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[WIR] Marvel Civil War

Moonstone Spider

GG
Validated User
So yeah, after that “Civil War: Not so Bad” thread popped up a few days ago the notion hit me to do a Where I Read of the thing. My local comic shop sells their out of date comics for a song so I looked up which books are part of the Civil War event and bought as many as I found. There's a hole or two that I’ll have to do some serious searching for and may wind up skipping entirely but I have most of it.

Anyway I should probably mention beforehand that I’m a very casual comics reader, which is why I didn’t read Civil War in the first place. In particular I prefer smaller comics with short runs that I can reasonably pick up all of and read straight through, like Next Wave or most smaller Japanese Manga. Looking at a huge wall of Marvel comics featuring X-Men, X-Force, X-Factor, X-Kids, X-Frogs, and Usagi Yojimbo just intimidates me when I think that they’re all interconnected and reference each other as well as events that I don’t know about and can’t access. So anyway, this will be from the perspective of somebody who rarely reads the larger universe and hasn’t kept a very careful track of the characters, for what that’s worth. As a result while I'm not totally unspoiled in every way, I don't know more than a few particularly broadcast details that were everywhere on the web, so please try not to spoil me any more and all that jazz.

Also I should note for the record that as a convention, I'll be using a character's real name when they're in civilian guise and hero name in costume. This system will surely break down when I reach the Fantastic 4 but I'll try to cope. I hope this will help keep straight who's doing what in the sequences.

Amazing Spider-Man #529
And the cover is. . . What the froglegs is this? Is that Spider-Man? Why is he red and yellow instead of Red and Blue? Why are there ominous looking organic claws coming out of his back? Is this the new Venom or something? Eh, maybe the inside explains.

Peter and Mary-Jane:
Still in bed asleep in the early morning, are woken up by Peter’s boss Tony who communicates through a bald eagle statue. Huh. I’d think a cell phone would be more practical, Peter can’t possibly carry this Eagle everywhere he goes. Tony turns out to be Tony Stark and he’s building Spidey a new Iron Spider suit which explains the creepy unusual image in the front. Nice to see them acting so fast to answer my questions. Peter wants the suit to have rocket-boots but Tony won’t let him and a couple of pages are devoted to this by-play. I’m not quite sure why, on the one hand I can’t understand why Tony doesn’t want Peter to have rocket boots, and on the other hand I’m not sure why Peter wants them given how mobile he is already. Would rockets add that much? Also there’s a bit of techno babble where Tony explains that he used something to repair Mary Jane’s broken arm somehow in a comic I doubtless didn’t read and won’t understand the reference to.

Suddenly, a Pair of Thugs:
In an incredibly obvious getaway vehicle covered in flames are easily escaping the inept police, who are completely overmatched by the thug’s superpowers of owning a gun. Not a laser gun, not a death ray, an ordinary gun any criminal might own if he's got a couple hundred bucks and access to a pawn shop (Looks to be an Uzi to me, I imagine they're illegal in New York but plentiful anyway) Yeah yeah, I know, comic book tropes, police are useless. Spidey appears in his new Iron-Spider armor and unleashes the awesome power of his new. . . glide mode. It’s hilarious, these incredibly tiny spider webs pop out of his armpits to let him glide, I’d swear the entire gliding surface is no more than a square foot, two square feet at the most. I’ve got birds in my backyard right now with bigger wings.

How does this even work?

But somehow they let Spidey, and what must be a significant weight in armor plating, glide around. Spider-Man lands on the roof of the thug’s car, and they think they lost him. ?? He rips the roof off and they shoot at him, and again think they lost or maybe killed him. ?!? What the froglegs is wrong with these idiots? He dispatches the pair by running their car off an on-ramp in a hideously dangerous manner steering with his webs, and rescues a hostage woman from the trunk. Showing more of their superior policing skills, the cops let the thugs draw out their second, backup gun. Spidey’s spider-agility and speed quit working long enough for the thug to shoot him in the back and show off his new armor plating. Thug is impressed. Reader wonders how Spider-Man has managed to survive so far if two random thugs can put a bullet in his back so easily. Reader further wonders how the NYPD have managed to even survive this long, I imagine cops this incompetent manage to frequently get themselves killed writing parking tickets. Those pens are pointy and dangerous.

That Night:
Tony, Peter, and MJ are having dinner together. Tony explains that he’s equipping Peter with his armor and advanced weaponry because he needs some support, serious support. There’s a running gag going where Peter keeps pointing out that every member of the team (I’m guessing the Avengers) ever are honest, loyal, and would save Tony’s life, while MJ keeps adding “Except Logan” with Peter's agreement, to each condition. Tony needs more than that. Tony needs Peter’s complete absolute loyalty unto death in the upcoming battle but won’t explain why or how unless Peter swears a blood-oath first. Who the froglegs swears a blood oath on something they don’t know anything about?

Oh, I guess Spider-Man does.
I really can’t fault his reasoning though as he points out that Iron Man’s saved thousands of lives, including Spidey’s own, many times over, and Tony deserves the benefit of the doubt. We close on an ominous shot of a summons to the US Senate. . .
 

Jhiday

Unrepentant Froggie
RPGnet Member
Validated User
Yeah ! Judging by this first issue, this thread is gonna be awesome.

(I say this as someone who kinda liked Civil War as a whole, but boy do the JMS-penned issues of Amazing Spider-Man and Fantastic Four deserve a pounding...)
 

Moonstone Spider

GG
Validated User
Hmm, it's honestly not my intention to pound on anything. I mean, not that I'm going to pass on a chance if it opens itself but I'm genuinely curious as to whether Civil War is really bad or it's just bad to people too caught up in comic fandom, and I hope it might actually be good for a casual reader like me. Anyway. . .

Amazing Spider-Man #530

At an Airport:
Peter meets with Tony for the flight to DC. Tony was at a secret meeting which we’ll learn about when I get to the comic after the next one, and is tired. But somehow not so tired that he didn’t already build a second Iron-Spider outfit. No mention of caves or boxes of scraps, which just proves this internet meme was already worn out and boring back in 2006, two years before the first Iron Man movie.

I'm hopeful this suit will actually use Spider-Man’s iconic colors instead of Iron Man’s. On the plane, Tony introduces Peter to “The Enemy.” It's the Superhuman Registration Act. They act like the manuscript is so huge it strains their arms just to hold it but that binder looks pretty tame compared to many law binders I’ve seen. I’ve had larger homework assignments, in fact. Not every week but, you know, major ones. The SRA itself is only 30 pages long while the rest is riders and pork allocations tacked on by greedy senators. Peter doesn’t like the SRA, and has a laughing fit when Tony tells him the government has promised it will use it’s professional skills to keep Supervillains from stealing Hero identities. Tony agrees. The Reader agrees.

The Next Page
Has about twelve editors notes pretending to be an Edit War between copyists. It’s cute and surprisingly meta, and they break it off when Quesada comes down the hall near them so they don‘t get in trouble. I am amused and pleased. I’m probably too easily amused and pleased sometimes.

The New Suit
Isn’t armor, I was wrong. It’s cloth augmented with maginanotech. It can change colors so Spidey turns it back to his original color scheme, and also makes himself look like Venom because god knows he didn’t have enough fun last time he was that way. Also he turns it invisible for some reason. When his suit is invisible, his hair stands up in spikes even though it should be plastered flat against his skull by the invisible suit. . . Okay okay! Comic tropes, I know! I'm just glad I'll be seeing a red and blue spider again.

The suit also has the ability to sprout ominous looking claws from the previous edition. Huh, in that edition he didn’t have the claws, but they were on the cover. In this edition he does, but the cover has no claws. Interesting. Peter has trouble controlling the claws and they tear up the cassette player instructing him on how to use them. I’m not sure why anybody thinks these will be that useful for Spidey. . . Isn’t he amazingly good with his webs at manipulating stuff? He was driving a car with them last story. And don’t webs work at a longer range than about three feet to boot? And why does he have three claws? Wouldn’t four give him eight limbs like a spider? Or would Dr. Octopus sue for copyright infringement?

Boba Fett!
Okay, a guy that looks a lot like Boba. He’s apparently there to kill Tony Stark but can’t get a clear shot. Inside the building, arguments happen which are as boring as watching real politicians at work. One Senator claims that Superheroes have cost the government 200 billion dollars in damages since WW2. Tony counters that Superheroes have saved North America from conquest or destruction 47 times in that period, and 200 billion is less than the army spends on bulletproof vest inserts. Peter tries to help and winds up making things worse. Tony compares registration to the draft in Vietnam, and prohibition, in that it made things ordinary people wanted illegal and criminalized a lot of previous innocents. The senator claims that heroes will benefit from registration because cops and firefighters will be their friends. Um. . . do Cops and Firefighters regularly open fire on Superheroes? I know Spider-Man has his bad days and the X-Men have to deal with the Marvel version of the Klan but I thought most heroes were well-liked by the authorities. Are people shooting at Squirrel Girl on a routine basis?

In a side-track, I kind of wonder why Tony wants Peter here in the first place. It’s not like he knows anything about politics and he doesn’t have Super-Charisma. Wouldn’t it be more politically expedient to pull in She-Hulk the seasoned lawyer, or Captain America the iconic patriot for this? Spidey’s gimmick is being irritating more than being politically agile.

Boba Fett Again!
Turns out he’s not in armor, he’s in a mecha about fifteen feet tall. Also he’s called Titanium Man. And he’s Russian. Since Spider-Man’s armor is wearable, and Tony’s isn’t (Leading to, why didn’t Tony make his own wearable cloth armor for when the full suit isn’t dress-appropriate? Does his regular armor get jealous or something?), Spidey takes the fight to the giant Mecha. And even though his suit will change to his normal color scheme, he decides to go with red and yellow. Why? What the Froglegs? Are you trying to make sure casual customers can't tell who's on the cover? Am I going to run into Bald Wolverine and Punisher in a Tutu next?

Wait, is that a Mecha or a Suit?
The perspective is terrible here. I honestly can’t tell how big Titanium man is, in some shots Spidey appears to come up to TM’s knee and other times they look the same size. The first shot definitely was mecha material though, Peter was way closer to the “camera” and still appeared to be about 1/3rd the height of TM. Anyway they fight. And one scene, I’d swear, has speed-lines indicating that Titanium Man is actually shrinking.


Two consecutive frames. Should I take it this guy has super head-size changing powers?

Huh, that could be his power, I don’t know this guy, but if it's size changing so he sure isn’t using it to full effect. I’m going to go with no, otherwise we’d be seeing some gigantic and flea-sized fighting moves, so I’ll chalk it up to poor drawings for now. The local guards decide to helpfully open fire, even though they have to shoot through Spidey to hit the mecha. Armor 2.0 is apparently not bullet-proof as Spidey has to dodge, and the bullets do nothing to TM. TM decides to flee after a brief fist fight and Spidey latches on with a webline to go for a ride. The End, for now, since it’ll be several other comics before I get back to Spider-Man. Also I guess I have my answer about how well-treated heroes are in the Marvelverse. That. . . kind of bites. I'd always wondered what it was that made the Hulk so mad all the time that he'd destroy cities but I think I'm beginning to understand.
 

Peter Svensson

Reads Too Many Comics
Validated User
In the DC Universe, you save the world you get a parade.
In the Marvel Universe, you save the world, you get people bitching at you because you didn't save it fast enough.
 

Moonstone Spider

GG
Validated User
You know, you can say "fuck" on this board, there's no need for making weird substitutes.
Well I'm sorry if it bugs you but I don't want to say it for something like this. I reserve my F-bombs for really seriously bad things like a news report of kids raping their parents or a bold new government initiative to take money away from state parks and spend it on propping up the oil industry. I feel it cheapens things to much to apply it to a cartoon character too so I made the intentional choice to pick a silly word as a strand-in.
 

Moonstone Spider

GG
Validated User
Fantastic Four #536:
The Cover has a picture of Mjollnir. Some kind with metal gloves is picking it up. I know Thor historically wore iron gauntlets and I suppose it could be Titanium Man, unless he’s currently mecha-sized, but I’m going to assume it’s Doom because everything Fantastic Four tends to boil down to Doom. Inside, we see the hammer fly through space and the dialogue ominously tells us that it can’t be any identified comet or meteor. That would be ominous, anyway, if we had identified more than about 5% of all the comets and meteors out there. It kills a plane on the way in and hit’s the ground. Oh yeah, we’re supposed to assume it’s not the hammer but a meteor, but given that the hammer’s on the cover and the title is “The Hammer Falls” I’m not buying into ordinary-meteor theories here.

Six Months Later
Huh. That long and nobody bothered to check. I know meteors hit all the time but one two feet wide shouldn’t make it through our atmosphere, and given how many hostile aliens this universe has I’d have expected some hero or other to investigate any meteor that showed unusual behavior.

Anyway enough digression. Reed Richards is helping himself to a sandwich. It’s a crummy looking sandwich too, no tomato and on really cheap white bread. Maybe Reed has poor taste in sandwiches or something. Or maybe I'm a sandwich snob. Susan Storm uses a force field to keep him from eating it until he finishes talking to her first. She wants to know how it went. He asks why some guy named Namor’s in the room watching them make out. ?!?

Oops, My Mistake
No, the Namor bit was a flashback, apparently. There is no background to the drawing and no reason to assume a flashback just started, but there it is, he’s now in a room with Iron Man, Namor, and a guy in a crazy cape I presume is Dr. Strange but I wouldn’t swear to it as he looks like I remember Dr. Strange looking, and everybody's costumes seem different now. Anyway an Editors note tells us this meeting is going to be covered in detail in the next comic on the list. This is why I normally avoid Marvel comics, all the references to other comics I probably didn’t read and don’t have access to. Fortunately in this case I will, and do.

Iron Man is in support of the SRA. Huh. That’s. . . different from last comic I read. When did this happen? Tony explains that SHIELD is putting together a unit of soldiers to hunt down superheroes. Dr. Strange is appalled. Tony’s worried that things will get ugly, and feels that all present should put their support behind the SRA before the US Government makes an example of them.

Digression time: What’s Tony thinking? We’ve seen in the last two comics that the NYPD is so incompetent that they need Spider-Man’s help to handle a pair of skinheads with one gun between them. Heck after Spidey captured the skinheads, the police still couldn’t keep control of them even outnumbering the skinheads twelve to one. The US Army was completely helpless to stop Titanium Mecha from rampaging through the White House’s front lawn. What sort of Example do you think these idiots are going to be able to make of the likes of Iron Man or Dr. Strange? I can see all sorts of ethical and legal problems with confronting and fighting the government, but the authorities have shown themselves so inept at doing anything that worrying about them physically hurting Superheroes to make an example of them is like me worrying that I need to plant more flowers to placate the butterflies in my backyard, lest they make an example of me.

Back to Reed and Susan:
Who are watching TV. Specifically they’re watching Tony and Peter in congress. Susan thinks this is just posturing and the SRA will disappear shortly. Reed isn’t so sure, and is stressing hard. Then he wakes up The Thing and tells him they’re going to be in the air in five minutes, going to Oklahoma. Where there’s a military base of sorts, presumably around Mjollnir. Okay I was wrong, somebody did go check it out. My bad.

The military is screwed however, because a whole bunch of Doom Bots have shown up and they, the same military who are going to make an example of the guys who beat up Doom on a monthly basis, are screwed fighting these generic mass-produced robots.

The Fantasti-Car?!!??!
What. The. Froglegs. That has to be the single stupidest looking vehicle I’ve ever seen. This Fantasti-Car is some open-cockpit mish-mash of boxes that looks like Reed took several cubicals out of a Dilbert strip, painted them blue, and then wired them together with a piece of old PVC pipe and called it a transport. How does this thing fly? Why doesn’t it have a windshield (I suppose the Invisible Woman could put up a force field, but why put her to the effort when glass is so cheap? And what if she’s sick one day and they go without her?). Why doesn't it at least have a rear panel on the boxes so everybody else doesn't have to stare at Reed's butt the entire trip?

Personally, I quit pretending a carboard box was a sweet ride around 2nd grade.

The Fantastic Four jump down and cut through the Doom Bots like ripe wheat. But it’s all a diversion as Doom has sent a Cruise Missile, apparently the Doom Bots were only there to take out the radar so that the missile could get through. This leads to some serious questions for me. Specifically how does this work? Did the United States not put any of this model of missile radar along it’s borders? Or is Latveria an Indian Reservation located in Oklahoma? If neither of those are true why didn’t either A)the missile get destroyed by border defenses or B)The Doom Bots ignore the radar since the missile couldn’t be stopped anyway? For that matter doesn't Doom have the technology to build a stealth bomber?

Explanations will have to wait (presumably forever) because the Real Doom shows up to monologue, I guess. Anyway Reed Richards is sure it’s the real Doom from the sound of his voice. I thought the whole point of Doom Bots was that you couldn’t tell the difference? Maybe only Reed can tell because he’s a Genius and all. Doom explains that what’s inside the Crater is what matters. And inside, of course, is Mjollnir. . .

Huh. So in this whole comic. . . about half of one page was actually about Civil War just so they could slot it into the lineup with the rest following some other story. I'm going to feel mildly irritable if it turns out that many of these comics just pushed a tiny bit in like that to boost sales from completists.
 

Bull

Professional Game Convention Drunk
Validated User
A bunch of the Road to Civil War stuff is like that. Hell, a lot of the "Prelude to XXXX" comics from both Marvel and DC tend to do that...

In this case, I believe it was an attempt to get people to get on board with FF 9and catch up with the team a little) before the actual event started, as the FF play a pretty big part in the Civil War (Name Reed himself, and overall the effect it has on the FF as a "family").

As for Tony Stark... I think there's more covered in the next issue of Amazing SPiderman, if I remember the build up right, but basically...

Spoiler: Show
He's playing Peter a bit. Tony's very much in support to the SRA, and set up the Titanium Man fight to prove to congress (and somehow Peter) that the SRA is necessary. It was incredibly ham fisted. I really liked the concept of the Civil War, but about 80% of the people involved just act as stupid as humanly possible the entire time.
 

Unreluctance

Registered User
Validated User
And subscribed.

I read the main Civil War books back when it first came out, but not much of the peripheral material. It'll be fun to find out what was going on in the wider Marvel 'verse.

Now where did I leave that popcorn.
 
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