15 Things Wrong with Marvel’s Civil War – AT4W

15 things wrong with Marvel’s event comic about heroes fighting heroes! …one of them, anyway…

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About Linkara

Atop the Fourth Wall is a show about bad comic books. Linkara finds the surreal and the stupid and breaks them down page by page. You'll know why they're idiotic and how they can be improved.


  1. Please do Civil war: frontline one day, that speech was so awful

  2. TragicGuineaPig

    “Fleeing the country to escape punishment.”

    Well, it is hell. So I don’t think a case of “escaping punishment” can be made.

  3. MightyDavidson

    Another thing about Mr. Fantastic in this story: the government in the Marvel Universe has always been anti-mutant. They regularly support Henry Peter Gyrich and his anti mutant Project and has financed the mutant killing Sentinels. His own children ARE mutants and the registration act would’ve put his children at the mercy of said mutant haters.


    The amount of facepalming moments in this storyline still annoys me to this day.

  5. Also they talk about it in the ties-in , but Nitro was on superpower growth hormone hence why the explosion was stronger

    • To be fair, it was one of those issues where Wolverine’s healing factor was now higher than most anime villains’. So the scale of those powers do fluctuate for no reason all the time.

  6. Happy 4th of July Linkara! I look forward to your first Deep Space Nine comic review 😀

  7. Joel Martinsson

    I think you missed what I would consider a very valid problem; that all of this happens due to a law passed by Congress… Heroes that have fought interplanetary wars submitting to the laws of… Congress. They have seen intragalactic empires try to wipe eachother out etc. etc. and they immediately submit to… Congress. Not the UN (Which was a great rewrite in the movie) but the lawmakers of one specific nation on earth (An institution that has essentially become a joke by now). Just baffles me.

    Also couple of points:
    1. Pym was a skrull during Civil War though so I guess you can cut him some slack. Mr. Fantastic and Stark wasn’t.
    2. It was revealed (not sure in CW tie-ins or afterwards) that Nitro had essentially been given superhuman steroids (I.E. Substance that increases superhuman abilities) so that’s why even to the characters, he was more powerful than they anticipated. Also the outrage was more over the fact that undertrained kids through recklessness and for the purpose of making a reality show triggered the explosion. It’s especially the reality show angle that pisses people off.

    That being said I guess I can say that I definitely don’t like CW I don’t regret reading it. Not because it’s a fun read or anything but it’s a good demonstration that you need more than a great concept and interesting themes to write a good crossover. And also because it was ballsy. It tried, failed, but atleast it didn’t try to play it safe.

    • Joel Martinsson

      Addendum to my first paragraph: And the fact that this law is apparently passed instantly and everybody just bends over and acts on it directly almost without debate or revision.

    • to be fair, most, if not all, of the heroes involved in Civil War live and operate within the US so they would be subject to the laws of the country they’re in. Congress makes the laws(unless the PotUS vetoes it) If I recall correctly they’re was a point made of a handful of heroes moving to Canada so they wouldn’t have to deal with registration.

      • Joel Martinsson

        Yeah I know but it makes no snese that heroes that definitely should have a larger perspective on things (having interstellar experience and all) would instantly obey a single goverments rules. They should, if any people, realise that laws can be flawed or downright wrong.

  8. Sounds like the MCU has done a much better job with its storylines than the comics did.

  9. Can you talk more about Thor’s hair and wear your Iron Man mask again someday? Please?

    Maybe the reason they reacted when that bloke blew up, was because in the Marvel unizerse, 9/11 had happened so they were very nervous about this

    Mess…this comic’s a mess… it’s a cool idea, but my gosh, I hate it when fiction i forced to become political
    As for the act…I think both sides make sense and that, if everyone had actually had some sort of logical discussion on the matter, a good understanding could be reached
    The movie does a better job…what with it being amazing and alll

    I groaned when Mark Millar was brought up: is Frank Miller a relative of his or just mentor?

    Great review; can’t wait for next week

  10. personally i think the best civil war story is ben grimm saying “Screw you guys! im going to france! XD

  11. I haven’t yet read Marvel’s Civil War event comic, but I’ve played the game Marvel: Ultimate Alliance 2 and obviously seen the movie Captain America: Civil War. So, this will be interesting to see some of the things people see wrong with the original article.

    1. At least the movie poster to Captain America: Civil War got it right with #TeamCap and #TeamIronMan facing and ready to fight each other.
    2. You know what else we got from Spider-Man’s unmasking to the public? EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS IN “ONE MORE DAY!”
    3. And another thing to bring up from the movie: There is a super human prison on Earth in the middle of the ocean called The Raft, based on the Marvel Universe location of the same name. It was established a year before the Civil War event.
    4. The same thing happened in the movie where Crossbones tries to blow himself up with Cap, The Scarlet Witch tries to use her powers to launch Crossbones into the sky, but the blast hit’s a building while killing several people. But at least it wasn’t hundreds of people, and they’ve established what happened in The Avengers, The Winter Soldier, and Age of Ultron.
    5. Thankfully Maria Hill was more likeable in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where she was played by that Canadian chick who wants us to go to the mall… today.
    6. KEEP IT CLASSY, MARVEL. Thankfully, we had no hero deaths in the movie.
    7. And now we know why Thor was NOT in the Civil War movie. But at least we’ll see him, and The Hulk, again in 2017’s Thor: Ragnarok.
    8. Thank Christ that Robert Downey, Jr. acted nothing like this, because he always knows how to play Tony Stark as the genius, billionaire, playboy, philanthropist we loved since the first Iron Man.
    9. At least Cap here hasn’t been injected with the false memory of him being a Hydra agent since before Project: Rebirth. …Just pray to God that we don’t see THAT happen in the MCU.
    10. Captain America in that one panel looks like he’s being played by Sylvester “I AM THE LAW” Stallone.
    11. Yeah, I admit that villains joining the Pro-Registration side sounds like a really, really bad idea.
    12. Spider-Man is being arrested, because… Um… The Kool-Aid Man is red.
    13. Say what you will about the Tim Story Fantastic Four movies, but Mr. Fantastic was more likeable in those movies than he is here.
    14. I also agree that it’s a good thing that the movie didn’t end like this.
    15. Speaking as someone also in the Anti-Registration side of the argument, saying that the Pro-Registration side is always right is like saying that the Nazis should have won WW2.

    Finally, a review of a Star Trek DS9 comic next week.

  12. Did you see the second Purge movie Linkara? That actually isn’t as true of that universe as you might think.

  13. 1 – Yeah, you did start with the least bad thing first.
    2 – And it lead to “One More Day”.
    3 – No Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy joke? (yes, the credits!)
    4 – And then he became Penance.
    5 – Glad I never heard of her.
    6 – Yeah, he comes back.
    7 – At least HE wasn’t black.
    8 – Seriously, mention “One More Day”!
    9 – I KNEW the Punisher was the most rational one there.
    10 – I wish she was hotter.
    11 – Wasn’t Penance in that?
    12 – Yeah, a mention!
    13 – That “Great Continuity” was getting a tad annoying.
    14 – That was such a good movie.
    15 – Happy 4th of July to you too, dude.

  14. I think that you’re nitpicking with the Goliath death. Yes, it’s unfortunate but I don’t think it was intentional or anything. In real life, I think that 60% of people would be supervillains, to be honest. Oh, and from you were showing, yeah, they DID make Captain America a douchebag.

  15. In regards to 15, how would this differ from something like Watchmen?

  16. On the thing that kicked off Civil War: yes Linkara, hundreds of people have died and tragedies are almost regular…BUT THEY’RE USUALLY NOT ON LIVE TV, YA GIT. The whole reason anyone gave two shits is cause it was on TV. You know…like the 9/11 attack was! Even though irl that’s actually something fucking world changing and horrible, not a regular occurrence. So yeah whoops.
    Also yeah, basically a huge hole in a lot of Civil War’s logic is the fact that they forget Super Villains exist even when they say there’s some middle tier guys being on the anti-registration side. I’m surprised you didn’t mention Maria Hill being a dumb ass in equivalence to this because at the climax of the series her plan was to seal EVERY SUPER HERO IN THE NEGATIVE ZONE. She literally forgot Super Villains existed and there are a shit ton who hadn’t been caught yet.
    Maria Hill is honestly just Marvel trying to do Amanda Waller but they fucked it up super hard and got DC animated movies Waller from the Suicide Squad animated movie. You know the fucking idiot who decided to send the Squad after the one person who could remove the bombs from them. Same level of stupid.
    As for Pro-Registration being right…I mean, the actions of that side were absolutely in the wrong no matter how much Marvel and Mark Millar tried to act like they were the good guys in this. But the idea of registering super heroes with Shield for training, or having an accountable overhead organization managing things…is the right idea even if casualties would still happen. They present the argument for it better in the movie and in a lot of stuff following this, especially in other media like the current running cartoons (now that they’ve stepped away from that weird mid 2000s style of humor the first seasons had), where Shield ISN’T TAKEN OVER AND OBLITERATED BY HYDRA FROM WITHIN- it shows the positive effects of training and oversight.

    ALSO yeah, you know what makes Caps whole personal freedoms thing and for the people shit hilarious? In Civil War II he’s on the Pro-Minority Report side. Because…that makes sense. Except it doesn’t, even with the Hydra Brainwashing.

    • Except they are ya git. There is absolutely no way any of the events that Linkara mentioned were not getting news coverage, at least the ones on Earth. Heck the death of that town’s populace in the ROM books was explicitly given TV coverage. The war against the Dire Wraiths involved every superhero on Earth and the friggin military and was shown to cause widespread destruction.

      So why does the comparatively smaller incident in Stamford cause backlash against the heroes when it’s clearly the work of a villain? As in….THERE’S LIVE TV FOOTAGE OF THE SUPERVILLAIN BEING RESPONSIBLE.

  17. Nice review, but the part where he talks about the artwork is complete bullshit. I get that he can have his opinion on a style he personally dislikes, or point out that something looks strange to him, but he should seriously stop trying to explain how something should be drawn. Most of his advices would make a comic look really stiff and clunky, or even lifeless.
    A comic panel is NOT a photograph, Linkara has seriously no clue about how a comic should be drawn.
    A panel is a sequence or a movement condensed into a single picture. Therefor motion or expressions can get exaggerated, to prevent exactly what Linkara demands here, a panel looking like a photo. That is a bad thing because it sucks out all of the motion and gives the impression that time has stopped instead of creating a nicely flowing narrative.
    Going by what Linkara said, a photo novelle would be the ideal way of storytelling in a comic. That is a very simplified view, only a beginner could have. Go look up some photo novells and you will quickly see, why this is not the way to go. A photo could NEVER catch a sequence or a movement condensed to the point it needs to create a flowing narrative in a comic, an image that looks like it’s alive.

  18. As a huge marvel fanboy, I can say am not even mad. I do have a soft spot for civil war however, it was the event that turned me from a casual buyer to someone who needs a stack every week. I do have a couple notes.

    1. Nitro was drugged out on Mutant Growth Hormone at the time. I forget if they cover this in the main book or one of the many many side books. The drug greatly increased his power, he is normally not that dangerous.

    2. Pym was later retconned to be a skrull for the entirety of Civil War. Leaving him blameless, or in fact as he did when he came back to earth blame Tony for both Civil War and Secret Invasion.

    3. Speaking of Skrulls am not sure if this was ever intended or something they came up with later but apparently skulls pushed the Civil War greatly in an effort to weed out heros and earn spots on the 50 state initiative. Effectively letting the government put them in key spots across the map, of course all the main fights of that event took place in NYC anyway so am not sure what was the point.

    4. Retconning of why Tony was such a dick. It was later said that the extremis virus tony implanted in himself was making him act more aggressive then he normally be. This is followed by Dark Reign when it was tony’s turn to be against the government, that Green Goblin now controlled, erased his own brain. He had a back up of his brain downloaded but it was an older copy that did not remember the Civil War. It was an incredibly bullshit way of making Tony Stark no longer responsible for his actions.

    In anycase, there where a number of good stories that followed this and some good tie ins. So I can’t be completely made at Civil War’s existence. Am glad you did this list Linkara.

  19. To me, superhuman registration is not something that should be addressed unless you’re prepared to go all the way with it, a la watchmen. And they tried to make it some kind of serious political allegory, but they botched and half assed it completely. It wasn’t an argument between two reasonable but opposing sides, it was an argument of “fascist, forced conscription” vs “complete lack of oversight or accountability”. And unfortunately they almost had to do it that way, because there’s no reasonable argument you could have over having *some* kind of official oversight or training. Superheroes acting unto themselves as free agents is in one of those things in comics that we best not think too hard about, like teenage sidekicks. The debate over registration is like having a debate over whether or not it’s okay to put minors in life or death situations- its just one of those things that you don’t think too hard about, because if you did, I don’t think there’s any reasonable opposition to be made against *some* form of registration. (That is, in *theory*, not talking about the fascist insanity brought about by Tony Stark and co- it’s as if Millar said, “well, complete opposition to any kind of oversight is kind of nuts, so let’s make the pro-reg side even MORE nuts!”)

    The movie handled the issue so much better and so much more intelligently. It wasn’t about whether all superheroes shouldbe registered, it was about whether a specific group, the Avengers, should be under the authority of another specific group, the UN. And some legitimate points were raised by Cap and his side- namely they operate best if they’re not a political chess piece. While I still lean towards registration, I understood both sides, and even though they had to come to blows, both sides were generally behaving pretty reasonably.

    • if I remember right some of the heroes had issues of trust with the government. Meaning they didn’t trust the government to keep their secret identity… secret and try to blackmailing them into doing things they normally wouldn’t

  20. Then the Pleasant Hill stuff that happened recently proves Maria Hill is incompetant

  21. Robert Bob Bobson

    Reed and Tony actually did weaponize the sun into a death ray- they called it Sol’s Hammer, and used it to destroy the invading Shi’ar army in Time Runs Out.

  22. To be fair, it’s not as much Scientists are evil as it is Warren Ellis was right, The Fan4stick should be shot on sight, oh Dr. Doom, our savior in Latveria, were art thou? But I digress, my point is, when it comes to marvel, their scientist superheroes are Lex Luthors and their scientist supervilains are Batmen – I mean just look a Dr. Doom.

    • Dr. Doom? The man who once trapped a child in Hell over an incident that happened in childhood that said child didn’t even know about? The man who regularly tries to enslave the world? The man who once sacrificed his ex-girlfriend to receive power? That Dr. Doom?

      Afraid your Dr. Doom = Batman theorem doesn’t hold up there dude.

  23. Now that I think on it a bit, I kinda wish they did have this be the result of some villain’s scheme. I think it would make a whole lot more sense if it was. For starters it would explain why Tony Stark and Reed Richards are acting so out of character and how the SRA got passed so quickly, I mean seriously even if Congress agreed on it 100% (which seems unlikely right there) the process should’ve taken months at the very least. The plot of a mind controlling supervillain would’ve explained all that.

  24. Linkara,

    For the first time, I had trouble when playing the video on the Screenwave Player. I’d click play. Your video would start, but then an ad would start in over it without a SKIP button.

    On to YouTube.

  25. 1: Pet peeve, I guess? Never really bothered me.
    2: Loved the idea! Too bad it was followed up by One More Day…
    3: You haven’t even mentioned the fun part… the prison is technically still there. Until somebody retcons it, there’s still people in that prison at this day. The guards have fled the prison years ago and the people left are left to their own.
    4: One of the few points I disagree on here. It was not THIS incident alone. There were many incidents. But the one that cause the act to be written in the first place was Hulk Smashing Las Vegas. The Stamford incident just sped up things. And Nitro was pumped on steroids, amplifying his super strength. He even admitted he didn’t knew he could explode on this scale to Wolverine.
    5: True. No discussions there.
    6: Yeah, total facepalm worthy. Sad trend in Superhero comics, actually. You could make a list of Black heroes that have died for literally no reason other than: “We need somebody to die. Quick, let’s grab a black guy!”
    7: F**k Ragnarok. Best scene was when Hercules smashed him. Nuff said.
    8: Totally. Never liked Iron Man, and this kind of put him in the ideal villain position for me.
    9: Actually, you’re pretty spot on with the comparison to Ultimate Cap. Never thought of it this way, but you’re right. wow…
    10: Hah… Some of the panels are really hilarious. But overall I liked the art of this event. Unlike some other events where the art is all over the place (cough*Axis*cough)
    11: Yeah, the Thunderbolts by itself would’ve been a good idea. But these guys, seriously. Were they trying to turn Iron Man into a supervillain?
    12: Yeah, the whole “If you register, you must hunt down others” was Cap’s main point exactly. Again, this would’ve worked if at the end of the event Cap would win and Tony would be the villain. But the way the event actually ended, this doesn’t make any damn sense.
    13: Isn’t he like… most of the time? I never cared about Mr. Fantastic a lot, tbh. But he’s weirdly apathic in this event, considering the stuff he’s done and did before (and after) the actual event.
    14: You have a valid point, but it was a nice twist nobody saw coming at the time.
    15: And that is the weird part. The entire event had been written for Cap to win and Tony be a villain. It didn’t make sense the way it ended. Tony openly ordered people to attack Spider-Man. He set villains on the loose; he built a gigantic prison in another dimension to imprison heroes and it goes on like that. He’s a bona fide supervillain. So have him technically win and his side be the ‘right’ side according to Marvel and the writer is so wrong. It’s then also quite funny that a few years later, an actual Supervillain gets to be in charge of SHIELD and the entire superhero community.

  26. The most face-palming thing about Cap being arrested is that he’s already registered. He’s been on the books as an agent of the government since WWII. It’s like preparing to pass a gun control law and , right before the law is signed, going out and beating up a cop because he has a gun on him.

  27. Have you seen U.S.Avengers I know its not out yet but just looking at the promos it looks like something u should reveiw

  28. I never read much of the Civil War comics, just the first one or two, and I think one spiderman tie in.

    Recently though I’ve been diving into Moon Knight comics and found his part in the Civil War. And it was just… weird.

    1) Iron Man doesn’t want to recruit Moon Knight. He wants him to be an exception to the rule because he thinks trying to bring him in would make Moon Knight unstable and his condition worse.

    2) Captain America sees Iron Man talking to Moon Knight, goes to visit him while dressed as a soldier… and then tells Moon Knight to stay on the sidelines and that he would rather trust the Punisher than him. And that if he sees Moon Knight step over the line, even with the Civil War Cap would go and take Moon Knight down. And the whole time Khonshu is asking Moon Knight to kill Captain America?

    3) Khonshu tells Moon Knight to register anyways. Iron Man changes his mind and sets up a mental evaluation that he’s sure Moon Knight will fail so they can arrest him. Khonshu intervenes, interviewer ends up bowing down in worship of him.

    4) Moon Knight still acts violent, public getting angry about it (but not about the Thunderbolts and the like?), Iron Man claims they’ll get him under control.

    5) Moon Knight villain ends up getting his hands on some Stark tech that would let him mind control people. He unleashes the nanomachines, Moon Knight doesn’t have time to warn the public as the villain unleashed it during a public parade with some heroes involved, ends up pushing the villain off of the roof and killing him.

    6) Iron Man has enough, decides that Moon Knight needs to be brought in. Finds out afterwards that the villain had been using Stark tech but… doesn’t change his mind to keep public faith?

    7) Shield starts hunting Moon Knight, take too long, Thunderbolts are called in, they nearly kill Moon Knight, Moon Knight has to fake his death to get away and his Marc Spector identity dies for a while.

    Both Cap and Iron Man act like complete jerks and while Moon Knight’s actions were spot on (though Khonshu wanting Cap dead was a bit weird), the whole thing was just… off when it came to the actions of others. Cap not trusting Moon Knight but trusting Punisher? Iron Man not willing to stand up for Moon Knight and (reluctantly) standing aside when the Thunderbolts are put on the trail? Just…. bleh.

    The concept was solid for Civil War as a whole. The execution was bad.

  29. I’m fine with the idea of super heroes having to be registered. I’m not fine with the idea that super heroes who are registered are placed under the command of the government. It’s like if you weren’t allowed to own a firearm unless you joined the army, only even more stupid because some people in this analogy would have just been born with guns or have been given a gun by accident. Except even more stupid than that because super powers have so many potential, utilitarian uses which, be honest, is why you fantasize about having them like 75% of the time.

    I hated this comic for years and always hoped you’d take a couple good shots at it ever since One More Day because of two main things. One; Heroes fighting each other instead of the villains. This made me painfully aware of that obnoxious trend in crossover material. Ugh. Two; Because one faction was clearly the good guys in the situation but this is supposedly a complex moral dilema. Give me a break. This is like Skyrim or Fallout: New Vegas where you have two (main) factions to choose from and its supposedly not black and white, except one side is objectively more full of complete assholes (though in both of these games its the non-government group) that make it a choice of “Do I support the somewhat corrupt but genuinely well meaning group, or do I support the bloodthirsty racists? MAN, TOUGH CALL.”

    • MightyDavidson

      It’s even worse then that Wesley. Nitro was apparently given the Mutant Growth Hormone that boosted his powers by the CEO of Damage Control, in an attempt to increase their profits. The idea being that more supervillain damage meant more work for the company. Wolverine and Namor discovered this in one of the Civil War tie ins, I believe. However because of the events of Civil War the heroes were to busy to investigate this little matter, aside from Wolverine himself and as a result these events never come to light.

      Let me reiterate: the villain got away because of this SRA business. Not only did he get away but his company got the contract to rebuild Stamford so they actually get to profit from their crime as well.

    • The thing is superheroes go well beyond what civilians are legally allowed to do. You’re allowed to defend yourself and others from immediate danger. Your allowed to pursue a fleeing criminal through publicly accessible places and detain them until authorities arrive. That’s it! Your not legally allowed to patrol and look for crimes. Your not allowed to do independent investigations. Your not allowed to break into privat property (aka the villain’s lair) and engage them in combat.

      However, the main problem was the complete inconsistency on what the act actually said. Some indicated that it was like the Selective Service Act, where it was just giving your name. Others made it into a mandatory draft. They also never defined WHO actually had to register. It seemed as though guys like Hawkeye, who have not powers, still had to register because they had advance equipment and put on a mask. It’s like if you stopped a mugging on the way to a Halloween party meant you had to register.

  30. “We’re not fighting for the people anymore…”

    I don’t think Cap meant that in the context of Civil War. What I mean is that I don’t think he was saying that they were fighting for the people when it came to the registration act, but that they (as superheroes) were no longer fighting to protect people like they did before the idea of the registration act was conceived (or, at least, before it was brought to light)… that they’d gotten out of control and were just selfishly fighting amongst themselves now and the rest of the population be damned, and that’s why he felt that he had to surrender… to stop all that they’d done from continuing. To stop the pain they were causing to everyone else.

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