Civil War II: Premise Revealed, Major Death Promised


Civil War II is still a few months away from erupting in comic book form — a good thing, since Marvel’s 2015 event, Secret Wars, still isn’t quite finished yet — but thanks to the New York Daily News, we’ve already got an idea of what the main premise will be and that a major character death will be involved.

We’ll try to feign surprise at that second bit. But the newspaper did turn up some interesting info on the first part, going behind the scenes at Marvel’s most recent semi-annual editorial retreat where talent like Brian Michael Bendis (writer of Civil War II), Dan Slott, James Robinson and even comics newcomer Ta-Nehisi Coates were among the 50 writers and editors gathered to hash out the event’s details.

The entire article is a good read just to learn a little more about the planning process for a story like this, but we can summarize a few of the main takeaways for you.

The premise combines Civil War with Minority Report

This time around, the fracture in the superhero community will be over information and what to do with it. Here’s how Bendis and Marvel Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso described it to the Daily News:

"A mysterious new Marvel character comes to the attention of the world, one who has the power to calculate the outcome of future events with a high degree of accuracy. This predictive power divides the Marvel heroes on how best to capitalize on this aggregated information."

Sounds different enough to make sure it’s not just a rehash of Civil War, though as noted, it has a strong feel of Minority Report. Plus there have been pre-cogs in Marvel Comics before, so this one better be extremely powerful to stand out.

It’s Iron Man vs. Captain Marvel this time, not Captain America

While early teaser images for the series like the one above made it appear it would be Iron Man vs. Captain America again, it’s actually a different Captain heading up one faction in Civil War II. According to the Daily News, it will be “Captain Marvel leading the charge to profile future crimes and attacks before they occur, and Iron Man adopting the position that the punishment cannot come before the crime.”

I feel bad for Sam Wilson being considered not important enough to lead one side, but it also seems he is going to be siding with Iron Man, so that might be part of it.

My first thought here is that it’s strange that Tony Stark would be against using information about the future to prevent an undesirable outcome. Part of his deal is that he’s a futurist, always hoping to be able to see what’s coming and shape it for the better with his own technological genius. Acting on such knowledge doesn’t seem out of character for him.

On the other hand, maybe he really is a changed man since the events of “Time Runs Out” and Secret Wars, and Bendis is writing his regular series, so I’m reserving judgment in this area for now. Other fans are feeling a bit more cynical:

You could also make the argument that having Captain Marvel as a faction leader is a marketing ploy, given Marvel’s desire to position her for her upcoming solo movie and a big role overall in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. I’d say that her position is a more natural growth of her current status, though if there’s a sense that she is taking the “wrong” side in the story, Marvel better watch out for the wrath of the real life Carol Corps!

Spider-Man is (probably) not the major character getting killed off

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The article suggests that Spider-Man was the character initially discussed as the story’s sacrificial lamb before talk turned to the Human Torch and then elsewhere. We fortunately don’t learn who it is or who ends up being the killer, though the Marvel talent seems pretty stoked that they’ve come up with something good in both cases.

We’ve noted before that killing off someone in a major event almost seems rote at this point, but it does occasionally get the mainstream media to sit up and take notice. The original Civil War saw the death of Bill Foster, which only qualified as major in the sense that I forgot he was still a super hero until that story.

Peter Parker has been “dead” in the comics not that long ago, so he doesn’t make much sense as the hero to die — especially with his new movies starting up next year. I’m kind of worried it could be Sam Wilson, and that his passing would lead to Steve Rogers somehow regaining his vitality and reclaiming the Captain America mantle, but I hope I’m wrong.

The story mentions that Captain America: Civil War will hit theaters “a month before” the first issue of Civil War II, meaning we can expect the event to kick off in June. Until then, happy speculating!