Marvel’s Civil War is a huge event, weighing in around 100 individual issues. Obviously, we’re not reading nearly that much, and I’ve selected specific issues for you to read that are most relevant to our class. However, the narrative might get a little tricky if you don’t have all of the issues, and it can be hard to remember what happens in which issues. To help you with that, because I’m kind and masochistic, I’ve made this issue guide to help you out. I’ll continue to build it out as we work our way through the event. Required readings will be underlined, and the list will be divided up into parts for easier browsing.
Amazing Spider-Man #529 (Feb 22, 2006)
Tony Stark recruits Peter Parker to work for him and gives him a new, technologically enhanced Spider-Man suit. When Peter asks Tony about his motives, Tony reveals that he wants Peter to be his right-hand man in the upcoming conflict (though he doesn’t explain what that means), and Peter agrees.
Amazing Spider-Man #530 (Mar 22, 2006)
Peter and Tony go to Washington, DC to participate in a closed hearing about the proposed Superhuman Registration Act, which Tony argues against. The hearing does not go well, and as Tony and Peter leave the building, they are attacked by the armored Russian villain Titanium Man. Peter dashes off to change into Spider-Man and battles Titanium Man.
Amazing Spider-Man #531 (Apr 26, 2006)
Spider-Man defeats Titanium Man and Tony goes back for a second day of hearings. This hearing goes a little better, and Tony believes they have helped to slow down the implementation of the proposed law. Peter wonders how Tony seemed to know about the attack, and his suspicions are confirmed for the reader (but not Peter) when Iron Man shows up to pay Titanium Man. Peter watches the news to unwind for the night and sees a breaking report of a disaster in Stamford, Connecticut killing over 600 people.
New Avengers Illuminati (Mar 26, 2006)
A prologue of sorts for Civil War, this issue chronicles the Tony Stark’s formation of an exclusive group of superhuman men to discuss and make decisions about the superhuman community. The group includes Iron Man, Doctor Strange, Professor X, Mr Fantastic, Black Bolt, and Namor. They are responsible for sending the Hulk into space, among other things, and Iron Man tries to convince the group to get on board with the Registration Act and support it in order to prevent worse consequences for superhumans. The group divides over the issue.
Civil War #1 (May 3, 2006)
A team of b-list supers called the New Warriors lead by a guy called Speedball have a reality show. In the course of filming an episode, the heroes attack a house full of known, mostly low-level villains. Nitro, however, is more powerful than expected and as the conflict spills out onto the street Nitro explodes, killing over 600 people in Stamford, Connecticut, many of whom were children at a nearby school. The public is outraged and public opinion of supers rapidly deteriorates, leading to a violent attack on Jonny Storm. Supers gather to discuss the Registration Act, and discord and division begin immediately. SHIELD director Maria Hill tries to have Captain America arrested when he refuses to take down non-compliant supers, and Iron Man, Mr Fantastic, and Yellow Jacket throw their full support behind the government.
She-Hulk #8 (May 24, 2006)
She-Hulk declares herself in favor of the Registration Act, but provides legal service for a couple of former New Warriors who are trying to get a website shut down because it is revealing the identity of all New Warriors, who are then being attacked by the public. Iron Man gives She-Hulk information on who is running the website, and it turns out to be another former New Warrior.
Wolverine #42 (May 24, 2006)
The Stamford tragedy and following events rerun briefly from Wolverine’s point of view. He and Luke Cage discuss the Act, and Wolverine compares it to the treatment of Jew in Nazi Germany. Wolverine decides to hunt down Nitro.
Amazing Spider-Man #532 (May 31, 2006)
Peter and Tony travel back to Washington, DC in the aftermath of Stamford. Tony reveals his identity as Iron Man to the President, and tells Peter that he has to reveal his identity as well. Peter deliberates and discusses options with Mary Jane and Aunt May, and finally decides to comply. He prepares to unmask at a press conference.
Civil War: Frontline #1 (Jun 7, 2006)
A companion limited run series to Civil War, Frontline has two parts. The first part, “Embedded,” follows two journalists reporting on the crisis and comments on the role of the news media in the public perception of events. Spider-Man talks to journalist Sally, explaining why he doesn’t want to unmask and what’s at stake for heroes in keeping their identities secret (this is chronologically before the previous Spider-Man issue). Iron Man unmasks. The second part is “The Accused,” and it follows the story of Speedball, who is remarkably found in upstate New York following the Stamford explosion. It ends with a mashup of Civil War and a poem about Japanese internment during World War II.