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“Civil War’s” 8 Greatest Ramifications on the Marvel Universe

by  in Comic News Comment
“Civil War’s” 8 Greatest Ramifications on the Marvel Universe

Marvel’s 2006 event series “Civil War” by Mark Millar and Steve McNiven played out very differently than “Captain America: Civil War”. Naturally, the story had a different kind of impact on the shared universe it inhabited. While the core conflict between Iron Man and Captain America remained, the series’ expansive supporting cast was affected in their own unique way, for several years — or in some cases, permanently — after its conclusion.

RELATED: The Russos Explain Why “Captain America: Civil War” Had to End the Way It Did

As a reminder of the impact “Civil War” had on the Marvel Universe, CBR breaks down several key events from the series that re-shaped the comic book landscape in a major way.


When Thor showed up at the end of “Civil War” #3, we knew the series meant business, and the superhero showdown it promised was well under way. But what made the moment so impactful was that Thor had been “dead” at the time — after the events of the “Ragnarok” arc a couple years earlier — which left many readers wondering, “Where did he come from?”

Well, that can be explained by the nefarious scheme of Hank Pym — who was actually a Skrull impostor — who created his own Thor clone (affectionately referred to as “Clor”) using a strand of Thor Odinson’s hair. While the character bit the dust by the end of the series, his popularity led to the character’s resurrection, and his eventual placement on Jeff Parker’s “Dark Avengers” team years later.


For a time, Storm and Black Panther were married — in a ceremony performed during one of the most turbulent times in the Marvel Universe’s history (talk about bad timing). In the heat of “Civil War,” the royal couple had their nuptials and immediately faced a major challenge, as they were forced to take a stand in the superhero registration conflict. This was significant as Black Panther was potentially seen as neutral at the beginning of the story, along with Storm, whose X-Men — under the leadership of Cyclops and Emma Frost — had refused to take a stance in the conflict.

However, Storm and Black Panther came around to the anti-registration side, and went on to join the Fantastic Four when Reed and Sue left to sort out their own marriage (more on that later). What resulted was a pretty fun era for the Fantastic Four, and a “Black Panther” run under Reginald Hudlin that featured Storm in a supporting role. While their marriage didn’t last, it did play a significant role in the Marvel Universe for a solid six years.


Remember when Iron Man seemed like a bad guy? Yeah, that’s thanks to “Civil War.” But even with all the hate from his fellow heroes, Iron Man took on a larger role as director of S.H.I.E.L.D. and spearheaded the launch of the Fifty States Initiative. The era saw Tony Stark take on a whole new responsibility, and become, to a lot of folks, the public face of superheroes in the Marvel Universe.

That was a little more than a year before the premiere of 2008’s “Iron Man,” when the character would really become the public face of superheroes to the general public. But what the “Director of S.H.I.E.L.D.” era proved was that Stark could be one of the main players in the Marvel Universe, and solidify himself as the Avengers leader — before Robert Downey Jr. portrayed the character and won our hearts.


Although Captain America didn’t die in the pages of “Civil War,” the miniseries certainly put the events into motion, culminating with the assassination of Steve Rogers a few months later in “Captain America” #25.

Cap’s death in itself was a big deal, but it also meant a lot to the series, as it drew a lot readers to Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s magnificent run. Not only that, but it brought Bucky Barnes to the forefront of the Marvel Universe, as he assumed the mantle of Captain America.


Perhaps the most controversial moment of “Civil War” was the unmasking of Spider-Man in the second issue. Following the wall-crawler’s return to the black suit in defiance of registration, a controversial arc called “One More Day” saw Spidey making a deal to save Aunt May — who was nearly killed due to the public unmasking — in a deal that called for the sacrificie of his marriage to Mary Jane.

The retcon caught a lot of fire from fans — mainly because it was an excuse to make Spider-Man single again — but it shook up the publishing schedule and creative approach to the character in a big way. In its follow-up, “Brand New Day,” Spider-Man was under the control of a stable of writers and artist who would share storytelling duties — three issues each month — on a rotating basis.


There weren’t always 14 different Avengers teams (all right, well that could be a slight exaggeration) — but once upon a time, there were just one or two, max. “Civil War” changed that limitation as members were divided into two factions, so naturally the teams would be split into two books. Brian Michael Bendis penned both the anti- and pro-registration titles, “New Avengers” and “Mighty Avengers,” offering different flavors for what could be considered an “Avengers” book.

Since this major split, there hasn’t been a singular “Avengers” title, but rather several different teams that serve up a different roster, and a different style of storytelling. The model for multiple “Avengers” teams is now the norm, but that wasn’t until “Civil War” opened the door. The formula allowed for more characters to be Avengers, and a wider array of creative talent to work on the property.


Not only did “Civil War” ruin Spider-Man’s marriage, but it nearly tore apart Reed and Sue Richards’ relationship, as it divided the two over superhero registration. The series put a lot of strain on the duo — with the death of Bill Foster and the near-death of Johnny Storm — pushing Sue to temporarily leave Reed in protest of his not-so-considerate actions.

Thankfully, the two didn’t permanently split — but they did leave the Fantastic Four for a while. Traversing the universe for a new honeymoon of sorts, they worked out their issues while Storm and Black Panther took over their spots on the team. The era proved to be an exciting time, as fans begged the two to stay together, while we were treated to a new replacement era for the FF in what was perhaps the best non-First Family incarnation of the team since She-Hulk joined in the ’80s.


Because of “Civil War,” the “Thunderbolts” title became really good. That’s largely thanks to the mix-up of the roster — with the addition of villains like Venom, Norman Osborn and Bullseye to the team — under writer Warren Ellis and artist Mike Deodato. When they took over the title they offered a darker take on the team with a looming craziness to it all — slowly building to Osborn’s rise to prominence in the Marvel Universe, along with his return to the Green Goblin mantle.

Before “Civil War,” “Thunderbolts” hadn’t had a major impact on the rest of the Marvel Universe, but under Ellis and Deodato, who chronicled Osborn’s shady leadership, it would soon become a place for clever and nefarious storytelling, with teases for the future direction of the comics, post-“Secret Invasion,” into the “Dark Reign” era.

Was there another “Civi War” development that rocked your comic book world? Let us know in the comments!

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