The Road to Civil War: The Fame Game
Previously, I shared some general thoughts on the original Civil War comic event that the upcoming movie will be loosely based on. I also briefly talked about the various events leading up to Civil War (Avengers Disassembled, House of M, Secret Invasion) that fostered the environment needed for the event. I said that I was going to read the TPB Civil War, but I decided to do something a little different and read the issues separately with their corresponding tie-in comics to give a more complete picture of the events as they unfold starting with Civil War #1.
If you recall, I mentioned that a very ominous event involving Speedball occurred when I talked about The Road to Civil War a couple of weeks back, but it wasn’t mentioned what exactly happened in that TPB. So… Who is Speedball?
This is Speedball.
Speedball is a little bit of a dick. But he’s a teenager, and I think that’s part of the requirements for being a teenager. The most notable thing about him is that he’s Squirrel Girl’s crush. She traveled back in time in an attempt to change the events that happen in this comic. And he can do some things with kinetic energy or something, too, such as make shields. Remember that.
The other people with him are Namora (Namor’s cousin, of course), Microbe, and Night Thrasher (who gets referred to as a bondage queen by a villain). They are part of the New Warriors, which also happens to be the name of their reality show. During the course of their show, they stumble upon the hideout of a group of escaped supervillains. Now, the New Warriors aren’t slouches, but there’s a reason they are on the D-team. I mean, one of them literally just vomits on people and makes them sick, okay. There’s no romanticizing that.
Four teenagers with powers find a group of villains, what so they do? Surely, these young upstarts won’t really antagonize the villains for a little uptick in ratings. Not in their nice suburban neighborhood that happens to house a school, which means it’s full of children. What kind of idiots do you think these youngsters are?
Okay, they’re those kind of idiots.
To their credit, the New Warriors were on equal footing with three out of four of these villains, but there is always that one who can totally ruin your whole day in a massive way. In this case, he is named Nitro.
Nitro just got rammed into the side of a school bus by Namora. Let’s watch the replay courtesy of Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 (awesome game):
Did I mention that this bus is parked next to a school where children happen to be playing on the playground that’s conveniently located beside the bus? However, Namora’s little dust-up of Nitro isn’t what makes this absolutely terrible. It’s what happens next.
After Namora threatens Nitro and tells him not to try any of his “stupid explosions” tricks, she learns very quickly that Nitro is nothing like those low level villains that were rooming with him. In fact, why would you talk trash to a villain that is literally a walking bomb? How many actual fucks do you think he gives right now? I mean, he may be a villain, but there are kids around after all, right?
Surely, he wouldn’t…
And just like that all of Tony’s intentions to thwart the Registration Act are flushed down the toilet. Thanks, New Warriors. How does Speedball figure into this whole tragedy other than being part of the reason why it happened? Stay tuned. We’re getting there. First, we’re going to visit She-Hulk for a moment for the legal fallout.
She-Hulk enters the fray toeing the line. In this issue, Dr. Strange removes Scarlet Witch’s hex on She-Hulk. Hex is a very strong word in this case because it wasn’t meant to harm her. In fact, it was very helpful, but at the same time there were side effects such as She-Hulk not being able to change at will. Dr. Strange can fix anything with magic which is why he often shows up when Marvel breaks something and they don’t know how they’re going to fix it.
Publicly, she’s come out as She-Hulk and supports Tony, but as a lawyer, she’s fighting to protect the Warriors both past and present from the witch hunt that’s taking place after the events at Stamford. Despite the Registration Act not passing quite yet, there’s a hate site dedicated to revealing the identities of other members, which leads to many of them being assaulted. After a turbulent court hearing that results in desks being punched and a swell of feelings, Tony graces She-Hulk with his presence to tell her who is outing the Warriors. It turns into a moment that can only aptly be summed up with this meme:
Also in this comic, there is a hint of a forbidden type romance between Jen (She-Hulk) and John Jameson (J. Jonah Jameson’s son) who happens to work for the military. Jameson is warned that he needs to give up his relationship with She-Hulk or it may end badly given the current climate with the Registration Act and the public’s current feelings regarding superheroes. After a heart to heart with Captain America where he politely refuses Captain America’s request for help, John decides that he loves She-Hulk too much to let her go. Captain America is a total bro about it, too:
Honestly, I didn’t care for this one too much. Okay, maybe that’s not exactly true. There were things I liked about it such as Jen and John’s relationship. I didn’t care much for the sympathy card they tried to force with the deceased Warriors. Yeah, they made a HUGE mistake, but the way She-Hulk tried to poo-poo their behavior because they were kids made it feel like she was being an apologist, which came off a little gross. I understand what they were trying to do with that, but that doesn’t mean I have to like it. I thought the twist on the person running the hate site was interesting, but the whole reasoning behind it felt weak and poorly executed, but at least I got hilarious face panels like this one:
Civil War #1 is one of my favorite comics. It gave a really promising start to the core Civil War event, and while I didn’t care much for She-Hulk’s comic, it still served it’s purpose in showing how the tensions were growing between heroes and how the public was increasingly starting to sour on them as well. The New Warriors were the straw that broke the camel’s back. This one moment of folly really ripped things apart. After reading She-Hulk years back, I remember being optimistic this would be an event that evenly portrayed both sides. I was wrong. However, I can’t dismiss the fact that the first book in the main event really started out with a bang (no pun intended).
I’d originally planned to talk about Wolverine #42 and X-Factor #8, but that would’ve made this post obscenely long. Also, I might have to dwell on the Wolverine comic and wax poetic about it. So, I’ll discuss them next post.
Comics Read: Civil War #1, She-Hulk #8
Upcoming Comics: Wolverine #42, X-Factor #8, New Avengers #21, Black Panther #17, Civil War: Front Line #1, Amazing Spider-Man #532