As we get ready for the start of Civil War, I think it’s time we take a look at some of the events that, while not directly related to the storyline, have brought us to a point in the Marvel Universe where such an event can take place. For the last few months, Marvel time, a lot of very public events (starting with Magneto taking over Manhattan and enslaving its citizens) have happened to shine a light on the destruction and chaos that seem to occur as a result of the battles between super-powered beings. As the fear for a potential mass tragedy involving innocent people grows, a mounting campaign begins to take shape within the political halls of the federal government.
Chaos in the House of M
During Avengers Disassembled, it was revealed that the Scarlet Witch had gone crazy as a result of the subconscious use of her reality altering hex powers. After Wanda was reminded of her two “lost” children, which were previously believed to be a product of her hex powers, her anger began to fuel a hate for those she felt had wronged her. In an act of blind rage, Wanda turned her powers on the Avengers and, using Jack of Hearts as her conduit, destroyed Avengers Mansion, killing Ant-Man (Scott Lang) in the initial attack. During the second assault, she used the Vision as her mule, forcing him to release some Ultron robots to further engage the Avengers in battle. During the ensuing melee, She-Hulk went into mindless savage mode and ripped the Vision in two. Unable to calm herself, She-Hulk turned on her teammates.
After subduing the savage She-Hulk, the Avengers gathered en masse at the remains of Avengers Mansion. As they discussed their situation, an armada of Kree warships arrived and engaged the already reeling Avengers. Through an unfortunate turn of events, Hawkeye’s quiver of arrows ignited and, in a final act of defiance, he grabbed a Kree trooper and launched them both into a warship, destroying it completely. After a brief battle, the armada and all the troops vanished into thin air. The arrival of Doctor Strange on the scene allows the heroes to quickly get up to speed on the situation and who their real attacker is. During a confrontation between Dr. Strange and the Scarlet Witch, an exhausted Scarlet Witch is finally stopped. Arriving without warning to recover his daughter’s comatose body, a newly resurrected Magneto (by Wanda) arrives on the scene. Stunned by Magneto’s sudden arrival and the events of the day, the Avengers hand her over without a fight.
For now, Wanda is in the safety of her father’s care. With the aid of Professor X, Magneto attempts to revive his daughter and bring her powers back under control. After multiple attempts with little success, Magneto and Xavier decide it is time to discuss the matter with the Avengers and X-Men. Before the meeting ends and a decision made, the world will undergo a complete transformation.
Not knowing what the Avengers and X-Men are going to do about his sister’s out of control powers, Pietro Maximoff (Quicksilver), convinces his sister to make the world a better place, one where they are at their father’s side, their family is complete and the heroes are given their heart’s desire. Enter the “House of M”. The House of Maximoff is ruled by Magneto and his children, Wanda, Pietro and Lorna Dane (Polaris). The world of the House of M is not a perfect one. Normal humans are looked down upon and are treated as a complete lower class of citizens, with few exceptions.
As if waking from a dream, Wolverine realizes that there is something very wrong happening. After pulling together a team including Layla Miller, the one person with the power to help people remember the truth, a confrontation with the House of M royal family is all but imminent. Magneto soon learns the truth of Quicksilver’s manipulation of his sister and tries to put a stop to his plans only to cause the Scarlet Witch to utter three little words, “No more mutants.” With those three words, in an instant, the Marvel Universe is completely changed. Just before the “hex wave” strikes and the Marvel Universe is restored, Dr. Strange is able to hastily cast a spell that minimizes the memory loss effects on those who are within the spell’s area of effect at the time, allowing some heroes to completely remember the events that just transpired.
Of those who remember the events, some have taken a positive approach and have decided to change their life for the better. While others plot to regain the powers that they lost, by any means necessary. Some harbor deep guilt about what they considered to be a perfect life. Still others were left with nothing but despair and hopelessness from the loss of their mutant powers.
Over ninety percent of the mutant population lost their powers. Also, because the House of M was not an alternate reality but an actual event that took place within the confines of the 616, much of the general population have encountered a lapse of time proportionate to the amount of time Wanda’s powers were in effect. Which means that even though they don’t know what happened, they are aware of some lost time and hear whisperings of an out of control hero who altered reality on a global scale. Not getting any answers from the Avengers or the Fantastic Four has also added another layer of suspicion to the every growing public skepticism. A fear is slowly beginning to take root within the Marvel Universe and all it will take is one event to tip the scales.
Where are they now? – The Road to Civil War
Now that we have reviewed the major events that have shaken the Marvel Universe over the last few years, let’s take a short walk down the “Road to Civil War”. With the exception of most of the X-Men / mutants, due to some upcoming space-faring adventures, all the major players of the Marvel Universe have had an impact on the events leading up to Civil War. Let’s take a look at where they are and how they got there.
The Illuminati and the Hulk
In order to ensure that he never again goes on a rampage that could turn fatal, the Hulk was shot into space by his friends, former allies and members of the Illuminati, Reed Richards and Tony Stark (New Avengers: Illuminati Special). The Hulk was supposed to land on a desolate planet where he could be alone; but as the Hulk was striking out in anger, he disrupted the control panel and crash landed on a planet where gladiator games are a daily spectacle enjoyed by the masses, a world where the Hulk fits in perfectly. Yet there is some unfinished business to take care of with his “friends”. While he waits for that moment, and it will come, Hulk Slash! (see “Planet Hulk”). Soon it becomes apparent that not all members of the Illuminati are happy with Reed and Tony’s decision.
The Illuminati consisted of Tony Stark, Reed Richards, Doctor Stephen Strange, Professor Charles Xavier, Black Bolt and Namor the Sub-Mariner. The Illuminati were a group that started meeting after the Kree-Skrull war to discuss events and make decisions, when necessary. King T’Challa was originally invited to the group, but he wisely declined and urged the others to not go through with their plan. With Professor X missing, Tony and Reed tell the others what they have done to the Hulk. The already fragile relationship between the members of the Illuminati reaches a breaking point, causing the group to disband.
Iron Man and Spider-Man
With the Extremis Virus running through his bloodstream, Tony Stark is a new man. Enhanced with a new bio-organic connection to his Iron Man armor, Stark is able to do just about anything with a thought, even controlling over two dozen suits of Iron Man armor. In a move to secure Peter Parker’s backing, Stark creates a new suit for Spider-Man, even going so far as to give it a red and gold color scheme. Feeling in debt to Stark for how he helped the Parker family in their time of need, as well as admiring him, Peter agrees to become Stark’s protégé.
Shortly after agreeing to work for Stark, Peter finds out he must travel to Washington D.C. where his boss is expected to testify before the Senate about the Superhero Registration Act. Realizing that this action could have profound affects on the superhero community, Tony, unbeknownst to Peter, stages an attack with the aide of the Titanium Man. Peter quickly dons his new Spider Armor and puts a stop to the Titanium Man’s attack. Peter questions Tony about the timing of the attack and whether he had something to do with it, to which Tony claims innocence. After returning home, Peter dozes off watching the news and misses the first newsflash about an event in Stamford, Connecticut.
The Fantastic Four and Thor
Doctor Doom, with the aid of Thor’s mystical uru hammer Mjolinar, has managed to escape hell. Briefly feeling the power of the mystical hammer, Doom makes it his goal to acquire it by any means necessary. After a pitched battle with the Fantastic Four, Doom finally manages to get to the hammer and, after briefly touching it, sets off a blast of pure energy that shoots straight up into the sky.
Doom makes one last attempt to pick up the hammer but to no avail. Realizing there is nothing more to be gained in Oklahoma, Dr. Doom quickly takes his leave. As the Fantastic Four regroup, Reed can’t help but wonder if the blast was some kind of signal, while the Thing wonders who the hammer belongs to.
Meanwhile, in an unidentified city somewhere in America, a blonde man with the initials “D.B.” boards a bus to Oklahoma (for those not in the know, “D.B.” could be referring to Donald Blake, who was Thor’s original human host/identity).
Captain America and the New Avengers
Unaware of the duplicitous actions of Tony Stark, Captain America is enjoying the latest incarnation of the Avengers. He is teamed up with people that share his feeling about the ideals of the American Way and bring a new perspective to the Avengers. As the team begins to form a solid relationship, Iron Man continues to manipulate events and people in order to further his own agenda.
Steve Rogers is already on edge. After learning and dealing with the truth about the Winter Soldier really being his former sidekick Bucky, another friend turning on him could potentially send him down a road that would even further test his resolve. Even his ability to be a part of the Avengers would be called into question. When Captain America and Iron Man clash, the Avengers will never be the same.
The warning shots have been fired, sides are gathering. Soon a tragedy will occur to tip the scales and send most of the heroes of the Marvel Universe into a Civil War.
Research Material provided by the friendly people at Comic Universe in Fountain Valley, CA; The best Local Comic Shop in Orange County.