C2E2: Marvel Marches Towards "Civil War II"

Ten years after the Marvel Universe split apart over the Superhero Registration Act, a new conflict looms over the heroes as "Civil War II" nears its release date. The event, which will touch seemingly every corner of the mighty Marvel Universe, looks to pit Iron Man against Captain Marvel in an ideological split that will send shockwaves throughout the superhero community. During Chicago's C2E2 convention, a group of Marvel creators gathered to give insight into what's to come in "Civil War II." Among the panelists are Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort, editors Katie Kubert and Jordan D. White, artist Phil Noto ("Chewbacca") and writers Al Ewing ("New Avengers," "Ultimates") Nick Spencer ("Captain America: Sam Wilson").

Moderator Purdin kicked off the panel by asking if the audience is excited for "Civil War II." Purdin picked the most outwardly excited person to come up on stage and read an advance comic of the upcoming "Civil War II" kick-off issue that will be released on Free Comic Book Day in May. The audience member, Juan, pinky swore with Brevoort that he would not reveal any of the plot points within the issue. Purdin then introduced the panel and showed off some of Noto's "Civil War II" teaser images.

"It kind of came up between a break on the Star Wars projects, which was great because this was a fun superhero project to take on," said Noto. "I figured out something cool to have them do as a pin-up. The only one, She-Hulk, they wanted her getting up from being beat down and they wanted Medusa covering up the mutant guy. The Deadpool one I was trying to figure out, Deadpool's naturally funny and doing something extra clever with him is tough. I figured he'd be kissing up to both sides just in case."

"Civil War II" #0 arrives in May and, as Brevoort says, "it's kind of the table-setting. It will bring people up to speed as to where the Marvel Universe is as we head into 'Civil War.'" The issue will be written by Brian Bendis and illustrated by Olivier Coipel.

"All-New Wolverine" will have a tie-in issue, #8, which will see Laura Kinney team-up with Old Man Logan. "The events in 'All-New Wolverine' and other books will lead into 'Civil War II,'" said Brevoort. "Invincible Iron Man" #9 will be a "Road to Civil War II" tie-in. "It factors directly into the events of 'CWII.'"

David Marquez's interior art from "Civil War II" #1 was shown, a single page and a double-page spread featuring the Avengers standing in the rubble of Manhattan looking up at an ominous foe. Purdin then showed the cover for "Civil War II" #2, which features Iron Man flying carrying an unidentified man in civilian garb behind him.

At this point, Juan finished reading the FCBD issue, saying that "it was very intense and I loved every page of it. It's intense as hell and totally gnarly." He said he was even more on board for "Civil War II" than he was before. Brevoort then revealed that he has the FCBD "Captain America" issue on his iPad ready to be read. Spencer chose a fan named Audrey, decked out in Cap garb.

"Civil War II: Choosing Sides" is an anthology miniseries that will come out starting in June. The first issue will feature stories written by Declan Shalvey, Brandon Easton, Chad Bowers and Chris Sims. The first issue will have art from Shalvey, Goran Sudzuka and Leonardo Romero. "We do secondary projects that touch on the stuff we can't touch on in the main book," said Brevoort. "There'll be stories in it featuring characters as divisive as Nick Fury, Night Thrasher, a Power Pack story, a Jessica Jones story in the course of the series." "Civil War II: Amazing Spider-Man" will arrive in June, as will 'Civil War II: X-Men."

Kubert talked about "Civil War II: Gods of War," which will follow up "Hercules." "This is where his story continues, because if you've been reading the series you know he's trying to make good and be a better hero, so 'Gods of War' follows Hercules' story - how he's taking the issues he's dealing with in the main series and how 'Civil War II' will affect him. He will amass other people you know into a type of 'Expendables' team."

"Deadpool" #14 will feature a tie-in to "CWII." "I don't know what about Deadpool makes anyone think he'd bea good boss," said White of the Merc's new Mercs for Money team. "It's not going to go well [for them]." "Totally Awesome Hulk" #7 will start the book's "Civil War II" tie-in, startingi n June 2016.

Carlos Pacheco will join "Uncanny Inhumans" for its "Civil War II" storyline, starting with issue #11. Cameron Stewart will be the new cover artist for "Ms. Marvel" starting with #8.

Spencer spoke about the cover for "Captain America: Sam Wilson" #10, which is a "sad cover." "You know Sam has taken some controversial positions that have given him public blowback, and now he has to make another one of those choices at a difficult time," said Spencer. "Steve Rogers is coming back as Cap right around this time. He'll be heavily involved in the 'Civil War' craziness."

Al Ewing's "Ultimates" will join the "Civil War" event with issue #8. "One of the things I like about 'CWII' is that within the two sides, there are different facets and viewpoints. It's like they're split five ways. There's debating," said Ewing. "Those debates might take physical form - they're going to have a fight." Ewing said "Civil War II" will have a big effect on "Ultimates."

Paco Medina will join "New Avengers" with issue #12, which will tie into the event. "While 'Civil War II' is going on, the catalyst of it will jumpstart this enormous three-way fight that has been brewing for a while now," said Ewing. "I risk while trying to hype up 'Civil War II' stuff ruining 'Standoff.'" Ewing said there will be a threeway fight between AIM, SHIELD and New Avengers, saying that "Mission: Impossible" films influenced the arc. The presentation concluded with the reveal of "Nova's" tie-in, issue #8, which will feature art from R.B. Silva. Audrey finished reading the FCBD "Cap" issue, giving it a thumbs up - or four Cap shields.

The floor opened up to questions, with Brevoort answering a question about the X-Men "Civil War" series. "It's definitely a big deal for the X-Men and mutantkind, specifically for the 'Uncanny' characters," said Brevoort. But the "All-New X-Men" and "Extraordinary X-Men" will all meet for the first time in the mini series and the X-Men will also appear in the main event series as well.

Spencer talked about how they split up the sides, saying that "at the last retreat there was a big whiteboard and everyone put down where they thought their character would be. With a debate like this, it's pretty obvious how you'd split this," said Spencer. The threat this time around will focus on stopping crimes before they happen.

"Through the course of 'Civil War II,' people's perspectives will grow and change. It's not like everyone lines up in issue one and that's how they feel. It gets murkier and more difficult to grapple with the longer it goes,' said Brevoort. "They will switch their positions as the story goes on." Brevoort added that Punisher will have "a role and story in 'Civil War II.'"

A fan asked how definitive the win will be at the end of "Civil War II," with Brevoort saying it will be as definitive as the one in the first "Civil War." "Beyond that, it's a little early to tell you what the end of the story is," said Brevoort. "There is absolutely a winner and not winner. There's fallout from this that will impact the Marvel Universe for years to come."

Iron Man's role in the series is questioned, with a fan saying that he was on the wrong side in the first "Civil War" but now he's tasking himself with protecting the future. "It's funny you say that, because when we were doing the original 'Civil War,' the conversation started with the Superhuman Registration Act and Cap being for it because he's pro-government, and Iron Man being against it because he's a maverick futurist. But twenty minutes later we realized that wasn't right; Captain America isn't a guy that does what he's told, he stands up for what's right. And Tony as a futurist might see the benefit of what's laying down here, so they ended up on the opposite. You all have only seen the teaser images. And those promotional images aren't absolute. All I can tell you is, it will be clear why everyone feels how they feel and hopefully that will hold water and. But much like the original 'Civil War,' there's a reason Captain Marvel believes what she believes and Tony Stark believes what he believes. We approached this in exactly the same way as the original one."

The agents of SHIELD and Fantastic Four came up next, with Brevoort saying that the FF will not reunite during "Civil War II." "SHIELD" editor Kubert said the team will be part of "Civil War." "It will connect to the main series; there's a big event that happens that sends them into a mission and everyone has feelings about the mission itself, and you'll see a lot of people follow their hearts and not their heads. There will be a big shake-up," said Kubert. Brevoort added that the shake-up with SHIELD will be a "big scary" one.

A fan asked how Captain Marvel was chosen to go up against Iron Man. "You don't just want to do the same story again," said Brevoort. "We've done Steve and Tony. And also the particular issue we set up in 'Civil War II,' Carol and Tony were the two that quickly became apparent that were the vanguards of different positions people will have. In the initial conversation, we talked about people ranging from Bruce Banner to Peter Quill. Brian had a lot of names initially, Peter Parker was one. It very quickly became apparent that the real issue was between Captain Marvel and Iron Man. It's super cool that a character like Captain Marvel can come as far as she has in ten years to be on the same level as Captain America and Iron Man."

Ewing added that with his "Road to Civil War" issue of "Ultimates," readers will be able to look back on "Ultimates" and see the dominoes that have knocked over leading her to that point. "I'm just nakedly plugging here," said Ewing, saying that the next few issues are big Carol issues. Kubert also said that her appearances in "A-Force" will inform her role in "Civil War II."

A fan asked if the story changed, since the original promo postcard for the story that was sent to comic shops during "Secret Wars" featured Iron Man fighting Sam Wilson's Captain America. "When we had to do the art for that postcard, we'd only started to talk about what the sides would be in 'Civil War II' and we had not nailed down who that would be, and the promo piece had to come out," said Brevoort. He added that the art will still be used as a variant and it's likely that you will see Sam and Tony fight in the series.

Spencer said that Steve Rogers will be "integral to 'Civil War II.'" "His position is that heroes should not be fighting heroes. He, more than anyone, knows the cost of that," added the writer, alluding to the fact that Rogers was assassinated at the end of the original "Civil War" storyline.

Brevoort talked about why now is the perfect time for "Civil War II," saying that, in a way, the storyline came before the title. "Really it came out of, we were building this story and it was naturally 'Civil War II,'" said Brevoort, adding that yes, having billboards everywhere with "Civil War" written on them factored into their decision to title the story "Civil War II."

The panel was asked how they determine which characters fight, if they let the characters determine the conflict or start with the conflicts first. "Generally it's the characters decide where they're going. Certainly with the 'Ultimates' stuff coming up, I knew where Carol was going. All the others -- Adam [Brashear] it was easy for me to work out how he'd be in this situation. I always have this thing of like, you should always be able to put two members of a team together and have a good story."

"The only thing I remember is, for a minute it looked like there were a lot more anti," said Spencer. "I think a lot of people instinctively said anti because last time the perception was that anti was the good guys. What you saw over time was people brought over to the side of pro." Spencer added that it's fun for him to write three leads -- Scott Lang, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson -- that are all over the place with their sides. "Sam Wilson can't win no matter what he does and Scott Lang just wants Maria Hill to stop yelling at him," he said.

Lastly, a fan wanted to know if the Young Avengers were scheduled to appear during "Civil War II." "Obviously America is a big part of 'Ultimates,' and Billy and Teddy will have roles in 'New Avengers,'" said Ewing. "Issue #11 is a big Billy and Teddy issue, and that leads into 'Civil War II.'" Brevoort added that Kate Bishop and Cassie Lang will be involved in the crossover.

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