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‘Civil War II’ To Explore ‘Minority Report’-Style Ethics of Pre-Crime

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If you know that a crime is going to happen, how far should you go to prevent it? That’s the question at the heart of Marvel’s first 2016 crossover event, according to a piece in Sunday’s New York Daily News reporting on a recent Marvel writing summit for Civil War II. A sequel to the 2007 event Civil War, which inspired this spring’s big Captain America movie, the new series from Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez will see Iron Man go up against Captain Marvel in a battle of ideologies and punching, rather than pitting Stark against previous Civil War opponent (and movie rival) Captain America.

Unsurprisingly, the new Civil War will also include the death of a major Marvel hero. These sacrifices have become standard operating practice for Marvel events — a point that publisher Dan Buckley concedes in the NY Daily News piece, noting, “The death is the marketing hook.”

The original Civil War event pit heroes against each other over the question of whether superheroes should have to register their powers, and ended up making just about everyone look awful. In that instance, Iron Man took the “more security” position (pro-registration) and Captain America, Steve Rogers, took the “more liberty” position (anti-registration).

This time around, a new character with the ability to predict the future provokes the heroes  to ask if it’s fair to curtail, imprison, or punish someone who is expected to commit a crime. Iron Man will find himself heading up the “more liberty” side (against anticipatory enforcement) and Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers, will lead the “more security” side (for anticipatory enforcement). This “future crimes” premise will be familiar to anyone who has seen the Steven Spielberg movie Minority Report, or read the Philip K. Dick short story that it’s based on.

 

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Early promotional artwork (above) implied that the new Captain America, Sam Wilson, would be Iron Man’s chief opponent in the story, and perhaps that fight will occur at some point in the event. The latest art released by Marvel shows Cap and Iron Man on the same side, along with Star-Lord of the Guardians of the Galaxy, while Captain Marvel’s side includes hero and lawyer She-Hulk, and prominent power/reponsibility intersectionality advocate Spider-Man. (In spite of this, it kinda seems like Captain Marvel’s team wants to do away with the due process of law, but chances are both sides will end up committing horrifying atrocities in the course of the story and everyone will end up sad again.)

Though Bendis and Marquez are the principle authors, other books will tie in, and other creators have played their part in shaping the crossover. The Daily News piece goes into some of the sausage-making, noting that one major character will be murdered to prevent them causing a prophecied cataclysimic event. The article describes how the writers and editors discussed their options (Spider-Man is apparently safe), though the decision was ultimately made by Bendis and editor-in-chief Axel Alonso.

The identity of the sacrificial hero is being kept under wraps for now, but many of Marvel’s biggest and best-known heroes have already been killed off in recent years, including Captain America, Wolverine, Spider-Man, and Thor. Whoever dies will presumably be retired from the comics for a few months, or even a couple of years, and may leave the door open for a new legacy character.

Civil War II begins in June.

 

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