would change everything. Civil War actually has.