I have always been effusive of my love of Charles Soule’s writing and his complex takes on his characters, from Swamp Thing to She-Hulk, and I’ve long been a fan of Leinil Yu’s dazzling art. When this book was announced, I was naturally ecstatic, and eager to pick this up. I couldn’t help thinking, was this title announced specifically for me? Luckily Soule and Yu did not disappoint, and Civil War looks to be the start of a wonderful miniseries.
The opening battle, and impetus for the series, begins at the end of Battleworld’s version of the Marvel crossover event “Civil War.” Naturally a lot of smaller elements form Mark Millar’s 2007 stories reappear here, including Spider-Man’s switched allegiance and the conflict’s inciting incident. What makes this story different from its predecessor is that during a battle at Iron Man’s secret prison, a bomb is unleashed and it inadvertently kills millions and divides the “Civil War” Battleworld region in two, each separately controlled by Captain America and Iron Man. Soule uses the loose concepts of Battleworld to their full extent, creating a world in which this tremendous amount of carnage is possible while constraining to the size of the region.
Soule’s greatest strength as a writer is developing unique voices for his characters which often reveal or hint at complicated backstories. Civil War #1 picks up several years after the secondary explosion, with Captain America and his assistant/bodyguard Spider-Man—now in a very Falcon-like costume—meeting Iron Man and She-Hulk to discuss terms of a truce. Spider-Man holds obvious resentment towards Iron Man, though his anger is somewhat placated by the appearance of his wife and child, Mary Jane and Maybelle, who’ve been separated from Peter since the explosion. Again we see Spider-Man as a father and husband, as in Renew Your Vows, and again his situation is far from ideal.
The majority of this comic concerns a conversation between the two leaders of this Battleworld domain. Captain America’s land, The Blue, is a sort of Lawful Good Wild West, while The Iron encompasses Iron Man’s pro-registration point of view. The discussion of their truce is brought to a halt when a sniper’s bullet, meant for Captain America, assassinates their mediator Miriam Sharpe. Though Iron Man claims no fault, the tensions reach a breaking point and Captain America vows to end the war through any means necessary.
Civil War #1 does an admirable job at setting up the conflict between the two sides of the Civil War, and expands upon ideas originating in Millar’s series and the fallout in the many years since. It seems thematically prescient as well, with the “Captain America: Civil War” film on every Marvel fan’s mind, the very same one that promises the first look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Spider-Man.