I was really hooked on Civil War (Marvel Comics 2006/7) when it was current. Bought almost every issue in the crossover, company-wide series. I'm now re-reading the Civil War Chronicles, a 12 issue series which reprints key issues of the series.
What I liked:
- the dynamics of how to play off those who think this is a great idea and those who demand the status quo
- they whole dynamic of the mandatory reveal of identity to the gov't
- the Spider-Man identity reveal and the immediate ramifications of it. Kingpin's character, and his ability to plan and take advantage of the Civil War was a good use of the character (similar to what he had done to Daredevil when he discovered his identity)
- the counter intuitive Iron Man on the side of the gov't and Captain America in the role of rebel
- Cap's eventual arrest and the follow-up Death of Captain America were well done
- Seeing the rebels in new secret identities as fun
- The Fantastic Four - Sue Storm (Invisible Woman) was given some character depth for a change - questioning Reed, caring for Johnny - good character development. The "sleep with Reed then run away" revelation was probably an unnecessary plotline. Johnny came out OK as well - victim of a crowd beating, he was unconscious for much of the start, but seemed clear-headed and driven, once recovered. Johnny and Sue undercover as a married couple was humorous, and their feeling creepy was apt. Ben's neutrality was also well played, though a trip to France was maybe overkill and a play to an anti-France bias. Reed came across as a tool, which is a little stornger than he may have deserved - he's supposed to be smart, so his rigidity was difficult to reconcile.
- Speedball to Penance was a good evolution, and seemed to reflect the magnitude of the story
What I didn't like:
- The relatively quick acceptance of super-villains into the role of super-cops to chase down otherwise-heroic figures who's only "crime" was to not register (e.g. make a deal with a murderer to catch a jay-walker)
- The Spider-Man revel leading into the "Brand New Day" resolution (the a-hole idea that Peter Parker would make a deal with the devil (Mephisto) to void his marriage to bring back Aunt May from death).
- The vilification of Iron Man - at least in my opinion, Cap kept his morals more or less intact, while Iron Man took his role of super-cop to an unhealthy extreme
- I found the roles on the pro-registration side to be a little too rigid - seemed to belittle Reed Richards and Tony Stark in particular (this may be somewhat the result of my leaning towards the Cap side in the war)
- Iron Man's unethical behaviour vis a vis Peter Parker - aside from trying to get him onside (which I'll accept, particularly if Tony thinks that is the right thing to do anyway), but giving Spider-Man an armoured suit that monitors and undermines his powers is pretty unethical, particularly as Peter was operating as a disciple at the point Tony gave him a suit. Only a really untrustworthy person would trick and trap somebody who's body and soul onside. This entire relationship seemed to weaken Peter to a groupie, and made Tony seem to be a Svengali - a little more balance might have made the story a little stronger.
- Not sure what the revelation the reporters had for Iron Man were supposed to reveal. Is Tony suppose to be a bigger, unethical, immoral person than the entire Registration debacle itself indicates?
- The amount of death, hero, villain and civilian was astounding and didn't seem to appropriately resonate with the characters. Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic should have been crushed that Bill Foster was KILLED by their cloned Thor. Civilian deaths are rarely mentioned, and usually directly the fault of the villain - never attributable to the "hero". This change of status should have been a bigger deal. Think about the Gwen Stacy death or Captain Stacy - these were huge impact events - now 100's of civilians die and the worst that happens is registration.
What really killed me:
- The astounding "revelation" that the hero-vs-hero war in Manhatten, where 53 (57?) civilian people DIED, was required for Cap to realize that there was damage being done and surrender
- Remember, this whole episode was based upon collateral damage done when the New Warriors tried to capture some super-villains for a reality TV show - Nitro exploded and civilians were lost) - why does EXACTLY the same thing need to happen for this realization to come to the fore?
- The story basically called for a "final battle", but maybe when the forces arrayed, Cap could have surrendered because as a former soldier, he'd see what damage would be caused, regardless of who would eventually emerge victorious. He would have seemed heroic - not so much when the battle has to take down an whole neighbourhood before he clues in.
- Not happy with the outcome of the Spider-Man story line - the "Brand New Day" stuff was a cop-out and a sell-off of the Peter Parker character.
The resolution took me from a renewed, rabid Marvel comic reader, to a very disillusioned one. The stupidity of the characters destroying Manhattan didn't resonate as ironic, it resonated as merely stupid. If they are that insane, they might as well be the "next generation" heroes of the Kingdom Come DC story line. I was really taken with this story line, and was very disappointed with the conclusion.