The Major "Civil War II" Death, Lingering Marvel NOW! Questions

SPOILER WARNING: This article contains major spoilers for Marvel's "Civil War II" #3, on sale now.

Fridays on CBR mean Axel's In Charge.

Welcome to MARVEL A-I-C: AXEL-IN-CHARGE, CBR's regular interview feature with Marvel Comics Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso!

An editor with years of experience in comics receiving both critical acclaim and best-selling status, Alonso stepped into the chair at the top of Marvel's Editorial department and since then has been working to bring his signature stylings to the entire Marvel U. Anchored by regular question and answer rounds with the denizens of the CBR Community, each week Alonso will shake things up with special guest stars, exclusive art reveals and more!

Marvel made mainstream news this past week through one of the most reliable of means: a major character death. And it was indeed a big one in many ways, as Bruce Banner -- the original and most famous Hulk, a longtime fixture in pop culture as a whole -- died in Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez's "Civil War II" #3, as a preemptive strike executed by Hawkeye, due to a dire vision from Ulysses, the future-predicting Inhuman at the center of the story. Alonso talks about the motivation and repercussions of both killing off Bruce Banner, and also making Hawkeye -- himself one of Marvel's most recognizable heroes at this point -- the character responsible. This week also saw the release, following a leak, of the Marvel NOW! "Previews" catalog, giving fans a glimpse of the new series set to debut this fall post-"Civil War II." There are a lot of lingering questions -- like where are the X-books, anyway? -- and Alonso shared some early hints and insight, including discussion of Bendis and Alex Maleev's "Infamous Iron Man," putting Doctor Doom in an Iron Man armor, and the rise of some rather obscure antiheroes. Plus, answers to your questions, direct from the CBR Community.

Albert Ching: Axel, Marvel made big news this week with the death of Bruce Banner in "Civil War II" #3. It's a big move, clearly -- Bruce Banner is one of the most famous Marvel characters of all time -- and one that got mainstream attention, due to the profile of both Banner and the perpetrator. Can you take us behind the scenes of that decision and what went into it? Did it spark internal debate, or was it viewed as a natural move given the overall story direction?

Axel Alonso: At a retreat, Brian pitched the scene as a pivotal moment in the story -- a major turning point that would cause some heroes to reconsider their position and maybe cross lines. We had a long conversation about it, agreed to sleep on it, then revisited it the next day, after everyone had plenty of time to contemplate it and discuss it with each other in smaller groups. When we reconvened the next day, we dove back in, considered all the ramifications and ripple effects well past "Civil War II," and decided that we were in.

Even before "Civil War II" started, you stated it's a story where readers will think they're siding with one character, before changing course mid-series. This has to be at least part of what you were hinting at then -- are the course of the next few issues are defined by this moment? Is this the turning point?

<>Alonso: It's a turning point. The first turning point. There will be other moments when heroes -- and fans -- will be forced to reconsider what side they're on.

Well, there are still four issues left to go. And the choice of Bruce Banner also feels conspicuous because, as rare of a thing as this is becoming for a character that's been around for more than 50 years, Bruce Banner has never really been killed off before. Did that extra layer of significance factor into the decision?

Alonso: Of course.

Getting back to the mechanics of it, the person who kills Banner is also significant -- Hawkeye, another character the entire world knows due to the Marvel Studios films. As you read the issue, he has reasons for what he did, and obviously the story will continue to be told, but was putting Hawkeye in this spot a controversial choice within Marvel?

Alonso: We did not make the decision lightly. But Hawkeye had his reasons -- and we are going to peel back the skin on that onion slowly. They factored heavily into our decision.

On the other side of this, what does this move say about the confidence Marvel has in Amadeus Cho as the current, "Totally Awesome Hulk"? That's a status quo that's sticking around post-"Civil War II," and now he's unchallenged, from a reader perspective, in that position. Is this a sign of confidence?

Alonso: It certainly solidifies Amadeus' position as the one Hulk of Marvel Universe, and how he reacts to the news of Banner's demise is going to be a very... interesting story. Cho was very close with Banner, so there's that. And he just saw what happened to the last Hulk, so there's that. And he can't be too happy with Hawkeye, right? So what's going to be his next move?

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