Civil War, the comic that split the Marvel universe in two

Since the world of comics entered its adulthood in 1986, its universe was matched with what was happening in the real world, social reality had a great influence on the stories that were told in its pages. On September 11, 2001, with the attack on the Twin Towers, the world changed and was reactivated in the West the recurring debate between freedom and security. This dichotomy carried over into the Marvel universe to give rise to one of the most shocking and transcendental events in its history: the Civil War. A fact whose consequences would drag on for five years and that would affect the innumerable collections of La Casa de las Ideas, creating the most complex crossover ever seen.

the trigger

The starting point of the separation of the superheroes into two sides was the Superhuman Registration Act, by which the heroes should reveal their secret identity to the Government and become part of a force that should answer for their actions before the authorities. It’s an old idea already raised by Walt Simonson in 1989 in The Fantastic Four #335, but that Reed Richards managed to stop in a speech on Capitol Hill. Bendis in 2006 planted the seeds of future conflict in his New Avengers series, with Tony Stark advocating registration at a meeting of The Illuminati (Charles Xavier, Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Namor, Reed Richards and Black Bolt).

The creative process

Even if Mark Millar (author of the groundbreaking The Ultimates) was creatively responsible for the series, The truth is that the argument came from the best minds that Marvel had at the time: Millar himself, Bendis, John Loeb, Joe Quesada, Joss Whedon, CB Cebulski and Tom Brevoort. At first it was Bendis’s idea for his New Avengers, but they immediately saw the potential and decided to extend it to all superheroes. The choice of the two leaders was clear from the beginning, one would be Captain America because of the values ​​he symbolized, while the other would necessarily have to be a character with enough weight to balance the scale and only one fit in that profile: Tony Stark (Iron Man). At first the leader of the pro-registration side was going to be Steve Rogers, but they soon saw that the positions did not fit with the personalities of the characters, so they reversed the roles. Iron Man would go on to hunt down the rebels and Captain America would lead the resistance from underground. Shield was obviously on the official side while the mutants declared themselves neutral. Whedon was the first to point out that history would need a winning side. and that readers should be made to take sides on one side or the other according to their sympathies. While Tom Brevoort, the publisher, was responsible for coordinating all the collections and making the pieces from all the comics fit together as they should.

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For the artistic part they turned to David McNiven, whose work in The New Avengers and Marvel Knight 4 had drawn attention, but who would find his consecration in this series. Despite its known lack of punctuality, an issue of the collection was delayed and this affected the entire Marvel universe, his great mastery has allowed him to remain one of the stars of Marvel. Have a absolute mastery of anatomy and an innate talent for compositions, also highlighting his facility for the design of characters and uniforms. Two years later, the creative couple Millar-McNiven would repeat sales and critical success with another great work: El Viejo Logan (2008).

A was created powerful marketing campaign under the slogan “Which side are you on?” and the saga became a great event from its first issue, with very important sales and receiving excellent reviews and numerous awards.


The story begins with a catastrophe in the city of Stamford (Connecticut) caused by a group of second-rate superheroes during the filming of a reality show. The heavy casualties and damage caused force the Government to make a decision on the heroic community and order them to register. Going to be treated as criminals those who did not agree to the procedure. With this approach, the heroic community is divided into two, the official side is led by Iron Man and has the main support of Reed Richards -who built a prison 42 in the Negative Zone to retain the rebels-, Doc Samson, She- Hulk, Ms Marvel, El Vigía and Wonder Man. While Cap had the support of Luke Cage, Daredevil, Falcon, Cable and Goliath. Spiderman was swimming between two waters and a lot of heroes and villains joined both sides as the story progressed.

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The plot ends in a pitched battle in the middle of New York between the two formations, in it the Captain America defeats Iron Man and is about to kill him. if he had not been stopped by a group of firefighters and paramedics who were trying to mitigate the damage caused by the colossal confrontation. Steve Rogers realizes the devastation produced and decides to surrender. An ending that supposes in principle a victory by force of the rebel side, but a defeat in their arguments.


The waves caused by the Civil War earthquake will shake several leading collections of the Marvel universe for a long time. It spelled the demise of the New Bendis Avengers, Spider-Man’s change of course after revealing his identity (black suit), the incorporation of Tony Stark as director of SHIELD, the creation of a new formation of The Mighty Avengers at the hands of Bendis, the birth of the Initiative (every US state would have its group of heroes) and the murder of captain america when he was to be judged. With the passage of time and the arrival of Norman Osborn at SHIELD, Tony Stark was forced to destroy everything that had to do with the Registration Act (2009) to prevent the secret identity of the superheroes from falling into the hands of the villain.

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The comics of Ms Marvel, Black Panther, X-Men, Fantastic Four, Wolverine, Heroes for Hire, She-Hulk, Thunderbolts, Young Avengers, Runaways, Cable&Deadpool were affected to a greater or lesser extent and had to adapt to the events from the main series. Specials were also created that expanded the story and served to cover up McNiven’s delays: Civil War: Casualities of War, Civil War: War Crimes, Civil War: The Return y Civil War: Choosing sides.

film adaptation

Marvel took this showdown to the ggreat screen of the hand of the Russo brothers in Captain America: Civil War (2016). Its two main antagonists (Captain America and Iron Man) and a similar origin (a massacre of civilians) were kept, but as the film progresses it moves further and further away from the plot presented in the comic and its development and outcome have little to do with what happened in the vignettes. Here Zemo, Winter Soldier and Black Panther take focus, characters who do not have a leading role in Millar’s comic.