Civil (Ethics) War: A Marvel Comics Event
PSA: may contain spoilers — a lot of them.
With the events of the Civil War happening soon on screen, there is much to go through. Who is on what team? What does this Civil War even mean? Why does Captain America care so much about this Civil War? So many unanswered questions about why the Avengers are being broken up; but, this may answer some of your questions — or try to. For the most part, you’ll have to understand where this began and where this Civil War started. With that information, there may be spoilers because this is being derived from the comics. If you have not read Civil War yet, I suggest you refrain from reading anymore after this paragraph. But, if you don’t mind, go on ahead and let’s get started.
Civil War (2006-2007) is the Superhero / Superhuman Registration Act that creates drama in the Avengers. This is an act that forces superheroes to register as “living masses of destruction” and even beings like Iron Man who have the use of exotic technology would have to register as well. It requires mandatory registration, there is no getting around it. The act was developed when it was acknowledged that quite a bit of damage was being ensued from the superhumans and was causing turmoil. Hulk recently had a rampage that killed 26 people and the Secret War that had an attack on Manhattan around this time. There was a recent death in the Marvel Universe that led to this act being passed also. The act forces superheroes to comply with unmasking themselves in front of the governments so that officials would be able to identify the superheroes through facial recognition and costumes. All secrecy is gone at that point.
Iron Man feels that it is a good idea that superheroes should register as superhuman / superheroes, it would allow for better protection of themselves and the people of the city. Captain America thinks the opposite, he thinks that it would cause the secret lives of the superheroes to be released, such as wives and children and then would put them in danger. Considering how many enemies that superheroes have, plus HYDRA, it would not end very well. That is where the two sides come into play. There are superheroes that think Iron Man is right in what he is saying and there are superheroes that think Captain America is right and lives would be in jeopardy. But, would they be in jeopardy either way?
Who is on Team Captain America?
Characters in the film on #TeamCap are Hawkeye, Sharon Carter, Falcon, Bucky Barnes, Ant-Man, and Scarlet Witch.
Other characters not in the film that are on Team Captain America are Daredevil, Cable, Luke Cage and Young Avengers.
#Team Cap / Anti-Registration
Familiar faces such as Captain America, Luke Cage, and Falcon require that superheroes deserve secrecy in order to protect certain aspects of their “normal” and “personal” life that they live when they are not saving the world. They should be able to act in whatever means are needed against threats which the emergency services could not handle.
These two sides have some escalation along the way. The anti-registration side continues to fight supervillains as normally told to do so leaving them restrained to be found by authorities. Things escalated even more so when Captain America led his team the anti-registration forces, also known as the Secret Avengers into an ambush that he pro-registration forces were having.
While Captain America was shaking hands with Iron Man as a form of peaceful protest, he disabled his armor and sucker-punched him in the face. That is when a public brawl started between the two sides. It was a battle, a war.
Morality over Safety?
Throughout the comics (and soon to be a motion picture) there is going to be a sense of morals that are tested with Captain America and even Iron Man. In the film, those are being tested, especially in terms of Bucky Barnes. Does the constant parental guidance over Bucky cause a sense of cloudiness over Bucky’s mind and morals? He is essentially re-forming his own morals and the way the world is because he has to start all over as well. Even though Captain America means well his constant parental guidance over Bucky causes him to only see Captain America’s views instead of making his own. Bucky was his own person before he was brainwashed and he has to reestablish that sense of what he once knew and what he once thought.
With Captain America, he has his own sense of morals and ethics already. He believes in the greater good of others and the ability to have that greater good and also be free. He doesn’t want people to be restrained by the government and have to abide by rules of someone else. ‘Constraint’ is something that Captain America does not find okay.
The question that the Civil War comes down to is this: “Is Captain America for the greater good of the public, or essentially is he for his own self-interest?” Captain America has always been a superhero to be for the greater good of the public. He wants to save everyone and provide everyone with a good public figure. Being a father figure to superheroes and to the public as well. But, when it comes to what side he is on with the Civil War what does that mean exactly for what he is fighting for?
That’s easy, he is fighting for the side that wants freedom and secrecy — but, at what cost? Freedom, like the SRA, says is becoming a problem. An issue. It is becoming to the point where people, actual humans, are dying from these superheroes that are supposed to be creating this greater good. Does Captain America realize that freedom comes with a cost and does he realize that freedom is costing human lives at the same time? Now, Captain America is not killing humans and no one on his team is; but, superheroes so exist that kill people and not purposely such as the Hulk. He does not do it on purpose, but he does do it from time to time. Captain America, in a sense, is willing to dismiss human lives to save the secrecy of superheroes / superhumans. Which is good because secrecy is important. In what way does that equal to a human life though?
Who is on Team Iron Man?
Characters in the film that are on #TeamIronMan are War Machine, Black Widow, Black Panther, the Vision.
The Vision was on Captain’s side in the comics, but they have changed that in the film. Along with Black Panther, who was not in the spotlight, he was up for wildcard with the directors and writers.
Other characters not in the film that are on Team Iron Man are She-Hulk and Mrs. Marvel.
#Team Iron Man / Pro-Registration
Similar faces we have seen before like Iron Man, Ant-Man, and Mr. Fantastic believe that changing the political aspect and the law would be pointless — essentially, a waste of time. And, on top of that, it’s a good idea for superheroes to have a good oversight and proper training. The pro-registration side attempts to find and arrest any superhero who was not registered. And, this is also when Iron Man convinced Spider-Man to reveal his identity, something he tried so hard to maintain.
During this battle, Iron Man thought it was a good idea to find a way to contain the super-people / superheroes unwilling to register. Iron Man called it the Negative Zone; which, was dubbed as “Project 42.” After learning that people / superheroes / superhumans did not want to register they would be imprisoned indefinitely and following this battle between the two sides Spider-Man quit and went to Captain America’s side. Spider-Man did not know this, but Iron Man was using his suit to analyze his powers and think / develop ways to overcome them.
Safety over Morals?
This same theme comes into Team Iron Man as well. Is Tony Stark going his own morals for the greater good? Is he moving past his thinking that saving the world is his personal responsibility by willing to work with other heroes and opening up to the public? These questions are unusual for someone like Tony Stark, they are unusual because he is ultimately always for personal gain no matter what.
With the SRA is Tony thinking about the greater good of the public? Fewer people would die if superheroes / superhumans have control over what exactly they are and getting proper tools to help them with their superpowers. Things like the Secret War and Hulk killing 26 humans would not have happened… would it? Is this a situation that even if the SRA was abided by or not, there are still going to be superhumans / superheroes that do not give a darn about the Act and will move or become stealth and never be found. Since they haven’t registered, they are not in the system because this would be the first time they would have to register to begin with.
This calls a ton of morals into play, especially for Iron Man and Captain America. Are the morals switched? Does Captain America have the best morals as he’s previously had in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the comics as well? And, is Tony, for once, actually thinking about saving humanity or whatever is left of it? Does Iron Man feel accountable for the lives lost in New York during The Avengers and the PTSD he goes through during Iron Man 3?
Then you also have to think about the SRA Act and how it would affect Tony Stark. It would not. Everyone knows Tony Stark is Iron Man. So unmasking himself in front of the government would not affect him in any way; so, that is something to think upon. Is Iron Man really in it for himself or to see who other superheroes are / or superhumans so he knows who is out there?
The End of a Civil War
The end of the Civil War is something that changed the Marvel Universe for a while. In the end, Tony Stark won, but did he actually win. Captain America surrendered. In the end, Captain America surrendered because he did not want to risk more damage or even bloodshed. So, that leaves you with the question here. At the end of the Civil War was it really Captain America that won? He surrendered because he did not want to risk bloodshed or more damage to anyone because of this war and Iron Man did. So, in the long run, who really won?
What do you think? Leave a comment.