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Comic Book / Civil War
aka: Marvel Civil War

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Iron Man's pretty sure this is the right way to handle things. Although, so is Cap.

The 2006–2007 Marvel Crisis Crossover.

The New Warriors, during the filming of a Reality TV program, unthinkingly start a fight with several fugitive supervillains (including Nitro) in the middle of a suburban housing development in Stamford, Connecticut. Nitro quite literally explodes — killing all of the New Warriors (except Speedball) and 612 civilians, including the entire population of an elementary school.

This sparks a flurry of anti-super feelings in civilians. In the wake of House of M (the previous Crisis Crossover) and Secret War, Congress decides they have to act to control all metahumans, and the Superhuman Registration Act (SHRA) is passed. Although different individual comics in the crossover treated the act in slightly different (and occasionally inconsistent) fashionsnote , the most commonly used presentation of the SHRA included these features:


  • Mandatory registration of all superpowered individuals (whether active as superheroes or not)
  • Mandatory registration of all costumed crimefighters (whether superpowered or not)
  • All crime-fighting and lifesaving activity by non-registered superheroes is illegal
  • All registered heroes are to attend — and pass — mandatory government training (waivers were issued by Tony Stark for himself and his pro-registration Avengers comrades)
  • All registered heroes are potentially liable to be called up into active government service, at the discretion of the government, without the option of refusing

Captain America is taken at gunpoint for saying that he plans to refuse to register, though the law has yet to be passed, then forms the Secret Avengers, an underground organization that continues unregistered heroics, and therefore resists the Act. The X-Men declare the whole mess someone else's problem (although they do point out that following House of M, there simply aren't enough mutants in the world to get involved), and Tony "Iron Man" Stark leads a S.H.I.E.L.D. force to help capture all renegade metahumans, hero or villain. The US government, with Stark's concurrence, also puts together a task force of supervillains — the New Thunderbolts — for the purpose of hunting down unregistered metahumans. Some villains like Bullseye and Venom are used for the government-sanctioned hunting down of and crippling of unregistered heroes, with mind implants to prevent misconduct. (Also against all sense, the government hires Deadpool for similar duties.)


The crossover was similar to, but far more extreme than, previous Super Registration Act plots in comics. It is also notable for big changes in the status quo, including The Death of Captain America and the unmasking of Spider-Man (among several other heroes). Despite Joe Quesada (then-editor-in-chief of Marvel) promising that Spidey's unmasking would not be undone via a "magic retcon" (those being his exact words), Spidey's unmasking was retconned as a part of Quesada's wildly unpopular pet storyline One More Day — by literal magic, less than three months later.

Most of the Marvel Universe was involved in this, including The Avengers, the Fantastic Four, the Runaways, and many other heroes. The X-Men were, by and large, uninvolved in the crossover; this is because of the decimation of the mutant population that happened at the end of House of M. However, two of them did join, both of them time travelers — Cable sided with Captain America, and Bishop joined forces with Iron Man. Marvel's cosmic heroes also stayed out of the event as most of them were dealing with the Annihilation event, though Nova was briefly involved afterwards. Another hero notably left out was the Hulk, who was deliberately Put on a Bus in-universe and got caught up in his own Planet Hulk storyline as a result.

An alternate take on the story is one of the realities featured in Secret Wars (2015), as the Warzone, where the fight in Prison 42 was supposed to end when Cloak teleported everyone out at the same time Black Panther triggered the facility's self-destruct mechanism. But the explosion came through Cloak, killing him, a handful of other heroes, and 15 million more people. As a result, the Civil War never ended, and America has been split down the middle for six years: Iron Man built the Iron, a pro-Reg utopic state, while Captain America established the Blue, an anti-Reg territory whose main principle is freedom.

In December 2015, it was announced that Civil War II would take place in Spring 2016, featuring a cosmic focus on the story as opposed to a political one.

In The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes! episode "The Man Who Stole Tomorrow", the Negative Zone prison "42" makes an appearance although only to incarcerate supervillains. Like in the comics, it was designated 42 because it was Tony Stark's and Reed Richards' 42nd idea for improving the world. Later in "Hail HYDRA!", Maria Hill states that she will talk to the President about registering with S.H.I.E.L.D.. Notably unlike the comics, Stark is against the idea of registering, as seen in his conversations with Hill in the episode "Alone Against A.I.M.", citing among other reasons the Good Samaritan principle.

The storyline was going to be going to be adapted in the third season of EMH. But unfortunately, the series was cancelled before it could receive an episode that is an adaptation of the storyline and it became an Aborted Arc.

The event's plot is used as the story in the video game Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2. The Marvel Cinematic Universe had a Pragmatic Adaptation of the event in Captain America: Civil War, downplaying the Crisis Crossover aspect of the story to focus on the conflict between Iron Man and Captain America (although other superheroes are present). Additionally, elements of the crossover were very loosely adapted for the "Avengers Disassemble" storyline in Avengers Assemble, while a more faithful adaptation will appear as the main crux of Season 3.

Civil War provides examples of:

  • Accidental Public Confession: When Wolverine is tracking Nitro, Iron Man interrupts him, and tells him that a SHIELD unit is ready to deal with Nitro, that they only need to know a place and attack... and Wolverine, without thinking before talking, has just slipped Nitro's location.
  • Achilles in His Tent:
    • Namor refuses to take part in the disputes of power of the surface dwellers, but finally helps Captain America in his hour of need. Mainly because Sue Storm asks him.
    • The Sentry has the power of a Flying Brick, but remains unwilling to assist the Pro-Reg side because he's afraid of losing control to the Void.
    • Doctor Strange remains inside his Sanctum Sanctorum, refusing to get involved.
  • Actually a Doombot:
    • Nick Fury's whereabouts were unknown since he went on the run after Secret War. Each time after, it's actually a Life Model Decoy made by S.H.I.E.L.D. (and of course, She-Hulk makes fun of this). There's an interesting twist with Sharon Carter: she has a LMD of Nick Fury at her room, everybody in SHIELD knows it's a LMD, but it's a LMD hacked by the real Nick Fury, who uses it to talk with her.
    • Spider-Woman's focus issue of New Avengers has her approached by Nick. Partway through the conversation she blasts him through the torso, and tells Maria Hill that the real Nick Fury smells like "Havana at low tide". LMDs smell like a tire factory.
  • The Alcatraz: The captured superhumans are imprisoned in 42, a large prison in the Negative Zone. Escape is "futile" since it is in a separate dimension composed of antimatter.
  • Aliens in Cardiff: In the Fantastic Four lead-up, the FF, Dr. Doom and an army of doombots start a war over an object fallen from space in... Oklahoma. The Thing is confused about being woken up to go to Oklahoma, of all places, on purpose. What ever happens there? That object was Mjölnir, and Thor was dead at the time.
  • Allegory
    • Spider-Man is fighting the Titanium Man in Washington DC, but takes pause for a moment to give his respects to the Lincoln Memorial. "Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation or any nation so conceived and so dedicated can long endure. We are met on a great battlefield of that war".
    • After that adventure, Tony Stark voices his own opinion of Honest Abe. "I have always admired Lincoln. When the South began going its own way, he knew that taking a position against them would lead to civil war. But he did it anyway. Because he understood something... understood it more perhaps than anyone else in that time. He knew that a house divided against itself cannot stand... a nation can not be divided and survive. Under his administration, brother hunted down brother, friend turned against friend. It was terrible. It was bloody. It was necessary. Because at the end, the republic held, and the nation was restored"
  • All There in the Manual: The Daredevil who shows up through most of the main series is actually Iron Fist dressed as Daredevil, since Matt was doing his own thing and Danny's covering for him. The main series never mentions this.
  • Ambiguous Situation: Peter Parker and Mary Jane are sleeping. A little eagle statue starts calling Parker to go to Stark's lab. Mary Jane asked: is this thing voice only, or does it have video? Stark said that it was voice only, and added "Nice tan, by the way". Did he guess that Mary Jane was half-naked because he had just woke Peter up and understood that he was sleeping with her, or was Stark a pervert spying on Mary Jane? This being Tony Stark, both are equally plausible.
  • America Won World War II: Captain America doesn't fare well when he tries to invoke this trope. Punisher points out that Hitler was not defeated by Captain America, but by the Russians. Sally Floyd points out that the vast majority of the soldiers of the Wehrmacht were not "evil", but just German patriots that simply followed military orders.
  • And the Adventure Continues: The story does not have an end. It simply leaves the characters in their new places, where they would fight from then on.
  • Anti-Villain: Captain America is a type IV, technically speaking he is the villain.
  • Armed with Canon: Parodied in Amazing Spider-Man #530. Spider-Man thinks in a Thought Caption that things are going to get ugly. More captions follow:
    Editor's note: Some of us at Marvel disagree with this statement, and feel that many of those options are perfectly reasonable.
    Editor's note: Okay, but the rest of us don't feel that way
    Editor's note: Who asked you?
    Editor's note: Look, we have already been through this...
    Editor's note: You are not listening
    Editor's note: Shhhh! Watch it, Quesada's coming down the hall!
  • Armor-Piercing Question
    • Captain America says that he was doing what he thought was right for America. He is asked "Do you know what Myspace is?", followed by similar questions about American pop culture, to claim that Cap was out of touch with what the Americans really think. The questions left him in Stunned Silence.
    • Tony Stark attends the funeral for the victims of Stamford, and Miriam Sharpe blames him for it. He said that he had nothing to do with it. She replied that by financing the Avengers, he encouraged the notion that any guy with powers or super-gadgets should consider themselves above the law. He takes note and becomes the enforcer of the SHRA.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: When Speedball wakes up (after being blown up to another state and losing his powers in the process), he is told the bad news, that, because of his actions, Stamford is now a smoking crater, that all the other New Warriors are dead, that all super-humans must now register to the U.S. government... and that he is under arrest.
  • Artifact Alias: Spider-Man reveals his secret identity in a press conference. Now everybody (heroes, villains, government, regular people, J. Jonah Jameson, etc.) knows that he is Peter Parker. Still, he keeps using the mask and the name "Spider-Man." He even wonders in one moment if there is a point for that anymore.
  • Artistic License – Law: Among other things, as points out, a law is not necessarily enforced as soon as it goes into effect and doesn't necessarily go into effect as soon as it's signed (it can be done that way to an extent but is extremely bad form and likely to get cases thrown out of court). Once the law is passed, it typically goes into effect on a future date, often in stages, to give both the government and the people time to prepare to comply with the law, especially if registration is part of the new law. But S.H.I.E.L.D. has a go at arresting Captain America before it even comes up for a vote.note  Later they end up busting into people's houses' at 12:01 am with registration slips and arrest warrants in hand. In other words, S.H.I.E.L.D. essentially operates as if America is a tyrannical Police State.
    • Lots of heroes (and villains) get arrested, but there's precious little legal process to go along with it. Alleged criminals don't get their Miranda warnings ("You have the right to remain silent" etc.), they don't get to see a lawyer in the Negative Zone, they don't get to post bail, etc... any similarity to Guantanamo Bay is a mere coincidence.
    • Similarly, for an experienced lawyer, She-Hulk's website takedown lawsuit goes off the rails quickly into a trial of the New Warriors. It would have been an open-and-shut case in reality. If speech creates a clear and present danger for anyone, it's illegal. Revealing the identities of superheroes and then reporting on the resulting violence against them clearly passes even this high standard. Testimony about the tragedy itself and somehow getting Iron Man to testify about the upcoming superhero registration act is irrelevant and should not have been allowed.
  • As the Good Book Says...: Before fully engaging into the Civil War crossover, Wolverine takes on the Crusader, who repeats texts from the Bible.
  • The Bad Guys Are Cops: Several villains are forced by the government to capture the rebel heroes. Most of them take pride of the "now I'm the cop and you're the criminal" irony.
  • The Bad Guy Wins: Red Skull had a simple plan: take advantage of Captain America being detained to kill him with a sniper shot and a close shot by Sharon Carter, under mental control. And it worked: Captain America is dead. At least for a while....
  • Bad Liar:
    • Captain America in disguise, luring Sally Floyd into a secret room for an interview. He doesn't know that, in 2007, Coca-Cola was not being distributed in glass bottles anymore. Except it is, and you can buy it at several New York grocery stores.
    • How does Captain America know that Spider-Man has really left Iron Man's side, that he's not a spy? Because Spider-Man is a very bad liar, and he would notice it if he lied to him.
  • Batman Gambit: The trick to trap Hulk in the satellite and shoot him into space was based on the likely reactions of Bruce Banner: that he wouldn't trust the people leading S.H.I.E.L.D., but that he would trust Nick Fury, not knowing that he's been missing since Secret War, and that he would decide that "this is a job for Hulk".
  • Beautiful Condemned Building: Discussed when when Doctor Strange conceals the New Avengers in his own mansion, bespelled to look decrepit and boarded up (to twist the knife a bit more, it even wears a "Coming Soon — A Starbucks" banner).
  • Big Entrance: All the heroes stop their discussion when the Watcher shows up in the Baxter Building.
  • Big "NO!": When Hulk was sent to another distant planet.
  • Bittersweet Ending
    • The government supporters have won, and superheroes must now be registered. However, a number of heroes go clandestine and keep doing things the old way. Also, Captain America is dead.
    • She-Hulk finally solves her problems with changing back and forth between her Jennifer Walters and She-Hulk forms. But after Stamford, being a superhero is no longer as fun it used to be.
  • Bouncer: The disco has a bouncer ready to let Johnny Storm ignore the waiting line and get inside, as usual. He doesn't do much of a good job when the guys get violent and beat Johnny into a coma.
  • Break the Comedian: This trope is what kicks off Civil War: Speedball is the goofy, fun-loving leader of the New Warriors, and agrees to film a reality show about their exploits. The first episode ends in complete horror, as the villain Nitro explodes when the Warriors try to apprehend him (in the process killing the entire team except for Speedball, plus 612 civilians). Following this traumatic event, a trial determined to hold him responsible, an attempt on his life, his own mother disowning him, and anti-superhero sentiment ushering in the Superhuman Registration Act, Speedball loses all traces of his humor and becomes the tortured antihero Penance..
  • Breaking the Fellowship
    • The Fantastic Four verge on this with their own domestic civil war. Reed Richards fully supports the act and is the big brain of it, second to Stark, but the Thing opposes it and leaves the country, Johnny Storm is in the hospital, and Sue is so against it that she leaves Reed, begging that he "fix" things.
    • The Illuminati also disbanded when Civil War was approaching. Iron Man and Reed support the act, while Dr. Strange is against it, and asks to not be called again. Xavier was still missing, Namor considered it a surface world problem, and Black Bolt's disdain was obvious without a translator.
    • There was no specific scene of the New Avengers breaking up, but that team was disbanded by Civil War. Suffice to say that it was a team with Captain America, Iron Man, and others.
  • Breakout Character:
    • This is the first Crisis Crossover (and not a mere Bat Family Crossover) with Iron Man as a main character. The film series and animated series followed in short order. note 
    • She was already around, but since this story Maria Hill became a steady and unavoidable character of the Marvel Universe.
  • Broken Aesop: The storyline featured the superheroes favoring registration fighting the superheroes opposing it. Apparently, the two sides were supposed to be presented evenly but due to the clear Aesops of the last century saying that secret identities are good and government oversight of superheroes is evil, it was hard to sympathize with the Pro-Regs. Especially since Iron Man, the Pro-Reg leader, became a borderline Fascist Nazibot for most of the storyline. The whole thing was basically a titanic Idiot Plot where everyone held the Conflict Ball.
    • The X-Men, bizarrely, stayed neutral for the entire debate surrounding the Super Human Registration Act — even though in their own comics, government registration of mutants was always portrayed as the first step towards state-sponsored internment/genocide of anyone with an X-gene. Is that really something they should suddenly be neutral about?
      • Justifed in-universe by Emma Frost, who pointed out that the X-Men were being asked to do things for the government of America on the grounds of 'humanitarian' reasons and when Stark tried to throw the deaths of the people of Stamford up as a reason they should side with him, her immediate response was "Where were the Avengers when our children were dying?" referring to the total and complete destruction of Genosha. Out-of-universe this is a bit more awkward since this particular incident happened under Grant Morrison and his New X-Men run which very deliberately went out of it's way to keep as many non-X-Men heroes out of the storyline as possible to give it more of it's unique identity, meaning the actual reason the Avengers weren't involved was a case of Writer on Board.
  • Bulletproof Human Shield: Captain America grabs a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, and uses him as a shield to escape. No harm is actually done to the agent, as they were firing tranquilizers (S.H.I.E.L.D. wanted to stop him, not kill him).
  • Bullying a Dragon: A guy in a mob recognizes Jennifer, grabs her, and claims "I have She-Hulk, the lawyer of the New Warriors". All she has to do was turn into her She-Hulk form. The guy admits that he Didn't Think This Through.
  • Burn the Witch!: After the explosion, people are so angry with the New Warriors that they burn them in effigies.
  • The Bus Came Back: Debra Whitman, an old flame of Peter Parker's from years back, returns when he unmasks, having written a tell-all book about Peter.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: After revealing his identity, all the enemies of Spider-Man who have ever been began to attack him. And one of them...
    Spider-Man: And you are...?
    Villain: Don't you remember me, Peter?
    Spider-Man: I'm sorry, do I know you?
    Villain: I am... Will o' the Wisp? We have fought... a pair of times?
    Spider-Man: Oh, yes. And remind me, which were your powers...?
    Villain: Are we really having this conversation? You really don't remember me, Peter?
  • Calling Your Attacks: The Thing points out that the Human Torch does this, by yelling "Flame on!" each time he is about to attack, and suggests trying "FLAME OFF!" when he does the reverse.
  • Cape Busters: S.H.I.E.L.D. creates a new unit to capture heroes that refuse to register in defiance of the SHRA. In an amazing display of subtlety, they are named the "Cape Killers."
  • Cardboard Prison: In the Illuminati one-shot María Hill refers to a discussion she had with an agent, who pointed out that Spider-Man has his hands on Norman Osborn three times a year, but never does what "needs to be done". Spider-Man simply webs him up, Osborn is taken to prison, he escapes and goes on to kill more people. The agent asked, how many times does it have to happen until it becomes Spider-Man's fault?
  • Cassandra Truth: Now that Debra Whitman knows that Peter Parker is Spider-Man, she wants to know how he became Spider-Man. What? A radioactive spider? An animal totem? This isn't a moment for jokes, Parker!
  • The Cavalry:
    • For the final battle. First, Captain America's side use their mole to open the cells, and have the prisoners on their side. Then, Namor and his army provides further support. But Stark replied with a counter-cavalry, the new heroes of the 50 states initiative and the mechanical Thor.
    • Luke Cage, attacked as soon as the Act came into force, is rescued by Captain America, Daredevil (well, Iron First dressed as Daredevil) and the Falcon.
  • Cavalry Betrayal: Sort of. Wonder Man finds an Atlantean terrorist cell, and calls S.H.I.E.L.D. for reinforcements. And the reinforcement is... the Green Goblin, who begins to kill all the blue guys with his bombs. Wonder Man asks S.H.I.E.L.D., What the Hell, Hero?, what kind of cavalry is that? They tell him that the Green Goblin is not the cavalry,they're still ten minutes away.
  • Chekhov's Gun: What is that CD with the number "42" in it? Sorry, classified information.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: A relative of Goliath, who wants to avenge him, and wants the secret of the Pym particle. Black Panther treated him as a Naïve Newcomer, but he got a higher role in World War Hulk.
  • The Chessmaster: Hammerhead organizes a meeting of all supervillains, to be their new leader, replacing the Kingpin. The Kingpin manages to have his plans thwarted... despite the minor inconvenience of being in prison at the time.
  • Civil War: The superhero community, split over whether or not to support the registration act, starts fighting eachother.
  • Clark Kenting: The heroes in the resistance must stay hidden, and use new secret identities. But the Human Torch is a celebrity (in-universe), so how can he hide his face? With a pair of glasses? Reed Richards tells him: that won't work.
  • Cliffhanger: Issue 3 ends with the return of Thor. Or is it? In issue 4 it is revealed that it isn't the real Thor, but a robotic clone created by Richards and Stark.
  • C-List Fodder: Goliath, Plunderer, Goldbug and the New Warriors in the main series. Typeface in Front Lines.
  • Clothes Make the Superman: Speedfreek has no powers without his suit, so Speedball attacked him before he had time to put it on.
  • Clueless Aesop: Mark Millar says that we're supposed to side with the Pro-reg side... even though the Pro-regs are depicted as a bunch of borderline fascists who mind-control or threaten heroes and villains into working for them and casually toss people into the Negative Zone for refusing to register. Some tie-in writers depicted the anti-regs as borderline terrorists who were putting everyone at risk while others portrayed them as being the heroes standing against a Well-Intentioned Extremist tyranny. The biggest agreed upon complaint with this event was that it couldn't seem to decide which side it was rooting for.
  • Les Collaborateurs: Iron Man's group.
  • Comic Book Death: One tie-in ends with the villain Underworld killing an incapacitated Hammerhead. He got better.
  • Composite Character: Captain America in "What If Civil War #1". In a "What If?" where Tony Stark died before Civil War, Captain America donned an Iron Man suit with the red, blue and white colors. He did not call himself "Iron Patriot", but it was the same idea (and written before).
  • Conflict Ball: Was there any real reason for them to be fighting like that? Just one act people don't agree with, and they are at each others' throats? Even small wars do not work that way. There had to have been some underlying tension that the act finally set off (like many political hot button issues).
    • Granted, there is some discussion about how "tensions have been rising" for awhile, but it still doesn't make sense that so much violence happened so quickly.
  • Continuity Nod: Before the last battle, Iron Man reveals that he has a mole within Captain America's ranks. Steve responds that he was already aware of that. Iron Man doesn't understand how the secret got out. It didn't: the traitor was discovered by Black Panther, in his comic book.
  • Continuity Snarl: Beyond the creative differences between writers, there were some minor contradictions between the main series and the tie-in comics:
    • When Iron Man gives a tour guide to Spider-Man of the prison in the Negative Zone (Amazing Spider-Man), he says that prisoners will stay there for all their lives, unless they signed. When Spider-Man wants to leave the Pro-registration side and join the resistance (main crossover comic), Iron Man says that the prison was only a temporary measure.
    • In the first issue, Reed Richards supports Stark's projects because he made studies that confirmed that superhuman activity would lead to even greater disasters. In the FF comic book, he talks instead about an old uncle who had conflicts with the law. The contradiction was fixed in a later FF comic book (or planned all along), when it's revealed that the alleged uncle was a lie, that he supported Stark because of his studies.
    • When Spider-Man joined the resistance, he took off the spider-armor (as Stark may manipulate him with it) and retrieved his classic suit. However, when he appeared in the Frontline comic book helping Ben Urich to hack into Stark's finances, he was still using the armor.
  • Covers Always Lie: Fantastic Four #537: Dr. Doom lifting Thor's hammer, over the defeated bodies of the Fantastic Four. Only a tiny and limited number of "worthy" heroes have been capable to lift it. Nobody should be surprised to find out that Dr. Doom is not among them.
  • Crazy-Prepared: That Tony Stark had safeguards in the Iron Spider Armor in case Peter ever turned on him is not that surprising. Especially not to Peter, who found them, and programmed in countermeasures.
  • Cryptically Unhelpful Answer: The press surround Stark after a senate comitee, and ask about the rumors of a registration act. "The Committee and I had a good meeting, and we discussed some options that, as far as I know, are still just that: options".
    • Tony actually educates Peter in this trope during their visit to Capitol Hill, asking Peter if he knows what time it is. When Peter tells Tony the time, Tony says that's the wrong answer, and the correct answer to "Do you know what time it is?" is "Yes." Only if pressed for more information should you give it.
  • Curse Cut Short: Hammerhead is having a secret meeting with all supervillains, to announce himself as their new leader. Iron Man and S.H.I.E.L.D. storm into their meeting, but he was expecting to find Captain America's secret base in there (the Kingpin had intentionally provided them false information). Both of them were equally surprised to see the other.
  • Damsel in Distress: The Invisible Woman rejects the Act, even comparing it to Nazi Germany. When Richards' arguments failed, he tries to invoke the trope: he's doing all this to protect her. She breaks the whole building to point out that she doesn't need "protection", she's the poster girl of Took a Level in Badass.
  • Darker and Edgier: The story begins with a fun and colorful battle of the New Warriors against a set of C-class villains, with jokes, "take that" and all the usual stuff. Then Nitro blows up, taking the whole Stamford with him, and things get increasingly darker.
    • Formerly Fun Personified Speedball gets new, pain-based powers, takes up an outfit lined with spikes on the inside (one for each person who died in the explosion) and dubs himself Penance.
  • Death by Adaptation: Speedball dies alongside the rest of the New Warriors in the novelization. The entire first chapter is spent building up the character so that his demise has more impact on the reader.
  • Defector from Decadence: Ronin.
  • Defiant Stone Throw: Miriam Sharpe spits on Tony Stark during the funeral of her son, blaming him for the whole thing.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: A member of Alpha Flight, Canada's major superhero team, comments that this conflict looks ridiculous over their border: all superheroes in Canada have to be registered with Department H, a branch of the Canadian military which provides training and legal support of their activities among other perks, and no one has a particular problem with that practice there.
  • Depending on the Writer: The viability of the SHRA and the actions of either side. Sometimes the pro-Reg just want accountability, while at other times they are holding American citizens in a concentration camp without trial after intentionally setting mass-murdering supervillains on them. Sometimes the anti-Reg side are terrorists, other times freedom fighters.
  • Developing Doomed Characters: The Thing #1 has a guest appearance of Bill Foster, Goliath, a long forgotten character. You all know what happened to him a short time later...
  • Didn't Think This Through: During the arc, Jennifer Walters is outed as She-Hulk by a New Warriors hate site. On the way into her office through an angry mob to help some former New Warriors keep their identities hidden from the public, one of the mob recognizes her, grabs her by the arm and rips her shirt, proudly exclaiming "I've got She-Hulk!" Jen shifts and hoists the guy up by his lapels.
    She-Hulk: Alright, you've got She-Hulk! Now what?!
    Angry Citizen: I... uh... guess I didn't think this through...
  • Disco Dan: Justice and Rage have a meeting with She-Hulk, and they have the bright idea of going around in their New Warriors suits, that they are so proud of. Hey, they were Avengers trained by Captain America! Yes, sure, add the most wanted fugitive into the mix. Please get indoors before people start a riot...
  • Disproportionate Retribution: Issue 2 begins with a SHIELD unit blowing up a building to arrest Patriot for... stopping a mugging.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • The first time the moment when Speedball gets shot in Civil War: Front Line is shown the panel is practically identical to the famous picture of Jack Ruby shooting Lee Harvey Oswald. Right down to the expression of pain on Speedball's face and the shooter's clothing.
    • The angry mother was Cindy Sheehan who protested the second Iraq war and became famous for doing so after her son was lost. Though in Sheehan's case, she was already politically active before her son deployed.
    • The New Avengers tie-in which was a spotlight on Luke Cage. He compares the Registration to the Jim Crow Laws, and decides to ship his family off to Canada to escape these laws. Not very subtle.
  • Dueling Messiahs: Regarding the Super Registration Act, anyway. Iron Man takes the "Lawful" side of the conflict while Cap takes the "Good" side.
  • Engineered Public Confession: Tony Stark attends a Senate hearing, where he tries to delay the SHRA bill. The Titanium Man shows up on a rampage, fights with Spider-Man (who was also there), and boasts how the SHRA will eradicate all superheroes and leave the U.S. defenseless. His words are recorded, and shown to the Senate as an argument. Unknown to all of them, Stark had paid him to show up and do that (but he didn't instruct the Titanium Man to say that, those are his own words, and he is convinced of them, with or without payment).
  • Escaped from Hell: Dr. Doom was trapped in a Hell-like dimension, but took advantage of a rip of time and space caused by Ragnarok and Mjölnir to escape from it.
  • Et Tu, Brute?: All the U.S. hates the New Warriors. Anyone can be the webmaster of the hate site. But it was Carlton Lafroyge, Hindsight, former member of the team.
  • Everything Is Racist: Luke Cage compares the Pro-Registrators rounding up those who haven't registered to the Jim Crow Laws.
  • Evil Costume Switch: On the covers, and a few of the supers who switched sides.
  • Eyedscreen: After exiling Hulk, and the big reaction of Namor, Iron Man summons the Illuminati again, when the Act was being discussed. Will Namor come? Yep. His big eye make it clear: he is here.
  • Face Fault: Not a common sight in superhero comics, but in this case it was largely justified. Spider-Man is on live television, just about to take off his mask. J.J. Jameson, the highest hater of Spider-Man in the universe, is dying to finally see his face after all those decades. "My name is Peter Parker, and I have been Spider-Man since I was 15" (if anyone needs to remember the obvious, he has also been Jameson's employee most of this time). How else could have Jonah reacted?
  • The Faceless: Norman Osborn, the Green Goblin, is held prisoner, but someone has allowed him to leave prison and deceive the tracking nanobots to seem as if he was still in prison. The man who helped him was Tony Stark.
    • The "What if...?" issues were introduced by a faceless manifestation of The Watcher.
  • False Flag Operation: In Prelude to Civil War, Iron Man hires his old enemy the Titanium Man to make an attempt on his life in order to provide a cause for not passing the registration act (America's enemies would take advantage of the division and wipe them all out).
  • Fantasy Conflict Counterpart: The events of 9/11 did happen in the Marvel Universe as well, but the comics that dealt with it always focused on The Real Heroes. Nitro blowing up Stamford was the Fantasy Conflict Counterpart of the 9/11 and everything that took place after it, as well as the "How would it have impacted in the superhero community?" angle, which would be completely out of place if done with the real event.
  • For Want of a Nail: The What if.. comic books work on the premise that some detail was slightly different.
    • The first story is based on the premise that Iron Man died in the Extremis story, before the whole Civil War started. Captain America convinces all the heroes (even Reed and Hank) to stand against the SHRA, enforced by Peter Gyrich, Jim Rhodes and Maria Hill. Instead of a single clone of Thor, Gyrich creates an army of those robots. He defeated the heroes, and was elected president.
    • The second story is based on the premise that, during the ambush, Iron Man was honest with Captain America, and requested his help. Cap kept the machine to disrupt Iron Man's armor in his pocket, and began to talk. Some Leeroy Jenkins agent released the Thor cyborg anyway, and both teams team-up to defeat it. After it, Captain America and Iron talked about the crisis, and arranged a compromise: there would be a SHRA, but it wouldn't be managed by the government, but by Captain America himself.
    • The third story is based on the premise that in Civil War's sister event Annihilation Drax fails to free Galactus, leading to the deaths of himself, Galactus, and the Silver Surfer therefore preventing the pivotal turn in the Annihilation War which gave Nova the opening to kill Annihilus. Civil War's climax battle is interrupted by Nova fending off several of Annihilus' scouts who landed in New York right in the middle of the big battle. The Civil War is halted immediately, as well as the Inhumans's Silent War, and the heroes organize the defenses against Annihilus. The Watcher aids the heroes, who win, but with a huge cost: the moon was destroyed. Captain America, Iron Man and Nova died together, in the final resistance against the horde.
    • The last of these is perhaps the truest use of this trope, since there is a single throwaway line of dialogue in Annihilation #5 that it's implied Drax failed to heed.
  • French Jerk: Inverted. Ben spends most of the event in Paris, where he meets a team of eccentric Justice League pastiches.
  • Friendly Enemy: All superheroes (and specially Captain America and Iron Man) may be going at each other's throats, but they have been friends and allies for decades. The tension was best seen in the "War Crimes" tie-in, in which Captain America and Iron Man meet alone in the abandoned Avengers mansion to try to settle their differences in a civilized manner (of course, they can't). The comic addresses several events in their past history, and how their conflicting views (Captain America as the traditionalist and idealist, and Iron Man as the visionary and pragmatist) get in the way of their friendship.
  • From Bad to Worse: A band of terrorists try to attack Midtown High School, where Peter Parker is working as a science teacher before revealing his identity. But the resistance (that Parker had already joined) is protecting it, and Wolverine attacks the terrorists. All except one, who knows how will things end if he fights against Wolverine, and runs... only to be stopped by the Punisher. Except it's all actually Pete pretending to be them, to scare away anyone thinking of attacking the school.
  • Fully Absorbed Finale: The first line-up of the New Avengers (Iron Man, Captain America, Luke Cage, Spider-Man, Wolverine, etc) had no break up scene in their comic book, and we last saw all them toguether and happy during the marriage of Luke Cage and Jessica Jones. From then on, the comic book was based on individual stories of the former members of that team coping with the civil war.
  • Get Out!: Spider-Man fights the Titanium Man in Washington DC and forces him to escape. He thinks that he had to say something important, so he closes his fist and shouts "And don't come back!"
  • Godwin's Law: Take a drink every time someone compares the registration act to Nazi Germany, the USSR, China, the Roman Empire, or any other oppressive/totalitarian regime you can think of and you could potentially be wasted after a single issue of any given tie-in.
  • Grey-and-Gray Morality: Both the sides are portrayed with flaws and having a point.
  • Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee: Tony Stark is taken to one of those before the Civil War starts, to explain his perspective on the issue.
  • Heel Realization: Initially, Tony Stark simply denied any relation with the New Warriors. The reaction of Miriam Sharpe, a woman who lost her son in the explosion, made him take a more proactive role to enforce the registration act.
    • Peter himself has one when he sees 42 with his own eyes, and Tony tells him what he intends to do with it. It, along with Thor's clone, Ragnarok drive him to turn on Tony and join the anti-registration side.
  • Hero Antagonist: Both sides in the war are heroes, and have their own reasons to think that the most heroic thing to do is to support/oppose the act and fight the other side.
  • Heroic BSoD: Robbie/Speedball was deeply traumatized by the Stamford explosion and the deaths of over 600 people, including the rest of his team. Combined with being mis-blamed for what happened, imprisoned and nearly killed led him to become Penance after recovering his powers. It would take years both in universe and real life for him to recover... more or less...
  • He Who Must Not Be Seen: Nick Fury
  • Hidden Disdain Reveal: A few lines here and there make it seem half the Avengers have always secretly hated the other half. The Falcon telling Captain America that "Tony Stark is a sellout and always has been" is a good example.
  • Hollywood Hacking: Spider-Man hacking into Tony Stark's private financial operations.
  • I Cannot Self-Terminate: When the Illuminati discuss the fate of the Hulk, Dr. Strange points out that Banner would have already committed suicide if he could (and, in fact, tried. He was interrupted by soldiers bursting just as he started).
  • I Choose to Stay: Luke Cage sends his wife and baby to Canada, to keep them safe, but he stays. He will not allow the Man to drive him away from his home.
  • Idiot Ball:
    • Iron Man and Captain America first and worst, but they were far from the only ones.
    • In the first issue, Maria Hill attempts to arrest Captain America under the registration act, the problem being that the act hadn't actually been voted on in the US Congress yet, much less ratified by the President into official American law. Even worse, Cap never stated that he was personally going to disobey the law, only that he had no intentions of aiding in actively enforcing it, making her reasoning seem even more ridiculously flimsy, and only resulting in triggering Cap's rebellion in favor of the anti-registration side, when he would probably otherwise just have settled for quietly resigning from active duty. And the idiocy only grows from there.
    • Also notably, Spider-Man. Yes, Spider-Man. Reveal your secret identity to the public. It's not like last time one of your enemies had it, you underwent a tragedy that took you years to cope with, cost an innocent life, and you still angst about to this day. And of course, history repeats itself, this time with Aunt May. Leading to one of the few stories in Marvel canon that receives the same level of hatred Civil War gets.
    • Living up to the trope named after him, Mr. Fantastic was the sole human on Earth who was informed about Annihilus' genocide of all life in the universe that was going on at the same time. First from the Super Skrull, a hated enemy who literally had to beg Richards to let him use the Negative Zone portal after giving a firsthand account of Annihilus' genocide. Later Nova sent multiple distress signals to Reed, warning him that Annihilus was days away from reaching Earth. Reed told no one about either of these warnings. What If? Annihilation shows just how costly that would have been.
    • C'mon, Captain America. You let the Punisher join you and then recruit a pair of supervillains the next day. What did you think Castle was gonna do?
  • Incestuous Casting: In-universe. All the members of the resistance have fake identities. For the Invisible Woman and the Human Torch, the only thing that Nick Fury could get was the identities of a married couple. Yes, they also squicked.
  • I Need a Freaking Drink: As former alcoholics, Sally Floyd and Tony Stark each had some of those moments when put under great tension. At one point, the only thing that stops Stark from taking a drink is the intervention of the Invisible Woman (who has shown up to harangue him, since they're on opposite sides).
  • I Warned You
    • With the footage of the fight, Sharon Carter reminded Maria Hill that she warned her that Captain America would not accept her proposal to lead the registration act. But no, Hill thought that she knew Cap better than his old lover did...
    • One of the New Warriors heard the profile of the villains and pointed that they are out of their league, that they shouldn't go in. Speedball ignores him. However, that guy never gets the chance to point it out, as he dies in the explosion.
    • Captain America warned Hill that the SHRA would divide the super heroes and start a civil war. She openly ignored him. "Weapons down, or I will not be responsible for what comes next..."
    • A short time after the Kree-Skrull War, Iron Man proposed the creation of a massive group with all superheroes, to control each other and share information. His proposal was rejected, and he accepted to create The Illuminati as a compromise. When the Registration Act bill was proposed, Namor snarkily asks if he's about to say that if they'd just listened to him, this would all have been avoided. Tony's answer? "Yes."
    Tony Stark: A hero, probably a young one... one of the Young Avengers, or those kids in Los Angeles... Some carefree, happy-go-lucky, well-meaning young person, with the best of intentions, will do something wrong. He'll be trying to save someone—do something heroic—but he'll make a mistake. Turn to the left instead of the right—and people will be hurt or killed because of it. And it'll happen on live TV, or it'll be recorded... and, like Rodney King, it'll play over and over and over... All over the world. Until... the unrest that is already bubbling will boil over... and every politician looking to make a name for himself will run right on TV and they'll tell America how they are going to save the world from these out-of-control costumed characters who think the law doesn't apply to them. And half of us will go along with it and half of us won't. And because of this mini-rebellion, our lawmakers will be forced to make an example of someone. Someone like our friend Spider-Man. Someone they can make a real spectacle of. Someone they can unmask on TV, destroy his marriage and family and pin a crime or two on! All for the whole world to see. And the country will rupture. Sides will be taken and people will get hurt. Friend against friend. People who used to be adversaries finding themselves teamed up against a common cause. Friends dying at the hands of a former ally or teammate. That is what will happen.
  • Intellectually Supported Tyranny: Pro-reg 'Futurist' Reed Richards.
  • Ironic Echo: Hold him down! Hold him down!
  • Issue Drift: Ye gods. One second we have a pseudo-X-Men recycle. The next we have the biggest writers' Flame War about the Bush Administration since Family Guy's uncancellation.
  • It Always Rains at Funerals: Both during the funeral of Goliath, and the funeral of the cameraman that was filming the New Warriors' reality show (shown in Civil War: Frontline)
  • Jerkass Has a Point:
    • In this case, it's so big that it's the story ending: Captain America realizes that Iron Man had a point all along, and stops fighting.
    • Maria Hill attempts to arrest Captain America for voicing disapproval of the registration act, before it has even been put into law. Iron Man didn't agree with Cap, but finally admits that Maria was definitely in the wrong for trying to arrest him preemptively and takes her to task for doing so.
  • Jumping Off the Slippery Slope: Both sides showed signs of this during the course of the series.
  • Just Following Orders:
    • Reed Richards says that the Act is the law, and it must be obeyed simply because of that, end of discussion. The Invisible Woman pointed him that he's now Just Following Orders.
    • Lampshaded by Reed himself, who's seen at one point singing to himself "Werhner von Braun" by Tom Lehrer.
      Reed: Once the rockets are up, who cares where they come down. That's not my department, says Werhner von Braun.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Failed attempts by Executive Meddling to grant Iron Man Karma Houdini for his crimes during this storyline — instead of admitting how wrong (or at least over-the-top) he was — have only resulted in Flanderization and ruining an originally strong character.
    • Tony and Reed are never arrested or receive any punishment for cloning Thor, resulting in the death of Bill Foster (unless you count Tony's well deserved beatdown at the hands of the real Thor).
  • Kick the Dog: One FF tie-in issue has Ms. Marvel trying to arrest Silverclaw, who is a legal minor, and judging by her confused reaction has no idea what's going on (since she's asking Carol why the woman's trying to arrest her).
  • Killed Off for Real: There were many claims that 'these characters (Cap, the New Warriors, etc) are dead forever', but in the long run this trope was subverted. Only Microbe, Goliath, and Goldbug remain dead.
  • Killer Robot: Clor / Ragnarok, Tony's robo-Thor clone. It wasn't meant to be, but maybe having Hank Pym help program it was a mistake, even if Hank hadn't been replaced by a Skrull at the time. End result: Goliath gets a massive lightning blast through the chest, and then it tries to outright kill the others.
  • Lack of Empathy: Iron Man tells the Illuminati that innocent people are dying because of the Hulk. Reed Richards replies that "innocent people die every day".
  • Lawful Stupid: The slightly nicer depictions of SHIELD and the pro-red side fall on "the law must always be obeyed", such as sending an agent to force people to sign up who were either not superheroes or already immune from the law anyway (or not American citizens to begin with).
  • Leave Him to Me!: Iron Man said this about Captain America, at the end of the first issue.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: Who cares if those villains are way more powerful than the New Warriors? Speedball does not need a plan! Let's just storm into their house, in superhero style, and give a good show! What Could Possibly Go Wrong?
  • Lesser of Two Evils: Iron Man admits that he was being a bit of a jerk, but that one of the reasons he was doing all this was because the government had even worse plans: instead of making superheroes join the army, they would fill the sky with Sentinels and outlaw all superhumans. Because that worked so well in the past...
  • A Lighter Shade of Gray: Though some writers and editors intended to invoke Both Sides Have a Point, the attempt failed due to the amount of power and authority the Pro-Reg side had at their fingertips. For all the flaws of the Anti-Reg side, they didn't build a gulag in the Negative Zone, make a berserk clone of a dead friend, or try to arrest people who were doing absolutely nothing. Those actions gave the Pro-Reg side the unfortunate image of a totalitarian police state.
  • Living Lie Detector: The Black Panther checks the members of the resistance one by one, and found the traitor within them: Tigra.
  • Lost Aesop:
    • The comments of Sally Floyd to Captain America. Her references to NASCAR, MySpace, YouTube, etc; merely illustrate that he was out of touch with the peoples' real interests. Meaning: during the times a guerrilla organization wages a civil war over some important issue, only a very small fraction of the population agrees with it. Most of the people want, first and foremost, to have a normal life (iconized by NASCAR, MySpace, YouTube, etc) with no guerrillas around, even if they agree with the guerrilla's claim on the level of the ideas. But the Aesop was completely lost on most of the readers, as the real United States has not endured a real civil war for over a century (and certainly not a civil war like the Spanish one).
    • Fans sympathetic to Captain America's side have pointed out that in the hands of a better writer, Captain America could have pointed out that a 'resistance group' that has spent most of the last decade repeatedly saving the nation, the earth and/or the galaxy could reasonably be expected to have an informed opinion about the Slippery Slope, even if they don't have an informed opinion about Nascar or MySpace.
  • Magic Pants: Averted. Wolverine tracks Nitro, who explodes badly enough to shred Wolverine. Wolverine's healing factor restores him, but not his clothes: he has to fight naked. With Censor Shadows all around, but he was still fully naked.
  • Male Gaze:
    • This shot of Ms Marvel.
    • A panel from the series proper features a similarly generous view of She-Hulk's bottom.
  • Meaningful Rename: Speedball —> Penance.
  • Miranda Rights
    • The new Miranda Rights for a superhuman caught in illegal unregistered super-hero duty was apparently to warn him that he is making an illegal use of super powers, and that he has 10 seconds or so to surrender. Of course, most of them don't do that.
    • Sally Floyd, accused of hiding the whereabouts of Captain America, receives the standard Miranda Rights when taken prisoner. But as there's no evidence against her, she's released.
  • Mission Control: The control room of the MRVL television station, recording the New Warriors reality show.
  • The Mole: Both sides had a mole inside the other side: Tigra was with Cap but supported Iron Man, and Pym was replaced by Hulkling.
    • Besides the Civil War itself, Sally Floyd and Ben Urich investigated Norman Osborn, who was somehow released from prison. And, to make it more strange, the nanobots in his blood had been manipulated to make it seem as if he was still in prison; something that could only be done by a superhero of the conclave that led the registration process. Sally Floyd had a mole among them, Ms. Marvel, who told her that it was Tony Stark.
  • Mood Whiplash: Captain America and Iron Man have a secret meeting, at the destroyed Avengers mansion, to attempt to solve things by talking. Trying to start with a positive angle, he mentioned the first time that they had fought, in the silver age. The scene has an appropriate "Everybody Laughs" Ending... and then they get dark and serious, and go on to talk about the current issues.
  • Moral Guardians
    Pilot: Jeezus!
    Captain America: Keep flying, son... and watch that potty mouth!
  • Moral Myopia: Iron Man said that Hulk can not control himself, and should be exiled from the planet. Namor pointed Stark's problem with alcohol, and asked if he should be blasted into the sun as well.
  • The Most Wanted: When the govenment stated that metahumans should be registered or else being rogue and chased by the justice, Captain America decides to stand against what he considers a violation to superhuman laws and becomes the most wanted, overcoming almost all S.H.I.E.L.D. and escaping, later becoming the leader of the superheroes that are against the law.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg
    Peter Parker: (to Tony Stark) Now that I have had time to play with the rest of the team, I know that you can depend on every single one of them.
    Mary Jane: Except Logan
    Peter Parker: Well, yeah, except Logan. There's not one of them who wouldn't put his or her life in the line for you.
    Mary Jane: Except Logan
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Iron Man's reaction to the outcome of the alternate scenarios presented to him in the "What If" special. Spider-Man also goes through this after witnessing just what he's been helping Iron Man do with all those pesky heroes... Also Captain America's reaction when he realises that they're destroying the public trust and endangering the public with every internecine brawl.
  • Naïve Newcomer: Everybody treats the Young Avengers as such. Reed Richards, Captain America, the Winter Soldier... even Deadpool.
    Deadpool: ...and the ripe, nubile Young Avengers! And I'm especially discomfited to admit that Wiccan and Hulkling are looking especially nubile!
  • Newscaster Cameo: She-Hulk discusses the options of banning or registering superheroes in a CNN program hosted by "Larry", who looks suspiciusly similar to Larry King.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • The New Warriors storming into the villain's house and causing the destruction of Stamford is almost a poster example of the trope.
    • Spider-Man is aware that there is popular support for Iron Man and the act, that only superheroes are against it (which is the whole point of the story). So, when he turned against Iron Man, he showed up at a TV news that was airing live, and revealed Stark's big secret: that there is a prison for superhumans in the Negative Zone, and that they send the villains and unregistered heroes to it. The result? Stark became even more popular.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: The X-Men show up to help after the explosion in Stamford. They are not happy to find out that the Sentinels will follow them even then.
  • Noisy Guns: When Captain America refuses to be the main enforcer of the SHRA, Hill said that she thought that suer villains were men in masks that refused to obey the law. All the other agents nearby make "chik-chak" with their guns, getting ready to fire if so ordered.
  • Non-Fatal Explosions: Speedball survives the explosion. He's blasted to another state, and nearly dies, but survives. And, of course, Nitro survives his own explosions.
  • Not Helping Your Case
    • Stark is Hauled Before a Senate Subcommittee, and attends it with Peter Parker. When he's unable to reply to their points, Mr. Parker tries to defend super hero activities, but instead he gives them further arguments to reinforce their points.
    • Justice and Rage need She-Hulk's lawyer help, to cope with the hostilities against the New Warriors. But they attend the meeting wearing their loathed suits, and people insult them on sight. They reply that they were Avengers once, trained by Captain America himself! Yes, the same Captain America that started a guerrilla warfare to stand against the law. She-Hulk asked them to get indoors before they made things even worse.
  • Not So Stoic: When he escaped from Hell, Dr. Doom felt the power of the dying Asgardians, and thought that he would be able to lift Thor's hammer. Of course, he wasn't. Then, he says three words he does not say very often: "I was wrong".
  • Nothing Is the Same Anymore: This was supposed to be one of the aims of 'Civil War' — to shake the Marvel Universe into a pattern that puts law vs. liberty above the classic pattern of good vs. evil. After a few follow-up events, the universe is almost back to its original pattern.
  • Nothing Personal: Defied by Underworld, one of Hammerhead's henchmen. after he betrays him. He goes around killing people for him, and always clarifies this. In the end, he turns against him, mocks on the concept, and reminds Hammerhead that he had killed his brother. Nothing Personal? Of course not. All murders are personal.
  • Not in This for Your Revolution:
    • Punisher. He's on Cap's side simply because Iron Man is employing supervillains. But he's not selective: if villains try to join Cap's side, he'll kill them as well.
    • The Radioactive Man is Chinese, he does not care either way about the politics in the United States. In fact, he had wanted to return home several months before. He helps the Thunderbolts, and by extension the Pro-Registration side, simply because the Chinese government requested him to do so.
    • The Heroes for Hire want to stay neutral in the whole conflict, and stay in good terms with both Iron Man and Captain America... except Paladin, who has no problem betraying his other teammates to get to the bounty.
  • Not-So-Omniscient Council of Bickering: The Illuminati, as it turns out: they split evenly rather than unify on the pro- or anti-registration side. Foreseen by Black Panther, who refused membership in the group because he saw this coming.
    Black Panther: You just decided all by yourselves that you are the Earth's protectors. And that you, and only you, not your teammates or family, are trustworthy enough to include in the process... What happens when you disagree? When one of these Earth-changing moments finds you all at odds with each other, here in a secret meeting?
  • Novelization: Released in 2012, and written by Stuart Moore. It's also set in the alternate timeline created by Spider-Man's "One More Day" storyline, as it describes how Peter missed out on arriving at his own wedding to Mary Jane Watson, and has other alterations (including how the only one of the X-Men to arrive at Stamford is Wolverine, due to his also being an Avenger; the rest of the team does not show up like they did in the original comics).
  • Number Two: Spider-Man starts off as this for the Pro-Registration side, even being the first hero to officially register live on television. He eventually defects though when he disagrees with Iron Man's methods.
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: In the final fight, as seen in the Black Panther comic book, Storm took a few rounds against the fake Thor. She took him down several times, and each time he gets up for more. Then Hercules saluted her and the Invisible Woman. "Excuse me, beautiful ladies, I will continue from here". From that point on, Ororo and Susan simply watch Hercules destroying the robot (offscreen).
  • Oh, Crap!: Oh, no! Coldheart has heard the New Warriors discussion! They've lost the element of surprise!
  • Old Shame:invoked Hindsight Lad now hates the New Warriors, and hates having ever been involved with people like them.
  • Omniscient Morality License:
    • Tony Stark and Reed Richards claim this, due to their status as "futurists". Whether or not people call them on this depends on the writer.
    • On the anti-reg side, Cable, who takes the opportunity to give the President a lecture on how the Fifty States Initiative will only lead to tyranny while Deadpool is using the White House toilet.
    • In a meta-example, many readers would have seen Captain America as in the right no matter what he did mostly because his name is Captain America.
      • Captain America has consistently been one of the two main moral compasses of the Marvel Universe (the other being Spider-Man). While they both have been shown to be wrong on occasion, neither has historically slipped too far from the straight and narrow. They took both these people and put them on the same, anti-registration side.
    • Averted with Doctor Strange, who took himself completely out of the conflict other than to side with the Anti-Registration group on principle. When questioned by Uatu the Watcher, he claimed it wasn't his responsibility to decide which role superpowered humanity chose, and all he could do was pray for the outcome that would be best for everyone.
  • Outside Man, Inside Man: Captain America was Outside, Iron Man was Inside.
  • Plothole: Norman Osborn is held prisoner, and for the Thunderbolts program he has nanobots in his blood that allow S.H.I.E.L.D. to control him and track his activities. But someone messed with the nanobots, and he sneaked into a diplomatic conference with an Atlantean ambassador and shot him. But the police interrogating him want to know: nanobots or not, how did he got into a diplomatic conference with a phony ID card? How is it that the security cameras did not notice him before? And how did he got inside with a gun? All that he replied was "I can not reply" (clearly having been brainwashed into not exposing his controller), and then S.H.I.E.L.D. came to take him, leaving the questions completely unanswered. The mastermind behind him, Tony Stark, would have been able to hack the cameras, but the rest is still odd.
  • Point of No Return: Capturing Prodigy, the first superhuman detained to enforce the Registration Act, is the "crossing of the Rubicon" for Iron Man... in a very explicit way. The comic book shows two stories for the price of one: on one side, Iron Man fights against Prodigy and starts the Civil War, and on the other side, the Roman Julius Caesar crossed the Rubicon, fully aware that by doing so he would start a civil war. Alea Iacta Est: The die has been cast!
  • Prescience by Analysis: Reed Richards, from the Fantastic Four, supports Iron Man: his math proves that lack of oversight would lead to several world-destroying disasters. This is explored even further in the Fantastic Four's own comic, where Richards and the Mad Thinker compare notes. The Mad Thinker grants that Richards' equations are far more advanced than those he could come up with, but, as he had done himself in the past, Richards committed the grave mistake of ignoring the "human factor". By being so focused on his equations, he ignored the Invisible Woman's viewpoint, who then left him to join Cap's resistance.
  • Profanity Police: Captain America makes a Super Window Jump out of the hellicarrier. He lands over a nearby soldier in a flying unit, who gets scared by this sudden event. "Keep flying, son, and watch that potty mouth!"
  • Properly Paranoid: Peter Parker thanks Stark for the new suit, but he told Mary Jane that he is sure that there is some hidden purpose behind it. Yes, there is. Take it, a copy of the Super Human Registration Act bill. Be sure to share your thoughts about it.
  • Proscenium Reveal: Wonder Man fights against a Z-class villain ("C-class" is too much, it's just a harmless small guy in a mice costume), the police orders him to show his superhero ID, and then the director stops filming: Wonder Man was filming an advertisment.
  • Put on a Bus: Nova had to leave Earth to report to Xandar, and so was not present in the Stamford incident.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: How Iron Man feels after the conclusion, as he admits to Cap's corpse. On his first speech to S.H.I.E.L.D. after being made head of the organisation, he even compares himself to Pyrrhus. Somehow, this doesn't go over well with the troops.
  • Read the Fine Print: Wonder Man is a registered super hero. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. gave him a stealth mission, to follow an Atlantean guy and see what he's up to. Simon says that he never signed to be an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.. Poor misinformed soul: as they tell him, that is precisely what he signed for!
  • The Real Heroes: Pops up right at the end. Ironically, it's because of them that Cap surrenders, and we all know what happened later...
  • Reality Is Unrealistic: She-Hulk witnesses first-hand a mob showing their hate for the New Warriors. It's worse than crowds which had been literally zapped by hate-rays.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Good work Namorita, you have just slammed a living atomic bomb to a school bus, and ordered him to surrender. Hey, wait, why are his eyes red now...?
  • Remember When You Blew Up a Sun?: As pointed by the TV channel, it may be hard to believe, but Speedfreek, that loser the New Warriors easily defeated, once almost took down the Hulk.
  • Remix Comic: The fan parody I Don't Need Your Civil War.
  • La Résistance: Captain America's group.
  • Revisiting the Roots: In-universe. The Thing doesn't want to take sides, and leaves the United States, moving to France. Once in Paris, a local superhero team request his help for a grave crisis. So what now? A secret government agency that turns against its people? A multinational conspiracy? A war between superheroes? No, it's the "empereur le monde souterrain", a French expy of the Mole Man, who threatens to destroy Paris with his underground rocky creatures. Like in Ye Goode Olde Days of Black-and-White Morality of The Silver Age of Comic Books.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: Subverted. The Human Torch though that he could go in the disco despite the waiting line, as usual, simply because of his fame. The crowd turns violent, and puts him in the hospital.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!:
    • Ben Grimm decided this was a load of crap he didn't feel like dealing with due to the lack of care over civilians, so he skipped town and spent his time in France.
    • Ben Urich resigned from the Daily Bugle, as he discovered something so heavy that the Bugle would never be able to publish it.
    • Stature, Nighthawk and Cable all quit the resistance after the fight with Clor.
  • Shipper on Deck: Despite of all of his problems, Captain America has time to advise John Jameson to propose to She-Hulk now, and don't wait for the end of the war.
  • Shout-Out: Reed Richards admits to having basically invented psychohistory, but needs someone to check his figures. He asks recurring villain Mad Thinker for help, as he's an evil super-mathematician who likes to use Xanatos Gambits. The Thinker is bowled over by the scope of Reed's calculations.
  • Sir Swears-a-Lot: Sally Floyd. It's part of her charm.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Kingpin wants to help Tony Stark win the civil war, and cited the story of Lucky Luciano as a precedent of the U.S. government accepting help from the mafia. During his exposition, he pointed that it is debated why Luciano helped: some say it was because of patriotism, and others are more skeptical. Nice story. Now Fisk, why would you help Stark? He says that, for the moment, it would be because of patriotism. And Stark replied that, for the moment, he's more skeptical. Tony knows that means he will mention the price at a later point.
  • Something We Forgot: With all the political controversy, nobody had the time to check a little detail: capture Nitro and make him pay. Nobody, except Wolverine.
  • Sore Loser: Iron Man proposed to the Illuminati to exile Hulk off planet. All of them agree, except Namor. Namor attacks them, refusing to accept it (well, that and Tony telling him his authority doesn't mean a thing on the surface).
    Namor: Banner will come back from whence you send him and he will kill you all! And he will be right!
  • Spiritual Successor:
    • Siege is thought of as Civil War without the moral ambiguity, with Norman Osborn and supervillains taking the place of Iron Man and other Pro-Reg characters.
    • The X-Family Crossover Schism is also compared to Civil War for being a morally grey conflict, this one seeing more success in making each viewpoint defensible (with their home under attack and only junior members around to defend it, Cyclops wants to make a stand, which the kids are willing to do even though they know not everyone will survive; while Wolverine doesn't like them getting mixed up in this and wants to retreat).
  • "Stop the Hero" Twist: The miniseries ends with a group of ordinary people restraining Captain America during his fight with Iron Man, because their fight was smack in the middle of New York City, and causing untold damage. At the time, Iron Man was the figurehead of a movement to make superheroes accountable for actions like this, so those civilians attacked Cap because they saw him as being part of the problem. Cap himself is remorseful for his actions and surrenders.
  • Superman Stays Out of Gotham: Turned on its head when the X-Men Lampshade how anti-mutant sentiment was never on the radar of the heavy hitters in the superhero community (comparing the Stamford disaster to the Genosha massacre which no superheroes helped with) and declare they're staying out of the whole mess. Likely due to the X-Books' constant theme of mutant registration being the first step to anti-mutant genocide not jiving with the "Pro-Reg is right" message.
    • The Sentry is formally part of the registration side, but it was described at the Avengers issue that he could win the war all by himself, and so refuses to take an active part in it.
    • Doctor Strange is anti-registration and is a heavier hitter than anyone actually involved, but believes that it's not his place to decide this for the superhero community. Iron Man doesn't push the issue with him for obvious reasons.
  • Super Registration Act: The central conflict of the event is the U.S. government passing a Superhuman Registration Act (with conflicting content) and the superhero community being split down the middle over which side they support.
  • Super Window Jump: Captain America, escaping from S.H.I.E.L.D. And he jumped from the hellicarrier, which is flying in the sky. And without any flying heroes around. He simply had the luck that one of S.H.I.E.L.D.'s planes was flying by that place at that moment.
    • Subverted, then double subverted by Spider-Man when he turns traitor on Tony. Peter attempts to leap out the window, but only cracks the reinforced S.H.I.E.L.D. glass. However, he succeeds the second time when some S.H.I.E.L.D. agents open fire on him.
  • Surprisingly Realistic Outcome: Peter Parker is talked into unmasking himself on live international TV. The first thing he finds on getting off the airplane back in New York State? A lawyer telling him that ol' J.J. is suing his ass off.
  • Surveillance as the Plot Demands: Mysterio is at his secret base, watching Spider-Man as he reveals his identity, begins his Evil Gloating about his plans to destroy him... and, in turn, the original Mysterio is watching his undesired Legacy Character.
    Mysterio II: The original Mysterio was all tricks and special effects, but you fight against Francis Klum now, and my teleportation powers will prove to be more than...
    Mysterio I: Blah, Blah, Blah. He loves the sounds of his own voice. Fortunately, I have a volume control. Spider-Man will be lucky if this jerk does not kill him with boredom.
  • Switching P.O.V.: After the big fight where Goliath died, several heroes were captured, and had to be transported across the street in a military convoy. The resistance tried to liberate to prisoners. This incident (unmentioned in the main story) was seen at the Fantastic Four and Spider-Man comic books, in each case from the point of view of The Thing and Spider-Man.
  • Symbol Swearing: Speedfreek's opinion when the New Warriors interrupted his X-Box routine.
  • Technobabble: The Radioactive Man is listening to Tony Stark and Reed Richards lost in their technobabble about the "42" prison. At one point, he mentions that he was a bit satisfied that the U.S. was following in China's footsteps. When they reject the idea, he points out something:
    Captain America. You want to capture and imprison Captain America. Say those words aloud, weigh their meaning, and tell me again that I'm exaggerating.
  • That Man Is Dead: "Robbie Baldwin is dead. Speedball is dead. It's time for Penance."
  • The Meddling Kids Are Useless: Civil War included a crossover between the Runaways and the Young Avengers. The Runaways simply mind their own business, and the Young Avengers fail to recruit them. Their little adventure has no actual effect over the civil war itself. However, averted with the main series. Hulking proves essential to freeing the inmates of the 42 Prison. (And their actions do have an impact on Secret Invasion).
  • There Was a Door: Inverted by Spider-Man. Sally Floyd doesn't understand how Spider-Man got in her house; her window is closed. He used the front door.
  • Throwing the Distraction: Dr. Doom sent an army of doombots to attack a lab in Oklahoma. Reed Richards noted that they were not following any strategy, that it must be a distraction.
  • To Be Lawful or Good: Almost everyone in the superhero community is caught into this ethical dilemma, but the two characters who take most of the cake are Captain America and Iron Man. (However, the Xmen and Doctor Strange Take a Third Option and stay out of the conflict.) The pro-registration side believes that their way is lawful and good, but of course the other side disagrees.
  • To Catch Heroes, Hire Villains: They empowered the Thunderbolts to go after heroes who refused registration. Including Bullseye, whose personal body count is probably well in excess of those killed in the Stanford explosion. To their credit, the pro-registration side does attempt to keep the Thunderbolts on a tight leash.
  • Too Dumb to Live: The New Warriors ignore all strategy or precautions, and simply rush to the attack against the villains. Stamford is blown up as a result.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: Iron Man.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: Giant Man is sure that, after Stamford, people is going to come after them that way. Ad they did, and their victim was the Human Torch.
  • Troll: She-Hulk dealt with the web site, a hate site that outed the identities of all the New Warriors. The site even had a dead pool going on!
  • Two Lines, No Waiting: The story takes place on Earth while the Annihilation arc takes place in outer space at the same time.
  • Underestimating Badassery: While Goliath's death at the hands of Clone Thor is denounced by everyone in-universe and out, it should be noted that untill the tragedy happened everyone thought it was the real deal pulling a He's Back!. Goliath's last words were boasting to clone Thor that his comeback was going to be short, i.e., he was going swiftly taken down. Anyone with even thebetter remote knowledge of comics would know that size-shifters like Goliath are on the very bottom rungs of super weights while a Physical God like Thor is at the very top. Goliath was basically asking for an ass kicking.
  • Ungrateful Bastard: Marvel civilians, to a man. One disaster is enough to make them turn on super-heroes entirely.
  • Vagueness Is Coming: "I gotta tell you, the rumblings I'm hearing on Capitol Hill... they are looking for things to blame on you guys".
  • Viewers Are Geniuses: In-Universe. When Tony Stark was reluctant to accept the help from Kingpin, a crime boss, Kingpin reminded him about the negtiations between the US government and Lucky Luciano during WWII. If you don't know who is that man, don't worry, the Kingpin explains all you need to know to understand the plot. But Stark is not so fortunate. He asked Kingpin what he wants in return for his help, and he tells him: grab a history book, read the whole story of Lucky Luciano (and not just the compressed comic book overview), and you will have the answer for your question. Which is what he had to do: he left, and continued the conversation another day, after reading the whole story.Lucky Luciano was pardoned and released from prison, in exchange for his help.
  • Villain of Another Story: Annihilus and Lucifer. One's an alien man-bug leading an armada of spaceships toward Earth with intent to wipe out all life in the Universe, the other is the Fallen Angel himself recently escaped from Hell and causing mischief with an army of resurrected dead. What's Marvel's main superhero plot line in the midst of these two threats? Paperwork over the death of six hundred people. Annihilus and Lucifer only get passing mentions in the "main" books.
  • Villainous Valour: Dr. Doom was trapped in hell, with his armor working with minimal power. And a legion of demonic creatures coming to eat him.
    Dr. Doom: It matter not. Even cornered, to my last breath I remain who and what I am. I will not hide, nor tremble, nor beg. Let them come and reckon with fury that is doom defiant. Here I stand, hell horde! Unbowed! But understand: if it is my destiny that I shall perish this day, I shall not go down easily... and I shall not go down alone.
  • Villains Out Shopping: Cobalt Man, Coldheart, Speedfreek and Nitro weren't doing anything evil when the New Warriors attacked them: Coldheart was emptying the trash, and the others were playing with their X-Box. They were escapees from a mass prison breakout.
  • Wacky Marriage Proposal: She-Hulk and the New Warriors are attacking the webmaster of a hate site, but the neighbours turn into a mob, ready to defend the guy from those dammed super heroes. The riot is interrupted by the landing of a S.H.I.E.L.D. ship. No, nobody came to detain them: it's John Jameson, who wants to know asap if She-Hulk would marry him.
  • Wall of Text: When Tony Stark first gives Spider-Man a copy of the Act bill, Spider-Man refuses to read it: it's heavier than a Harry Potter book. Stark corrects him: the actual bill is just the first thirty pages. The rest is comments and amendments by senators trying to include their own agendas with it.
  • What the Hell, Hero?
    • Twice in the above mentioned Civil War: Frontline. The intrepid reporters Ben Urich and Sally Floyd go to interview Captain America and Ms. Floyd proceeds to chastise him for his reckless superheroics. Then they pay a visit to Tony Stark and reveal that they have discovered that he turned Norman Osborn into a Manchurian Agent, and made him attack an Atlantean ambassador in order to create tensions between Atlantis and the United States, so that the US government would be compelled to grant military contracts to Stark, which would boost his corporation's stock value, and the profits from which he could use to fund the Avengers Initiative program. This revelation lead to Tony Stark's hilarious reaction.
    • In What If: Annihilation, Nova does this to everyone on both sides for arguing and fighting each other over a law and their identities when all life in the galaxy was on the brink of extinction.
  • Why Did You Make Me Hit You?

    Secret Wars version 
  • Action Politician: Each time you see Iron Man and Captain America head to superhero brawls, remember that in this story they are heads of state.
  • Composite Character: Spider-Man has the wings of Falcon.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: In-Universe, Iron Man makes a timeline of the war. He points out that there were many key moments that should have been an end of the war, but instead kept it going on. Some of those events (such as the neutrality of the X-Men, or the death of Black Goliath) are actually plausible, but many others (such as the big explosion at the Baxter Building, and the death of Miriam Sharpe) seem so weird and unexpected that it has to be the result of someone manipulating them to keep the war going on.
  • Divided States of America: The U.S. has been split into two countries: The Iron, led by Iron Man, with a strong focus on security, an The Blue, focused on freedom.
  • The Dragon: Spider-Man for Captain America, the Winter Soldier and She-Hulk for Iron Man.
  • Egopolis: Iron Man's nation is called "The Iron".
  • Failure Is the Only Option: The premise of this alternate version is that the civil war never ended. And the present-day action of the first issue starts with... peace negotiations? No surprise, things got screwed.
  • Narrator All Along: The first part of the first issue (Civil War as it first took place, and the point of divergence) is narrated by Miriam Sharpe.
  • Stealth Sequel: There is no advertisment about this, but the story also serves as an alternate take on Secret Invasion
  • Take a Third Option: America is divided in two countries, divided by a chasm, and all the Americans had to decide in which country would they live. Miriam Sharpe preferred instead to live in a house built over a bridge that crosses the chasm.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Iron Man is furious with Captain America when he thinks he ordered Black Panther to destroy Prison 42 by activating its self-destruct. Black Panther was actually a Skrull at the time, and it was just one event the Skrulls manipulated to keep the war going.


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