New Avengers: Illuminati
Marvel (May, 2006)
WRITER: Brian Michael Bendis
ARTIST: Alex Maleev
COLORIST: Dave Stewart
LETTERER: Chris Eliopoulos
ASSISTANT EDITORS: Molly /Lazer & Augrey Sitterson
ASSOCIATE EDITOR: Andy Schmidt
EDITOR: Tom Brevoort
After the Kree/Skrull War Iron Man calls together Namor, Professor X, Doctor Strange, Mister Fantastic, Black Bolt, and Black Panther to a meeting in Wakanda, wanting to build a UN style coalition of superheroes in case something like this happens again. T’Challa is against it altogether while Reed proposes the heads of the various superteams meet instead, but only in secret, which Namor is not happy about but agrees to. Personally I think the various teams sharing information is a good thing but doing so in secret without the other heroes knowing about it is indeed problematic.
Fast forward to the Hulk smashing Las Vegas and Maria Hill convincing Tony that by not stopping it the Avengers are just as guilty as the Hulk because they’ve never gone all the way to stop him. So Tony convinces everyone except Namor (and Xavier, who for some reason isn’t there–it isn’t until the next meeting that House Of M is brought up and Professor X gone missing after it) that sending the Hulk to another planet is their best bet since they’ve tried everything else. However, it would be without Banner’s approval, which riles Namor and he and Iron Man end up in a physical fight because it’s the Marvel universe. They of course do it without him. I think this an excuse to keep him out of Civil War and leads to World War Hulk, but I’m with Namor for a different reason. It’s the “shouldn’t Batman kill the Joker” argument (though in this case Hill uses Spider-Man and Green Goblin–Spidey gets mentioned a lot in this story strangly) and it’s the same argument we always here. They think the superhero should be like the Punisher–judge, jury, and executioner! That’s not what the heroes do, especially in Banner’s case since he’s also a victim here despite what Strange says about Banner wanting to kill himself if he could. (This was before Marvel decided Banner/Hulk was virtually immortal now.) Tony doesn’t even try to argue the point, which annoys me and does lead into the final portion of this story.
Now it’s the present and Tony warns the heroes (including Namor oddly enough) about the Superhero Registration Act and his belief that they should support it. Namor doesn’t care, figuring the surface will just destroy itself and Atlantis wins by default while Doctor Strange drops out of the group altogether. The others (again, Xavier is missing) agree with Tony, leading to the garbage that is Civil War. That alone makes me not like the comic but it’s Tony’s attitude that I never liked about Civil War. I hated the reason he unmasks and I hate his logic for supporting it. It’s too real world even for Marvel and realizing that none of the writers ever came to a consensus of what the Act even says so they could write properly around it doesn’t help matters. Civil War is everything I don’t want to see in a superhero comic, and I’ll leave Linkara’s video below to explain every other problem with this event, but overall I just want nothing to do with it.
That’s why I’ll be getting this out of my collection. I just hate the whole Civil War concept outright and while I like the idea of the leaders of the hero teams getting together to share information and work together on events too big even for the Avengers without the rest of the superhero community for backup, doing so in secret is a terrible plan and I have issues with this concept as well. If you liked the events that spring from this, it’s worth picking up. For a Bendis story it’s actually told really well, without the intense decompression that usually sullies his stories since he was working on a one-shot (and even then it’s oversized from the usual comic length, not counting the Civil War preview), the art is questionable but gets the job done, and the story matters to the event to come. It’s the event to come I don’t like and while I like the Iron Spider’s reveal most of what comes from this story I’d rather forget.