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Civil War General - Part 6

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In most wars, it would be impossible to get real insight from the generals controlling the action.  But luckily, the only American Civil War being fought this year is taking place in the Marvel Universe.  And the man presiding over the whole thing, moving pieces around as he sees fit is Tom Brevoort, editor extraordinaire.  Tom sat down with Broken Frontier to talk about the build-up and execution of issue #6 of Marvel’s Civil War.

Civil War General - Part One
Civil War General - Part Two
Civil War General - Part Three
Civil War General - Part Four
Civil War General - Part Five

-- SPOILERS AHEAD --

BROKEN FRONTIER: This issue did a nice job tying up tying up some loose ends at the start, while reshuffling the deck dramatically at the end. What were your primary objectives for this penultimate installment? What did you want it to accomplish?

TOM BREVOORT: We’re coming to the close of the story, so issue #6 is all about bringing the conflicts to a boil, and setting up for the climax and the resolution.

BF: The Initiative seems to be shaping up with each passing issue, as a few teams and their base of operations are mentioned—are we talking completely new incarnations of the Champions, Force Works and Spaceknights here? Or do some team rosters bear any resemblance to past versions in Marvel history?

TB: There’s a mix of new characters and concepts, established characters and groups, and established and new characters in new arrangements that are all components of the Initiative concept. So far, the only one we’ve seen on camera have been the new Champions, who are all-new, so far as we know.

BF: Looking at the Fifty-State plan in general, is there anything else you can unveil about it at this point now that The Initiative is kicking off as a follow-up event in its own right with She-Hulk #15 and Thunderbolts #110 this month?

TB: Because we’re not out of CIVIL WAR proper yet, there’s really not all that much I can say about THE INITIATIVE in a post-CIVIL WAR world. And while THUNDERBOLTS #110 is part of the INITIATIVE launch branding, its events may actually take place during CIVIL WAR. But THE INITIATIVE is a large component of the changed Marvel landscape that we’ve been speaking of and hinting at all the way through CIVIL WAR, and we’ll see aspects of where it leaves us in existing books such as CAPTAIN AMERICA, FANTASTIC FOUR and IRON MAN, as well as new books such as OMEGA FLIGHT and AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE.

BF: Reed mentions that during his chat with the president, the pro-registration side has been granted twelve immunities, two of which are destined for Sue and Johnny. Overall, what’s Reed and Tony’s plan for these immunities, and to what extent has the US government granted liberty to use them?

TB: Tony and Reed aren’t looking to create a world in which all of their fellow super heroes are locked up somewhere, so some of their measures have been stopgap as the war has gone on. Their ultimate goal is to bring people around to their way of thinking, and make them see their vision of the future. As part of that, while they’ve struggled with the likes of Captain America, they’re not really looking to put Cap in prison—they know Cap and have fought beside him, and the same goes for most of the other heroes who’re working alongside Cap.

So, part of Tony and Reed’s blueprint is being able to get these rogue elements on the same page with the tide of history, and then see to it that they’re pardoned for any activities during the war, so that they can be productive members of the superhuman community again. Iron Man also implies in that scene that he’s going to be hitting the President up for additional concessions along these lines when he has dinner with him later.

BF: While the Punisher’s holding his one-man raid on the Baxter building, Cap’s seen keeping track of a few heroes (Namor, Wolverine), and he’s checking out comic sites: Golden Eagle Comics, Gutterzombie and Comic Geek Speak. Is a Cap podcast next? [Laughs]

TB: You never know. That drop-in art was all done by Morry Hollowell, so perhaps those are sites that he’s a fan of.

BF: We also see Sue heading underwater to ask for Namor’s help. Clearly, Sue’s feelings for Namor haven’t completely passed. Is their ‘unique relationship’, as Namor calls it, something that will be explored in the future in case Reed stays out of Sue’s picture?

TB: Possibly—it all depends on where things go from here. And certainly, Namor and Sue’s relationship has been given a lot of time and space in the last 40 years already, so the only real question remaining is where, if anywhere, things could go from here.

BF: As Cap and Falcon walk their troops through the strike plan, Diamondback introduces Goldbug and Plunderer as two villains looking to join up. Before Cap can respond to their ‘request’, the Punisher shoots them down in cold blood after which a fight between the two ensues. Rather than give my own analysis, what does this fight say about both Cap and Frank?

TB: Honestly, I’d rather you give your own analysis. Part of CIVIL WAR is allowing the readers to look at the characters in different ways, especially when larger issues are concerned, and allowing each reader to come to their own judgments, both about the issues in question and about the characters. I wouldn’t want to give you an “objective” analysis of that scene or any scene—I’m much more interested in what you and other readers find in it.

BF: Not counting the current Punisher War Journal arc, do these events mean Frank’s done in Civil War proper?

TB: Maybe, maybe not. No more so than the fact that Nighthawk left Cap’s side means that his role was finished.

BF: The fact that Frank shot Goldbug and Plunderer right on the spot was a clever way of preventing the anti-reg side to cross the same moral line the pro-reg side crossed earlier, i.e. bringing on villains to fight Tony, Reed, and the government.

TB: Was it? I would tend to think that the same line was crossed if Cap and his crew decided or even leaned towards bringing the villains on board, whether or not they were shot dead a moment later. But then again, if this is your “read’ on how that sequence works, that’s perfectly valid.

BF: What happens here at Ryker’s is all about setting the stage for the big showdown in the final issue. Since you can’t give anything away about issue #7, let me ask you something else: Did Hulkling already knock out Hank Pym before the start of the issue, or is he posing as the SHIELD agent calling away Hank on page four? That would explain why Maria Hill’s giving him the evil eye, at least…

TB: Hulkling is indeed the SHIELD agent that walks off with Hank—if you look closely at the reflections in Maria Hill’s sunglasses, you can see that Morry gave the agent’s reflection a slightly greenish tinge as a sort of foreshadowing.

BF: Bowing out like we do all the time: what’s your best tease on what’s coming up in Civil War #7 ?

TB: The fight to end all fights, and an ending that’s not what you expect, but what you need, whether you realize it yet or not.

BF: Oh, one more thing: A week after Civil War #5 hit, Wizard named you as the Editor of the Year and picked Joe Quesada as Man of the Year for both your efforts making Civil War happen. In his interview in the issue, Joe said he’s looking forward more to what’s coming up after Civil War than the end of the crossover itself. Do you share that sentiment?

TB: At this point, I’m simply ready for CIVIL WAR to be finished and over with, so I can move onto the next thing. It’s been an exciting ride, but also a grueling one, so it’d be nice to have the thing in the rear view mirror and be able to look ahead a bit more to the stuff that comes afterwards.

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