The Marvel Universe has always had problems with masked identities. From the Sentinels and the Mutant Registration Act to Jonah Jameson and his tirades against Spider-Man, masked heroes and villains are usually the object of scorn. However, when a group of heroes inadvertently destroy a small town, the scales of tolerance are tipped and the civilians call for the cataloguing of the super-hero community. The mini-series, "Civil War", details with the inevitable factions that arise and the effects is has on some of the greatest heroes in the Marvel Universe. Caution: Possible spoilers ahead.
The story opens with the Vulture and the Grim Reaper chained to a pillar, supposedly put there by Captain America. However, Maria Hill (Commander of SHIELD) has reason to believe that Cap has gathered other heroes to his side. Meanwhile, several of the heroes who are supporting the Registration Act have taken down a giant Doombot, and are applauded by civilians. She-Hulk asks if they'll still be superheroes after the Registration Act becomes law, and Iron Man answers in the affirmative. He claims that the Act's purpose is to weed out those who are too immature, unskilled, or sociopathic.
Later, at the Baxter Building, Reed Richards (Mister Fantastic) is busily working on Tony Stark's secret plan for the Superhero Community. He explains to his wife (Susan Richards, the Invisible Woman) that if the unlicensed superhero activity is left unchecked, the results could be disastrous. After Sue asks about a compact disk labeled "42", she leaves to visit the hospitalized Johnny Storm (the Human Torch). At some later point, J. Jonah Jameson is busy thinking about how everything the Daily Bugle has campaigned for is about to become law. When asked if the superheroes are really going to sign up, Jonah replies that only the smart ones will.
The Superhero Registration Act becomes law, and twenty-four hours later the Young Avenger known as Patriot is being chased by SHIELD because he stopped a robbery but is unregistered. They eventually catch him and the rest of the Young Avengers, but luckily for them, Captain America and the Falcon have gone undercover as SHIELD agents. While Captain America takes care of one of the SHIELD agents, the Falcon has the Young Avenger Wiccan teleport Cap, Falcon, and the Young Avengers to the base of the resistance.
Elsewhen, Tony Stark is holding a press conference featuring Spider-Man. The purpose of this conference is revealed as Spider-Man unmasks and reveals his secret identity to the world.
As a whole, the story is quite good. We see those who support the Act, those who resist it, and the Act itself going into effect. We are also introduced to the mysterious plan 42, supposedly some sort of prison to keep those who don't go along with the Registration Act. The art is just as good as it was last issue. All in all, a solid issue.
Another solid issue in a very good mini-series. I have issues with the final three pages, but will not go into it here. My personal views shall not intervene with my professional views in these reviews.
Does anyone know if the plan 42 is a nod to the "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy"? I hope it is. In the same vein, despite not wanting to mix personal and professional in these reviews, I have this paraphrasing on the content of the final three pages of this issue: "10 points for style, but minus a million for good sense."