This week the first trailer for Captain America: Civil War was released for the public. Following the events of Avengers 2 the Sokovia Accords issued by the UN are making superheroes and superpowered beings become accountable to a governing body. This causes a divide in the superhero community leading to a civil war. The Civil War story arc (see here: http://historyandgeekstuff.blogspot.co.uk/2015/02/comics-explained-marvel-civil-war.html) was a major part of the Marvel universe and still remains a major part. This post will deal with what exactly the different sides of the civil war wanted, who supported them and who stayed neutral. Note: this only deals with the comics Civil War and not the upcoming film version.
The pro-registration faction are the superheroes who are willing to register their secret identities with the US government (in the comics only the United States passed the Superhero Registration Act). The general consensus held by these heroes is that by working with the government they can easily save more lives and restore trust between the public and the superhero community. Prior to the passing of the Registration Act a group of young superheroes called the New Warriors tried to fight a powerful group of villains leading to the destruction of Stamford, Connecticut. The Hulk had also caused considerable damage to Las Vegas in his anger and Scarlet Witch had depowered 90% of Earth's mutants. Through all of these reasons several superheroes viewed registration as being the wisest option. Tony Stark aka Iron Man became the de facto leader of the pro-registration forces who would later use his immense fortune and technology to help other pro-registration heroes. The Fantastic Four, Hank Pym, She-Hulk, Ms Marvel, Black Widow and Spider-Man all joined the pro-registration forces. Spider-Man even revealed his secret identity to the public.
During the course of the Civil War the pro-registration forces had been using the Thunderbolts (a group of former supervillains trying to fight for redemption) to help fight the anti-registration forces. When the government started offering pardons to any villain who joined the Thunderbolts quickly many villains joined looking for a way out of prison rather than redemption. These included Venom, Green Goblin and Lady Deathstrike. After the death of Goliath by the robotic clone of Thor made by the pro-registration side several figures joined them including Cable although other heroes did leave to join the anti-registration forces.
The anti-registration forces are the heroes who refuse to subscribe to the Superhero Registration Act and they quickly rally behind the first person to oppose it, Captain America. Captain America opposed it on the principal that it made superheroes little more than government stooges ordered to fight for what the government thinks is right and not what they think is right. Unlike Iron Man's forces many non-powered heroes, vigilantes and younger heroes join the anti-registration side. These include Luke Cage, Iron Fist, Cloak and Dagger, Falcon, the Young Avengers and Daredevil. However Hercules and Goliath are two of Captain America's main fighters until Goliath's death by the hands of the Thor clone. Unlike the pro-registration forces whose primary aim is to arrest heroes not conforming to the Registration Act the anti-registration forces continue to fight villains despite being outlaws themselves.
Following the course of the Civil War membership fluctuates between heroes. With Goliath's death several heroes such as Cable and Nighthawk left to support the pro-registration forces. However, simultaneously the Human Torch, Invisible Woman and Spider-Man joined Captain America in opposing the act. Briefly even the Punisher joined Captain America with the vigilante seeing the pro-registration forces as betraying the ideals of being heroes by siding with the likes of Venom and the Green Goblin. Quickly he was ousted from membership after he shot two villains seeking redemption and was beaten to a pulp by Captain America. In the final battle several heroes that had remained neutral (discussed shortly) joined Captain America. During the battle Captain America saw the damage that they were doing so surrendered to the authorities. Afterwards Luke Cage became the de facto leader of the anti-registration forces.
Several figures did manage to remain neutral during the fighting. Dr Strange for example (pictured above) fasted throughout the war to determine whose side to join and inevitably chose to side with neither. The X-Men were publicly neutral due to them already being registered with the government being the last mutants. The reason for this to both highlight the similarities between the Superhero Registration Act and the Mutant Registration Act as well as stop anti-mutant zealots from having an excuse to attack the last mutants. Although individual X-Men did participate in the war. Cable joined the anti-registration and switched sides, Bishop joined the pro-registration and Wolverine initially was neutral but joined the anti-registration forces. Storm as Queen of Wakanda remained neutral alongside T'Challe aka Black Panther as it was an American and not a Wakandan war. However both showed animosity towards the idea of registration and would join the anti-registration forces following the death of Goliath. Namor the Sub-Mariner too was neutral only being concerned in getting revenge for his cousin, Namorita, who was killed by Nitro but in the final battle he joined the anti-registration forces. Although against registration Jessica Jones chose not to fight moving to Canada while the Thing moved to France in anger over the death of Goliath. Both would later return, the Thing in the final battle to help civilians and Jessica as a way to find her husband (Luke Cage) registering her identity simultaneously.
I hope that has made understanding the comic version of the Civil War somewhat easier. I hope to see you next time.