Blah Blah Blog – Civil War Mobilization

Another post from my old Marvel blog about the making of Civil War.

Civil War Mobilization

April 28, 2007 | 1:00 AM | By Tom_Brevoort | In General Continuing our look back at the making of CIVIL WAR.

A couple of weeks and a few drafts of issue #1 later, as well as revisions to the overview, and we were ready to reach out to the rest of the editors, in order to work out the various tie-in books.

As you can see from the planning document below, at this stage, we were working off of the idea of doing assorted stand-alone tie-ins as well as connected issues of regular titles. It was after this point that we decided to fold a lot of these ideas into CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE.


CIVIL WAR
Planning Sheet

WHAT IT IS:

CIVIL WAR is Marvel’s major crossover event for 2006. The build-up begins in March, the actual series itself starts in May, and runs for seven issues, ending in November.

THE PREMISE:

After a televised New Warriors mission goes horribly wrong, resulting in the destruction of a suburban town and all its inhabitants, the proposed Super Hero Registration Act which would require anybody possessing superhuman abilities to register with a new government agency gains momentum. Some characters, symbolized by Captain America, refuse to divulge their identities, and go underground, even adopting new civilian identities in the manner of the Witness protection Program. Others get on board with the new program, symbolized by Iron Man. New heroes are born. And some choose to walk away from their lives as super heroes. As tensions mount and the act becomes the law of the land, former comrades must now hunt down one another. By the end, the Marvel Universe is in a very different shape, with any masked super heroes functioning from that point on as outlaws, with new teams of characters established and set up across the world.

HOW YOUR TIE-IN WORKS:

We’re planning for there to be three kinds of tie-ins to CIVIL WAR at the moment. They are:

1) INDIVIDUAL ISSUES OF MONTHLY BOOKS: These will be the most prevalent of the crossovers, and will be the toughest to coordinate. Because the events of CIVIL WAR are so sweeping, they’re going to impact on most every monthly title we publish at some point. However, we want to be careful not to have so many crossovers and tie-ins that it becomes ridiculous. As Bendis pointed out for House of M, we’re only as strong as our weakest link. Therefore, we want to encourage people to find places for their monthly titles to tie in, but only where there’s some meaty component of the story to tell. We’d rather have two really strong CIVIL WAR issues of, say, IRON MAN than five tie-in issues that aren’t what they should be—the short-term gain will look attractive, but we’ve got to keep the quality high and the continuity strong. We’d like to build a checklist over the next week or so of which issues of which monthly titles will be direct CIVIL WAR tie-ins.

2) SELF-CONTAINED TIE-IN BOOKS: In addition to the monthly books, we want to produce a number of self-contained tie-in titles, to illuminate or explore elements of CIVIL WAR that there isn’t room enough for in the main book. Right this minute, we’re talking about doing all of these as double-sized one-shots, each with a title that includes CIVIL WAR. So CIVIL WAR: THE FUGITIVE is about the manhunt for Nitro, the villain who caused the disaster in the first place. CIVIL WAR: THE ACCUSED is about the surviving New Warriors characters, and how they individually react to being associated with the deaths of hundreds. CIVIL WAR: THE AGENCY will be about the formation and mandate of the new agency that’ll be in charge of super hero registration. And so forth. We’re open to doing a whole bunch of these, so if you or your creators have ideas, feel free to throw them out there.

3) NEW UPCOMING IDEAS OR CHARACTERS THAT CAN DEBUT IN CIVIL WAR ITSELF: We want to debut as much new stuff in CIVIL WAR as we can, to leverage the strength of promotion towards their spin-outs or launches. So if you have any titles in the planning stages that you think would be helped by including in CIVIL WAR, we want to know about that as well. For example, we were going to launch Robert Kirkman’s new ANT-MAN series in March initially, but now we’re going to push it back, debut the character in CIVIL WAR, and then launch the ANT-MAN ongoing while CIVIL WAR is still going on, to reveal his backstory. Anything similar that can be done for other such books should be explored. Additionally, if there are any characters you’d like to see revamped, we want to assemble a list of them as well.


THE MONTHLY BEATS AS WE KNOW THEM NOW:

So that you and your creators can plan, here is a brief outline of the basic beats of CIVIL WAR as they now stand. Much of this stuff is subject to change as we develop better ideas, but this will at least give you a general road map towards planning

PRE-MARCH

Wherever possible, we’d like to have mentions of the proposed Super Hero Registration Act

MARCH

NEW AVENGERS ILLUMINATI SPECIAL: the Illuminati grouping of Marvel heavy hitters meet to discuss the lay of the land. We seed the Super Hero Registration Act here. As a pre-emptive strike to help dampen down public sentiment, the Illuminati vote to exile the Hulk into space (in HULK #92). By the end of the special, the Iluminati have fragmented, each with their own views on what needs to be done

APRIL

CIVIL WAR PROLOGUE: THE AGENCY: details the formation of the organization, working name H.A.M.M.E.R., who’ll be responsible for Super Hero Registration

MAY

CIVIL WAR #1
–New Warriors mission goes awry, suburban town destroyed
–Public calls for Super Hero Registration
–At a meeting of heroes at the Baxter Building, the super-people are split, nervous about giving up their secret identities
— Cap in particular is horrified at what he sees as the beginning of s slippery slope that erodes 250 years of American Civil Liberties
–When Cap refuses to play ball and hunt down his pals he becomes hunted himself, and goes underground.
–Back at the White House, Tony, Reed Richards and Hank Pym agree to spearhead this search for super-people who refuse to obey the law

CIVIL WAR: THE FUGITIVE: Details the hunt for Nitro, the villain the New Warriors were attempting to apprehend when the town was destroyed

JUNE

CIVIL WAR #2
— Super heroes are told to unmask and the midnight deadline for heroes to get licensed comes and goes.
–Tony Stark gives a press conference where he says he knows the real names of 137 unregistered super heroes, and implores them to come forward, or they’ll be hunted down.
— Only licensed super heroes are legal in America and anyone out there in a mask who doesn’t have HAMMER permission is officially breaking the law.
— Tony Stark has become the figurehead of the Registration movement
–The X-Men promise Tony that they won’t fight against him. Bishop actively supports Tony’s position and joins Iron Man’s group.
— Sue Richards hates this legislation against the heroes and is saying she wants the FF all to go underground with Cap. Schism between her and Reed.
— Doctor Strange and the Black Panther want to remain neutral in all of this just like the X-Men
— Assorted heroes engage in soul-searching as to what they should do, how they should react.
–Cap has formed the covert Secret Avengers, who continue to try to do their job as heroes while avoiding the Registration
–The covert heroes adopt new secret identities, essentially going into witness protection
–Issue ends with the Secret Avengers having walked into a trap set by Tony’s guys. A huge battle between forces is about to occur.

CIVIL WAR: THE ACCUSED: Deals specifically with the surviving New Warriors, and what they choose to do individually, as they’ve been branded the poster children for irresponsible, unlicensed super heroes.

JULY

CIVIL WAR #3
–Cap’s Secret Avengers manage to make their escape from Iron Man’s Avengers. Both men have huge respect for each other, but utterly believe they’re right.
–A couple of Cap’s guys just leave, feeling this is all wrong. However, at the same time, a couple of the people on Tony’s side also don’t like the idea of fighting their old friends and come into the fold of the Secret Avengers
— Ordinary people are really pissed off with the Secret Avengers because they’re wasting the time of the legalized superheroes. They should be out there saving lives, not breaking the law.
— In order to bolster his forces, Tony offers a deal to all of the captured villains of the Marvel Universe, electronically tagging them and sending them out after the heroes.
–The main incarcerated character Tony releases is Marvel Boy, who is all messed up, and who we set up to seem like the new Captain Marvel.

BLACK PANTHER WEDDING: Heroes from both sides attend, including Cap and Iron Man. It’s an uneasy détente.

AUGUST

CIVIL WAR #4
— Unlicensed super-people are being arrested and locked up in a secret location awaiting trial.
— Tony unveils his grand plan to He and his braintrust of Reed and Hank Pym have developed individuals and super-teams for all across the USA.
– One of the villain gangs have snared one of the unlicensed heroes and are ready to unmask him when there’s a shot out of nowhere and one of their heads explode. A fury of machine-gun fire and more villains are taken down before we’re shocked to discover that the Punisher is the rescuer, taking the battered hero back to his base and explaining that, although he didn’t give a rat’s ass before, he sure as Hell cares now they’re actually enlisting bad guys.


SEPTEMBER

CIVIL WAR #5
–Happy Hogan gets badly beaten and hospitalized because of his association with Iron Man. This is the downside of the public ID
— Some of his team-mates see this as everything they feared for their own families, but Tony remains resolute.
–Cap tries to recruit Namor as an ally, but Namor wants no part of what’s going on in the surface world.
— In the Negative Zone and we see this colossal prison with all the super-people locked up in here beside the various bad guys who’ve been taken down. Cap’s crew plan to break their allies out.

OCTOBER

CIVIL WAR #6
— Cap’s group is approached by a couple of villains who want to throw in with them. But the Punisher kills them—No Deals.
— Cap goes absolutely apeshit and we get a great, big superhero smackdown as Cap just kicks the shit out of him. What’s interesting, though, is that Punisher won’t fight back. He just takes it and Cap stops, confused. Punisher picks himself up and Cap tells him to get the Hell out. They might be down to a handful of men, but they don’t need lunatics on their side.
— Big raid. Superheroes freed. Huge fight in the Negative Zone and all Hell breaks loose as the fight smashes back through the main entrance and spills out into the desert where the military base was
— Namor, who swears he wouldn’t help, ends up arriving with his crew in a glorious double page spread. This means that the other neutrals, with sympathy for the other side, appear and we have another spread as all the X-men show up to balance things out.
–The actual new Captain Marvel appears, to take on and take down Marvel Boy

NOVEMBER

CIVIL WAR #7
— SPECTACULAR fight. One by one, the guys go down until we’re left with just Cap and Tony
— Cap, exhausted, finally puts Tony down in the cleverest way possible. It’s over.
— He looks around at the crowds assembled on the edge of town and he sees something he’s never seen before: Fear. Cap inspires hope and yet here he is terrifying the locals. They start to yell at him, voicing everything we’ve seen in the background throughout the series about how they WANT a register and need to be protected from lunatics in masks doing whatever they want; completely unaccountable vigilantes.
— Cap realizes he was wrong. He realizes he’s been fighting for masks when he should have been fighting for America
— Cap concedes that the people do want superheroes to go legit. His big problem is liberties being taken away by people he doesn’t know and can’t trust and so he says to Tony that he and his guys will ACCEPT the registration on one simple condition: That it isn’t the government that holds all the secrets. Sure, the person in charge can be accountable to the government, but he wants a super hero to be in charge of this. The person he wants, the person he trusts most, is Tony.
— Cut to a series of epilogues where we get the new Marvel Universe being constructed here. Tony Stark now heads up HAMMER as well as supervising the new hero teams.
— Cap himself gives up the mask and gets on a motor-bike, getting out there to find himself and reconnect with America.


More later.

Tom B

6 thoughts on “Blah Blah Blog – Civil War Mobilization

  1. That was a huge event. You all put in a tremendous amount of work to pull it off. I can’t imagine the long hours for months, probably weekends, too. Interesting to see some of the changes from this plan to the final publication. I dropped the main series maybe half-way. I wonder if it holds up, today. The book looked good, made McNiven a big name in comics. I didn’t care for the dialog, And I think another writer even lost her Marvel gig (on “White Tiger”?) for publicly criticizing Mark’s scripting. Sue’s letter to Reed, I believe. I also remember Tom disliking the “Clor” name given to the Thor clone that Reed & Tony cooked up. Was it called “Ragnarock” in the story? Despite any wishes to the contrary, you can’t stop the internet crowds from calling something what they want to.

    I did really like the Amazing Spider-Man tie-in’s. JMS & Ron Garney connected the ideological dots, and sold the idea for me, made me really feel for Peter’s dilemma. And it looked fantastic. Cap’s appearances and Peter’s “back in black”, in particular. And his changes from the red % gold Iron Spider tech while on the pro-reg side, back to his red & blue for anti-reg, and the black when on the run, mirrored the story to great effect. Iron Man looked clunky, and more overtly villainous, which made sense in the context. But Cap and Spidey never looked better. That’s says a lot.

    The Avengers issues were good. I disliked having them break-up. Just after Luke’s wedding, too. But Brian’s epilog, “The Confession”, might be the best superhero thing he’s ever written. Man, what a stunner at the end, despite us already knowing what was happening in Brubaker’s Cap monthly. Brian really nailed both Cap & Tony’s characters. A gut wrencher.

    Like

    1. I haven’tread a lot of Millar’s work but I’ve found what I did read very engrossing and immediate. The occasional plot hole (or seeming plot hole) does not matter when you’re reading because you’re just enjoying the roller coaster.

      Like

      1. My dislike was more about dialog inconsistencies with established characters. A lot of the dialig didnt ring true, but characters were forced to fit the overall story. I’ve just never been a Millar fan. He’s more of a sensationalist when it comes to character portrayal. And it reads as too shallow for me.

        Different people look for different things from comic books, & entertainment in general. Roller coasters seem too abundant. So the bar has to be higher. Millar’s work actually pushes me away. Despite him seeking out and working with some of the best artists in the industry.

        Jorge Jimenez is the latest. I’m bummed I’ll have to wait for more of Jorge’s Batman, while he draws Millar’s generic, unlikable character. Mark’s shrewd, though, picking 1 of the very top, hottest, and frankly most talented artists working right now. It makes someone like me, who strongly dislikes Millar’s work, to maybe give it a try. I might skip it based on principle. 😉

        Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s