(Disclaimer: There will be spoilers for the 2006 Civil War story and the 2015 Civil War story. Also all story concepts and images are owned by Marvel Comics)
By: Christopher Johnson
Marvel recently announced a new comic event for 2016 called “Civil War II” and with Captain America: Civil War” set to make its debut on the silver screens later this year, I thought I would compare and contrast the two Civil War comics and explain why the third series with the Civil War title is called “Civil War II”.
In my opinion, both Civil War series are the best at what they are. The 2006 series is the best event and the 2015 tie in is the best tie in to the 2015 event “Secret Wars”. We will be comparing three aspects of these series to see which one reigns supreme. Those aspects are:
1. The History/Cause (Which had a more believable beginning and how were they similar.
2. The Conflict (How do the two teams handle each other and how is the Marvel Universe affected in each series. Also what issues and themes are presented in the books.)
3. The End (What Solutions do both teams have to end the war and how does the war end)
The first Civil War series was published by Marvel in 2006 and was written by Mark Miller. As mentioned in a previous post, the dispute was caused by the “Stanford Explosion” that killed over 600 people. Public outcry forced S.H.I.E.L.D to enforce the Superhuman Registration Act (SHRA) and was back by Iron Man. The heroes against the SHRA was led by Captain America.
The second Civil War series was published in 2015 and was written by Charles Soule. This is set in an alternate universe where Civil War did not end but was prolonged by the skrull. The skrull are a group of aliens that can change their shape. The race is led by their queen, Veranke. Towards what would have been the end of normal Civil War, she changed into Black Panther and caused an explosion but before this she made both sides think the other side caused the explosion. This caused a distrust between the two sides and the war lasted 8 years.
The obvious similarity is that both wars began with an explosion but one was caused by teenagers trying to gain fame while the other was caused by an alien race who was trying to dominate the world by weakening the heroes through everlasting war.
A Major difference is the SHRA. Since the 2015 series is a continuation of the 2006 series, the SHRA existed by after 8 years they were njot fighting over it any more. It became more of a oride thing and just not wanting the other side to win.
Overall I think they tie in this aspect. I prefer the SHRA aspect of the first series but I think the way the explosion was handled in the newer series was better.
2. A: The Conflict
Before we discuss the conflicts, we should discuss the main plays are each team.
In the original Civil War, Iron Man’s team had a skrull pretending to be Hank Pym and Reed Richards as the leaders while Captain America’s team was led by Cap with Sue Richards and Falcon in major roles.
The 2015 series had She Hulk as the main leutient for President Stark while Peter Parker (Spider-Falcon) as his right hand in command. (President Stark and General Rogers will be explained in Section 2.C: Compare and Contrast.
The first major conflict in the original Civl War is with Captain America talking to the acting director of S.H.I.E.L.D, Maria Hill. She is telling him that Americans need a superhero to stand with the SHRA but Cap basically tells her that he will not stand with the SHRA and then crashes through the helicarrier hijacks a S.H.I.E.L.D jet and leaves.
The second major conflict occured at an abandoned chemical. This was the first major fight between the two sides. Things are about even until Tony Stark unleashes a clone of Thor that he created along with Reed and “Hank Pym”. This clone is called Ragnarok and kill Bill Foster the “Goliath”. A member of Team Cap, Excluding the finale,
( these are the two biggest conflicts represented in the original Civil War.For more discussion on smaller conflicts represented in “Themes and Issues” please read sectio 2.B: Themes and Issues)
As for conflicts represented in the 2015 series, there is never a point the two sides clash aside from the final battle but the first major conflict is a meeting at a place called “the Divide” where President stark and General Rogers meet a woman called Miriam Sharpe and they try to end the war through reason and understanding until someone from Cap’s side kills Miriam from Iron Man’s side of the United States. This makes the two men argue thus igniting the seeds of hate once again.
The second major conflict is when She Hulk inflitrates “The Blue” and Peter leads a group to inflitrate “The Iron”. She Hulk does this so she can fiqure out why the war is being prolonged and if someone else is behind it all. Peter’s goal is to obtain resourses for “Project Bellcurve” a weapon that disables super powers and could change the tide of the war. The next major things we need to discuss are the themes and issues revolving around the two series.
2.B: Themes and Issues
`In the original “Civil War” the biggest theme is “Idenity” and the freedoms you have in your Idenity. I have written an article about the whole freedom concept. (You can find that link in the very first paragraph). The sense of idenity is represented in Peter Parker’s role in the series. He starts off on team Iron Man but halfway through when he sees Tony Stark trying to play god by creating a Thor, he leaves and joins Captain America’s side.
`As far as issues are concerned there is an interesting part where Tony Stark enlists the help of super villains to capture heroes who refuse to register then Punisher joins Cap’s side because he hates that Tony would want to work with villians. Then later on Punisher kills two villains who retreat to Cap’s lair in order to seek help. Cap immedatly kicks him out saying it was a mistake to even let you join. This presemts the seperation of Cap and Iron Man. Showing that Iron Man is willing to work with villians while Cap won’t even allign himself with someone like the Punisher.`
Honestly, there are not a lot of themes represented in the second series.
As far as iisues go…the best I can think it really drives home the need for the war and that they became so accustomed to the war that they don’t really know why they are fighting but they know they just can’t make up and be friends again.
2.C: Compare and Contrast- Conflicts & Themes.
The biggest thing to compare is the enviroment. The original Civil War takes place in the normal Marvel Universe with no major change. The new series is 8 years later so there are some major differences. The first one is that the United States was divided in half. Tony Stark is President of the west side of the United States called “The Iron: and Steve Rogers is the General of the east side called “The Blue”.
I will say as far as the world is concerned, the original series wins. That is because of the second difference of the world for the new series. This book is a tie in that we will never get any more stories of and three really interesting thing occured in the 8 years tine lapse. The tentacles of Dr. Ock merged with Kingpin and created the monster known as “King Ock”. Also some thing very bad happened to Clint Barton and he become the Venom of this story and finale…Wolverine is the Hulk. We know this because a grey hulk appears, Steve calls him Logan and we see him use his claws. The shows of these three seem so fascinating but we will never know what happened to cause any of this. So, I give the point to 05 Civil War.
As for the Conflicts comparisons/contrasts. Both have a meeting of sorts as the first conflict and both of those are very intense and great writing as you can feel the pressure presented. The second conflict for both series involves a battle and a devastating monsters killls someone. Ragnarok kills Golith while King Ock kills Electra but the first one is better because it shows how Cap’s side was unprepared and was a very intense battle the other was just the two sides inflitrating each other. Kinda boring either. 06 gets the point aswell.
Finally, this will be no suprise but 06 gets a point for themes as the second series really lacks a thought provoking ideal whereas the first series really makes you ponder the freedoms you may or may not have.
3.A The End
In the original Civil War, no matter the intense themes or the thought provoking dialogue the ending was interesting to a certian extent , but no unexpected. Cap’s team went to the Negative Zone prison to fight pro-registration heroes but they were out numbered. When it seems Cap’s team will lose we learn that at some point in the story a member of the NEw Avengers named “Hulkling” (Not the son of Hulk, his name is Skaar. Hulking is a Skrull), impersonated the skrull, pretending to be Hank Pym and released all of the fugitive heroes that S.H.E.I.L.D and Tony had captured and they then had the numbers and everyone fought. Cloak tries to teleport Cap’s team away but the other side followed and they continue the fight outside in the streets of New York. At this point Cap surrenders because he realizes that thier fighting does no one any good at all. The story ends here. Anything after is in a prologue.
The end of the newer series has team Cap postioned marching toward the iron about to wage war and attack the Iron. The situation is a bit different for Tony Stark. He is currently trapped in the Skrull base with his wife (She-Hulk).Tony signals to a suit to fly to him because the one he was wearing was damaged in the battle and Cap tell Hulkverine to use the fastball speical and throw him on top of the Iron’s ship. To prove to Cap that the skrulls are the villians, he kills his third in command (Bucky Barnes) and we learn Bucky was a skrull this whole time ,but when that isn’t enough he has Emma Frost to show Cap what Tony saw while in thier base. It is at that moment Cap realizes that the entire war was a mitake. In short they throw a bomb into the divide and it doesn’t blow up so the two join forces into the divide, activate the bomb and kill all the skrulls but sacrifice their own lives in the process.
3.B Compare and Contrast: The End
There really isn’t too much to compare. There is one giant fight but the difference is in one fight someone surrenders and in the other fight the leaders of the two sides join forces and sacrifice thier lives to save everyone. In my opinion Civil War 2015 wins. It was more exciting than one massive battle that changes location halfway through.
I also want to discuss the last line in each book.
At the end of the original Civil War, Iron Man iis talking to Miriam Sharpe and he says “That’s a Promise” which is fine but the last line in the new Civil War book is so fitting that I had to share it. Peter Parker is talking to She- Hulk about rebuilding and the very last thing he says is “But, I don’t Want to Fight About It.”. I just thought that was fitting since they were at war for 8 years. Just for that I give a second point to Civil War (2015).
Whew, that was one long article, but I say it was worth it. Hopefully you stuck until the end. As you see, I think the original Civil War is the best of the two simply for the themes represented and the thought provoking nature of the book.IF you feel different, please let me know. Both series are great but I felt one was just slightly better. If you liked this style of writing just let me know. Hopefully I will be able to find a way to make these shorter or they all will be spilt into two parts. If you liked this and want to read more then either follow me at “Comic Conversations” on Facebook or @Cjohnson0545 on Twitter.