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YMMV / Civil War

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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: All over the place. One humorous one is that Captain America isn't shamed into silence by Sally Floyd's interview but simply too stunned by how stupid she's sounding to respond.
    • Here’s one for Iron Man and Mr Fantastic from before the Civil War even started: Iron Man has stated multiple times that they knew the War would happen before anyone else did. Now, before the war began, they, along with the rest of the Illuminati(minus Namor) also decided to send the Hulk away on another planet because they deemed Hulk to be too dangerous. However, what if Tony and Reed had another reason? What if their real reason for sending Hulk away was because they knew that Hulk would be more likely to side with Captain American than with them and because they knew that whoever had Hulk on their side(again, most likely Steve) would have a huge advantage over the other side?
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  • Anvilicious: Made worse by the argument that the comic can't even seem to decide what its Aesop even is.
  • Bizarro Episode: In one of the crossover comic books, Howard the Duck tries to register. Not because he supports the law, but simply because he's too poor and cowardly to be running away from Iron Man and simply wants to avoid trouble. But he got into the wrong waiting line and wound up renewing his driver's license instead. When he found the actual place for registering, he was rejected—S.H.I.E.L.D. is so tired of receiving reports about "the duck man from Cleveland" (the duck man driving a taxi, the duck man insulting hot dog stands, the duck man painting graffiti in bus stops, etc), that they made it an official policy that he does not exist, and all the reports are dismissed. He yelled that they can not turn him into an Un-person just like that. Then the officer tells him they can because he's a duck... Which he instantly takes advantage of when he leaves the registration office because now, as an Un-person, he is no longer legally required to vote or sit on a jury (or pay parking tickets).
  • Broken Base: The debate over Registration can rage quite strongly among fans.
    • Then there's the story itself. A compelling modern classic, or an awkward Idiot Plot? A third option appears to be that it's just "eh".
    • This debate seems to have crossed over into the film adaptation as well.
  • "Common Knowledge":
    • A common misunderstanding of Civil War is that registering may mean revealing the secret identity to all the public and becoming vulnerable to attacks from super villains. In fact, they were only legally required to reveal their identities to the government, not the public. Spider-Man took things a step forward as a gesture of support to Stark.
    • Civil War is often cited in the media, and other Marvel comics, as why Steve died in Captain America #25. However, he was assassinated by the Red Skull's henchmen in a scheme unrelated to the conflict. The only connection was that Cap's arrest at the end of Civil War put him in the location of his death.
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  • Critical Dissonance: Many fans do not like Civil War, and at the time critics were heavily split on it. On the other hand, the event did sell extremely well, and is one of the highest selling comics of all time.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: Like two other crisis crossovers that would later follow, this story focuses on superheroes fighting each others rather than supervillains. It's pointed out inside the story by Doctor Strange that nobody really is right or wrong in this, meaning it can be hard to decide who to root for. And finally, it ends on a rather dark note, with Captain America being arrested and assassinated while anti-registration superheroes still are operating against the law, giving you the impression nothing really was accomplished. You could be excused to stop caring in these conditions.
  • Designated Hero: Marvel's official stance at the time was that Tony was the good guy. Though, the extent that this applied depended on the writers, who all had their own ideas and evidently no intercommunication. Which character was presented as being "right" is subject to change depending on what particular comic you were reading.
    • At the same time, as much as the official stance was that Cap was wrong, the books themselves were constantly implying that Steve was right and Iron Man was acting fascistic.
  • Designated Villain: Marvel's official stance at the time was that Cap was in the wrong.
  • Dork Age: Some felt Marvel would be better off disavowing this story and undoing the big changes made by it. It finally happened after Dark Reign, and which led to the abolishment of the Registration Act.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Hercules. The popularity he gained from him beating the clone of Thor with his own hammer got him his own series.
  • Fetish Retardant: Maria Hill looked like some sort of nightmare for her whole behavior during this saga. Is it even certain to fans now whether she can be trusted?
  • Franchise Original Sin: Civil War is usually seen as when Marvel began to go overboard with the Hero Vs Hero events.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: The opening event of the story is a disaster in suburban Stamford, Connecticut that involves the destruction of, among other things, an elementary school, serving as the tipping point for a national debate over superhero registration. Six years later, an elementary school in another Connecticut town, just one hour away from Stamford, was the site of one of the deadliest killing sprees in history, acting (together with another massacre five months earlier at a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado) as the tipping point for a national debate over gun control.
    • When Spider-Man confronts Iron Man about the clone of Thor killing Goliath, a black superhero, Iron Man defends it by saying the the clone was acting how any police officer would in that situation. With the rise evidence of cases of police brutality and the civil rights group Black Lives Matter, harsh doesn't even begin to describe it.
      • While we're at it, the argument used multiple times in the event, that superheroes should be held accountable just like the police, becomes this due how the abovementioned cases of police brutality and rise of groups like BLM exposed how little accountability cops actually have to face.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • The one big player on the pro-Reg side who turned out to be a Skrull is knocked out and impersonated by the half-Skrull, half-Kree Hulkling during the climax.
    • In Marvel Knights: Spider-Man #2, Spider-Man is told by Tony Stark the benefits of unmasking. When Spidey tries to refute, Cap backs up Tony's assertions. What makes this even funnier is that the issue is written by Mark Millar!
    • On the flip side of that is The Other storyline, which ran across all of the Spider-Man titles the previous year – After Spider-Man's supposed death, the New Avengers (led by Captain American & Iron Man, no less) decide that they can't reveal Peter Parker is Spider-Man and have to create a cover-up for his death, because revealing his identity would result in Aunt May & Mary Jane being targeted by every lowlife with a grudge against Spider-Man. And that's exactly what happens after Spider-Man unmasks.
    • There is also this.
    • Sally Floyd's supposedly Armor-Piercing Question "What is MySpace?" would be just as baffling to most people in the U.S. today.
  • Idiot Plot: One of the What Ifs? averted this by having the situation resolved relatively peacefully. With a compromise between the two sides.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • During the initial promotion for the crossover, Marvel released a pair of message board signature images reading either "I'm with Captain America" or "I'm with Iron Man". Within days, fans were creating their own versions by the dozens, and similar images are still being created for both Marvel and DC's Crisis Crossovers as well as things that have nothing to do with comics. There was also the Third Option: "You're all fucked when the Hulk gets back."
    • "THOU ART NO THOR!" said by Hercules while he was fighting an evil Thor clone that Reed and Tony cooked up and turned loose.
  • Moral Event Horizon:
    • For the pro-registration side, it was the disaster of Stamford. Even if not personally involved, they do all this registration to prevent such a thing from happening again. Or at least minimize the chances for that.
    • Staying with the pro-reg side, there's sending Robbie Baldwin, a scrawny, powerless, mentally traumatised young man to a maximum security prison because they need someone to blame for Stamford, and because he wouldn't sign the act.
    • Still with the pro-regers, there's dumping anyone who breaks the law in the Negative Zone, which can cause feelings of suicidal despondency, without trial or chance of parole, ever. And when called on it, Tony just snarls that they have no rights.
    • For Captain America, it was the moment when he saw that the whole fight was destroying the city.
    • Spider-Man began having doubts about his side when Stark proudly showed him his Negative Zone prison, before outright switching sides after Tony Stark, Reed Richards and Hank Pym CLONE A GOD.
    • Related to said god-cloning: After it manages to blow a hole through one of their associates, no-one on the pro-reg side sees any real problem with keeping it around.
    • To Captain America, the Punisher crosses it when he just straight up murders Goldbug and Plunderer after their attempted Heel–Face Turn just because they were once criminals.
  • Never Live It Down: Tony Stark had to make a lot of effort to rectify his mistakes, since no one in canon or out of it let him forget what he did. While Cap forgave him for it, including getting murdered, Tony when recovering from brain damage is horrified at what he did and enabled.
  • Nightmare Fuel: Just think about the fact that Hulkling was vivisected and his organs were rearranging themselves.
  • Obvious Judas: Did anyone really believe the Punisher would follow Cap's Thou Shalt Not Kill philosophy for long?
    • In "What If Civil War 1", Iron Man died during the Extremis arc, and Captain America led all the heroes against the Registration act. The law was enforced by Gyrich, Hill, Jim Rhodes, and their armies of Sentinels and mechanical Thors. Jim Rhodes negotiated an agreement with Captain America, but a traitor standing in the shadows told it to Gyrich, and they were both killed. Who was the traitor? Come on... as if you didn't see it coming.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The crossover generated a big upswing in interest in Hercules (kicking off what would turn out to be a few very good years for him), in a series of moments that amount to about six pages.
  • Ron the Death Eater: Happens unfortunately often. Both sides would get it in the books supporting the other, but Iron Man got it particularly bad.
    5 Superheroes Rendered Ridiculous By Gritty Reboots: Stark's political arc hit a fever pitch in the Marvel crossover event Civil War, which involved a new law that required superheroes to register themselves, including their secret identities, or face the consequences. Iron Man, not content with the level of dickishness inherent to being born into wealth, decided to head up the task force charged with apprehending superheroes who refused to reveal their secret identities—willingly. He chased down his former friends and tried to arrest them on the grounds that they were bad for America even if the guy he was arresting was, for example, Captain America. But he didn't do it alone, he created and hired The Thunderbolts, a group that was exclusively made up of supervillains that lived in a hollowed out mountain with their own personal army. And since that wasn't nearly insane enough, he made Norman Osborn (the Green Goblin) their overseer. It went about as well as you would expect.
    It gets worse. Once Tony and his army of hired supervillains rounded the heroes up, guess where he put them. Prison? No. Protection? Nope. He permanently interred them in an extra-dimensional concentration camp in "The Negative Zone," a dimension of infinite evil revolving around the Giant Vortex of Doom. No trial, no bail, no chance of ever leaving, which makes Iron Man sort of like Hitler, but in a giant metal suit.
    And this comic was done because the old Iron Man was so bland and boring and, apparently, un-Hitler-like.
  • The Scrappy: Three major ones:
    • Maria Hill: The acting head of SHIELD and pro-reg supporter who decided arrest Cap for "not following the law"- despite the fact that said law hadn't been passed yet and Cap had only said that he didn't want to hunt down heroes who disobeyed the law, not that he was adverse to registering himself. She's still largely distrusted by fans in anything she happens to pop up in.
    • Miriam Sharpe: The mother of one of the Stamford victims who blames heroes for her son's death- despite the fact that most of the people she attacks had nothing whatsoever to do with the disaster. She remains reviled to this day.
    • Sally Floyd: A reporter who accused Captain America of being un-American because he doesn't use a particular social media webpage, enjoy car races, or watch a certain TV series. Because of this, Sally ended up being the most hated character in the entire Marvel Universe, second perhaps only to Miriam Sharpe.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny: Averted. The original plot would have been basically "SHIELD against superheroes", forcing them to reveal their secret identities. Bendis and Millar discussed it, and considered that SHIELD and the secret identities thing have been overused. So, they turned them into a "superheroes vs. other superheroes" instead, and the point about secret identities was expanded into the accountability thing.
  • Strawman Has a Point: The whole arc had this problem.
    • It was supposed to be a nuanced exploration of whether or not compulsory registration for superheroes was necessary to curb catastrophic mistakes and potential abuses of power. Both sides were supposed to have valid points (but supposedly supporting the Pro-Registration overall). Unfortunately, due to insufficient coordination between the writing teams of different books (as well as a serious difference in the skills of the writing teams—the anti-reg side got J. Michael Straczynski), Mark Millar failed at making readers sympathize with the pro-registration side, and both sides ended up looking like straw men, with the pro-registration side looking particularly monstrous. For starters, the SHRA criminalized the act of apprehending a criminal when you yourself are an average citizen, as well as SHIELD trying to arrest Captain America for refusing to join the pro-reg side and enforce the law, before it was actually signed into law. To make matters worse, the actual specifics of registration varied from book to book:
      • In pro-reg books, registration was treated as a prerequisite to a superhero being a crimefighter. Supers were given the option of not using their powers, getting trained in using them properly and to establish that they were not a threat to themselves or others, and going to prison. If they did not want to fight crime after they were finished being trained, then they didn't have to, and there was no indication that they would be forced. It was just shown that a lot of people chose to fight crime because they had made friends with their fellow trainees and they felt like they should use their powers for good. However, the pro-registration side was still not sympathetic because Tony Stark and Mr. Fantastic were portrayed as being jerks, who felt like they knew what was best, as well as committing some blatant crimes. But they were making excellent points throughout, and if Mr. Fantastic's soothsaying math can be believed, it was the lesser of a few evils.
      • In anti-reg books, SHIELD forcibly conscripted anyone who happened to have any kind of superpowers whether they wanted to fight crime or not, and the pro-reg heroes were Well Intentioned Extremists. When Luke Cage said he just was going to not use his powers and stay out of it, armed gunmen showed up at his door on midnight of the day the act went into effect. In Avengers: The Initiative, kids recruited were told that they either join the initiative, get their powers taken, or go to jail. Cloud 9, whose power was a little cloud that could make her fly, was recruited, turned into a sniper and sent to killing missions, even though she never wanted to use her power for crimefighting let alone assassinations. In addition, Stark orchestrated an attack on Black Panther, foreign chief of state, because his wife (who had diplomatic immunity) refused to sign up. It was quite clearly a case of "work for us or else".
  • Take That, Scrappy!: The side of Maria Hill won... but she did not; she was demoted to be the Number Two of SHIELD's new head honcho, Tony Stark. At least that's how it looks in the main title. In the Iron Man tie-in, she hands over the reins to him of her own volition, having realized that she was given power for the wrong reason. Many didn't think that was punishment enough for her.
    • Many people must have thought this when the Cape Killers gave the Miranda Rights to Sally Floyd and took her prisoner. Fortunately, they did not have any strong evidence to keep her there, so she's free to continue annoying all superheroes. On the other hand, this somehow causes her to switch to supporting the Pro-reg side.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot: As Linkara pointed out, Maria Hill's behavior (especially towards Cap) would've been excellent Foreshadowing for Secret Invasion, where Hill could've been revealed as a disguised Skrull agent. Instead, she's not at all affiliated with the Skrulls and was just being a jumpy Jerkass.
  • Trapped by Mountain Lions: Y'know what was going on at the same time as this event? Annihilation, aka the event where Annihilus killed Quasar and the all of Nova Corps (except Nova himself), stole the Quantum Bands thus making himself invincible, and then lead a Negative Zone army on a warpath, trying to slaughter all life in the universe. This was a threat so big that almost every space superhero, villain, and alien race up to and including Galactus teamed up to stop it. Compared to that the events here seem incredibly pointless. Not to mention the Hulk was on his way back to rain holy hell on the superheroes. Lampshaded by a What If? Issue where Nova calls out Iron Man and Cap on wasting everyone's time like this when a galaxy destroying army of bugs is on the way. Hell, it's lampshaded in Annihilation itself by Star-Lord and Nova, who argue whether the heroes would even be able to stop fighting one another long enough to not die if the Wave reaches their back door.
    • The event also went on during the same time as X-Men: Decimation, in which most of the world's mutants have been depowered and they're being hunted to extinction. New X-Men even has Emma give a five-page "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Ms. Marvel, telling her about all the students she lost while the Avengers were busy doing their own thing instead of helping them.
  • Unfortunate Implications: As Linkara pointed out during his "15 Things Wrong with Marvel's Civil War" video (at point 6), the prominent casualty of an event named Civil War is a black guy....killed by a blond, blue-eyed guy based on Nordic Mythology note  and his body gets wrapped up in chains afterwards. What's worse? Said blondie was cloned from the original Thor to act as a, for lack of a better term, slave. In the same review, Linkara was also struck speechless by Tony saying that the Thor clone acted like any police officer would - that is, he immediately shot to kill against a black man. Given that several race riots have erupted because police officers acted like that against minorities... yeah, that defense didn't age well.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: The pro-reg side decide to back the government because "the law is the law is the law"... which, natter-inducing argument aside, would hold slightly more weight if this A: Wasn't the government of the Marvel Universe, but more importantly B: Wasn't a government which a few weeks prior to the event beginning had tried to nuke the Avengers to get rid of one supervillain. And these are the people Tony Stark thinks are worth trusting?
  • Values Dissonance: Many readers from countries with conscription display more negative opinion on its conflict, especially the Anti-Registration's views on Superhero Registration Act as slavery.
    • Likewise, the ending. Needless to say, an ending where superheroes essentially become militarised attaches to the US government being treated as a good thing was...more acceptable back in 2007. Let's leave it at that.
  • We're Still Relevant, Dammit!: Sally Floyd's speech to Captain America about him being out of touch just screams this. Most of the topics Floyd brings up ended up being dated barely a year after the comic.
  • What Do You Mean, It's Not Political?: Didn't help that writers of the tie-ins directly brought politics into their writings.
  • The Woobie: Speedball survives the horrific incident that kickstarts the entire mess, is made the scapegoat for all of it, and while completely powerless is sent to a maximum security prison, where he is, naturally, attacked repeatedly with no way to defend himself until his powers kick back in, and even then it's in a horrific new way that requires him to feel pain in order to do it. Not surprising then he goes mad.


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