[Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Civil War II and post-CWII comics.]
Whether or not you’re a fan of Marvel’s Civil War II, the mega-event undeniably had a major effect on the Marvel Universe. The fallout from the sequel to the first superhero schism has once again left a trail of death, injury, and wounded pride in its wake. As “Divided We Stand” begins the latest wave of story arcs, the publisher's heroic rosters mourn for their casualties, try to pick up the pieces, and move on with their lives and their eternal fight against the forces of evil.
But some of the mightiest characters have fallen in the process, while others are shifting gears and trying to find new meaning after the tragic inwardly-turned conflict. Even still, new and surprising heroes are stepping into to classic roles. Of the dozens of shakeups unfolding in the rubble of Civil War II, we’ve compiled some of the wildest alterations to the Marvel Universe.
Here are a few of shocking moments which will affect the lives of our favorite heroes in the coming months.
16 Iron Man Is Missing and Presumed Dead?
Although the final fate of Tony Stark won’t be officially revealed until issue #7 of Civil War II (in all likelihood), several recent issues from the Marvel NOW! fall lineup have teased a less-than-pleasant end for the Golden Avenger. The final issue of The Ultimates (#12) insinuated, via a magazine cover, that Tony was either missing or dead. The first issue of Infamous Iron Man also alluded to an event which took place on national TV where Tony was killed (or teleported away or put on life support for all Marvel's actually revealing).
However, when Victor Von Doom slips into Stark Industries to borrow a cup of 'Iron Man suit,' Stark returns to life – at least in AI-form – as his own Friday. It seems there are yet a few of Tony Stark's nine-thousand lives left.
15 Galactus Recruits the Ultimates
After the Secret Wars, things began to change in a major way for Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds. Members of the Ultimates squad effectively took him to Interstellar Over-Eaters Anonymous by forcing him inside his own galactic Incubator. When the dust settled, the World Devourer had become the Lifebringer and was now a ‘positive’ force in the universe.
All was not well with Eternity, though. Galactus discovered that the Cosmic Power was being constricted by an unknown force. In order to combat the whom- or whatever was constricting the dimensional representation, he transforms the on-again, off-again adversary the Blue Marvel a.k.a. Conner Sims into his herald (after Sims broke out of jail thanks to Thanos’ goading). Conner’s first task is to bring the scattered Ultimates to the Lifebringer, so they can become his next heralds and help him in investigating the ties that bind the ruler of time.
14 Steve Rogers Is Responsible for Civil War II?
While the conflict spiraled out of control in Civil War II #5, the pages of Captain America: Steve Rogers #5 simultaneously revealed a slightly different version of events – as well as an assault that almost took place. It turns out Steve (and his Hydra cronies) was more involved in the superhero meltdown than just as a Team Iron Man booster. The issue spells out just how close Hydra was to an all-out assault on the collected heroes before the predictive powers of Ulysses came to light. Captain America also set in motion events which brought the battle to a head, including Bruce Banner’s death – by feeding Banner's fears of a Hulk-resurgence and convincing him to restart his gamma radiation research.
Apparently, Rogers was also moments away from taking out the Inhumans’ new prophet as well. At this point, though, the future looks murky for the turncoat Captain. The next round of Civil War II could witness the end of Rogers... or his outing as a double agent (or neither).
13 Hulk Returns as Zombie Hulk
Speaking of Bruce Banner, his death in the pages of Civil War II turned out to be one of the most serious shockers of the superhero clash thus far. His murder by one of Clint Barton’s (Hawkeye) arrows gave the major event a no-one’s-safe vibe after James “War Machine” Rhodes was killed in battle and She-Hulk Jessica Walters nearly lost her life as well. Nonetheless, the Hulk’s demise seems to have been a short-lived one, at least to a degree.
After being disbanded by Steve Rogers (more on that later), the Uncanny Avengers teleported to Japan to stop the nefarious ninja clan The Hand from reanimating Bruce Banner into an undead wrecking ball. Unfortunately, they were too late, and issue 16 will feature, in all likelihood, a reanimated (and very unhappy) Hulk. Yikes.
12 The New Universe Sneaks into the Marvel Universe
Al Ewing and Christian Ward’s Ultimates finale packs in a heck of a lot of new developments for the Marvel Universe in and of itself. Issue #12 starts the disbanding of the squadron, explores new developments in the cosmic end of things, and even features the sneaky re-appropriation of an older, less-beloved Marvel Universe. NSA agent Philip Nelson Vogt, who’s had the Ultimates under surveillance for some time, has also been assembling a team of super humans: the Troubleshooters.
The team is pulled lock, stock, and barrel from former Marvel Editor-in-Chief Jim Shooter’s more realistic comic book realm from the mid-80s, the New Universe. The characters (as well as the team name) are analogues to the NU, including Kathy Ling (of NU title Psi-Force) Col. Terry Jessup (Tyrone Jessup also from Psi-Force) Col. Jim Tensen (aka John Tenson/Justice), Col. Dionne McQuaid (aka Indigo from the DP7 series), and Simon Rodstvow (a New U villain).
At this point, it’s unclear whether the Troubleshooters will be the sole residents of the throwback New Universe to cross over, or how long they’ll remain in the saga as anti-Ultimates operatives for the NSA. It will be interesting to see what happens when Ultimates2 relaunches shortly.
11 The X-Men Have Apocalypse Chained in Their Basement
The Extraordinary X-Men, in concert with the hit or miss X-Men: Apocalypse, have been fighting the good fight in the “Apocalypse Wars.” Metallic Russian Colossus was conscripted into future Apocalypse’s Four Horsemen, and the team tries to track him down in an effort to restore him. After realizing that destroying Apocalypse would collapse all of his Omega Worlds and kill billions, the X-Men instead captured the mortally-wounded villain and chained him in the basement of X-Haven.
Well, not technically chained, but he’s definitely locked up in a first-mutant-proof cage. Weakened in powers but not in banter, Apocalypse continues to taunt the team while they search for Piotr within the tenuously balanced Omega Worlds. How long will his health last? How much more of his mind games will it take before someone cracks and lets him out? Hopefully, some of these answers will be satisfactorily revealed this month.
10 Steve Rogers Disbands the Uncanny Avengers
Things have been pretty rough on the Uncanny Avengers as of late. It’s not enough that their boss is a secret Hydra goon (shhhhh), and their superhero comrades were embroiled in a civil war. On top of all that, the X-members of the team are facing extinction thanks to the Inhumans' roving Terrigen mists. While running a few covert sorties on U.S. military installations to gather research data on Terrigen, Cable and his cohorts’ endeavors are discovered by Captain America. One internal skirmish later and the Hydra Avenger disbands the entire team – unfortunately right before Doctor Voodoo discovered The Hand has Hulk’s corpse.
Rapidly assembling, the team heads to stop the desecration of Bruce Banner without being properly notified about getting their walking papers.
9 Jessica Jones Investigates Her Missing Daughter and the Multiverse
It’s been nearly ten years since Jessica Jones ran amok in the pages of her own solo book (but has certainly been busy fighting baddies in the pages of the New Avengers, raising a baby with Luke Cage, and starring in a popular Netflix series). Busy or not, after a mysterious stint in the super-villain prison known as the Cellar, Jessica’s Alias Investigations reopens its doors. But things haven't gone particularly well since.
For one, Misty Knight is trying to kick her butt and all of her friends are either concerned about or angry with her. Then, there's the little matter of her missing daughter Danielle, something Luke seems rather irritated with her about, perhaps hinting at some trouble in paradise. In addition, her first case involves a woman who wants her to look into her husband Norman’s (Osborn, perchance?) claims that he's actually married to another woman named Gwen... and has two kids in another realm (shades of the peculiar dissolution and incorporation of the Ultimate Universe since Secret Wars).
8 Mjolnir Is Actually Alive
After Thor's hammer manifested a new power in The Mighty Thor #11, creating a doppelganger of Jane Foster, Marvel unveiled a brand new origin story for the Asgardian weapon in the next issue. Apparently, during the earlier days of the Marvel Universe, the All-Father Odin battled a sentient storm as it came to ravage the Nine Realms. He defeated the judgemental storm in a pitched battle, trapping it within a hunk of the Dwarven metal uru.
After some major blacksmithing efforts on behalf of the dwaves, Mjolnir was forged, awaiting the right time to select a worthy wielder. The hammer is also, it would appear, calling the shots in the days before the War of the Realms brings Asgard and the Shi'ar into conflict.
7 The Ultimates Are Disbanded
After the events of Civil War II leave the superhero community bruised and battered in the public eye, the Ultimates come under heavy fire. Black Panther’s side-swapping moment during the heat of battle, as well as Carol Danvers' terse confrontation with King T’Challa, causes the U.S. Government to fear an international incident with Wakanda.
As a result, the Feds officially disband the cosmic squad - or at least its present iteration. It remains to be seen how long the team remains disbanded with the Ultimates squared reboot on its way, or whether they'll be playing for team Galactus instead of the Earth.
6 Justin Trudeau is Tony Stark’s Buddy
In a fun little bit of literal political in-fighting, Marvel revealed that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is actually friends with Tony Stark (at least in the comic book universe, anyway). During Civil War II: Choosing Sides #5, the current and soon-to-be former Iron Man (it's complicated) spars verbally and physically with the head honcho of the Canadian government.
In the end, the main Maple Leaf drops Stark, while simultaneously critiquing Tony and Carol Danvers for not doing enough to find a middle ground... and offering up plenty of apologies, since he's, you know, Canadian. Touché, Trudeau.
5 Cyclops Wages War on the Inhumans
Okay, so technically this event took place before the MU-rending civic disturbance. But the details of how Scott Summers became feared and hated around the world are only coming out now, so it sort of counts. In any case, the Terrigen Mists have been awakening Inhumans around the globe, but the X-Men only discovered the downside of the clouds recently: they cause illness and death for mutants.
In a startling and suspiciously rash move, Cyclops and Emma Frost recruit zealous mutant crusader Magneto to battle the Inhumans – who are at present working tenuously with Storm and her team to find a cure. As Magneto and the joint Inhuman-X-Men teams clash in Madrid, Scott Summers puts a secondary plan in action to. It would appear he’s attempting alter the chemical make-up of the Terrigen cloud itself. Waging a war and meddling with the life-bringing mists could very well lead to a Death of X or two. Things are looking rough for both teams before Inhumans vs. X-Men and heading into the ResurreXion reboot.
4 Ultimate Reed Richards Lives and Schemes
With the New Avengers about to be reformatted into the U.S.Avengers, issue 17 reveals that not only is Dum Dum Dugan kind of alive (in suspended animation and replaced by an army of Life Model Decoys by Nick Fury) but that Reed Richards' evil counterpart, The Maker, is also alive and kicking in our universe and beyond.
As it turns out, Owen Reece, the Molecule Man – the same individual responsible for creating Doctor Doom's Battleworld during Secret Wars and aiding the good Richards to rebuild the Multiverse – has also seeded each realm with a twisted version of Reed Richards. The final issue of New Avengers will hopefully provide more clues as to why Molecule Man wants The Maker in every world and what his plans are (even if this Reed is currently in the New Avenger's custody).
3 Nova Prime Richard Rider Makes His Comeback
Original Nova Richard Rider made the ultimate sacrifice to contain Thanos in the Cancerverse during the exciting conclusion to “The Thanos Imperative.” After being trapped between death and memory in the Xandarian Worldmind – the supercomputer which powers the Nova Force – Richard Rider began to exert his individual personality after fellow Nova and earthling Sam Alexander sought advice from the alien AI.
Not long thereafter, Richard appeared on his parent’s front doorstep in New Jersey. Although it's unclear what of his powers remains or whether he'll retain his membership in the Nova Corps, the classic intergalactic hero will be costarring in a new series with his younger corpsman starting this December.
2 X-Men Sapna Is Possessed by the World Devourer
During the chaos of the “Apocalypse Wars,” one of the subplots which actually garnered some attention was Magik’s rescue of a young mutant in India named Sapna, who was infected with M-Pox (the Terrigen clouds). Illyana Rasputin brought her to the Jean Grey School for Higher Learning to treat and watch after the young mystical mutant. Possessing the ability to summon demons, Magik and Doctor Strange discovered a dark entity living in her mind. The young mutant feared its return and fled through the multiverse in search of help with her powers.
Unfortunately, assistance isn’t quite what she found. Instead, the World Devourer (not the Galactus, Devourer of Worlds, mind you) latched onto her powerful young form as a conduit to gain access to Limbo, attacking the X-Haven. In the Extraordinary X-Men #15, the final conflict explodes between the X-Men and their now-possessed student. Will someone finally get suckered into letting Apocalypse out of his cage, or can the team thwart the life-force sucking entity before it expends its host and wipes out the team.
1 The Guardians of the Galaxy Split Up
As if the Civil War II split wasn’t bad enough, the aftermath of the first major conflict found the Guardians' ship C.I.T.T. destroyed by an errant Vision blast and the team stranded on Earth. The cosmic crew didn’t really have much time before things went from bad to worse. While soaking in the full scope of the recent war zone, Gamora discovered Captain Marvel and the Ultimates had captured Thanos – without bothering to notify her even while asking the Guardians to risk their lives for her cause.
The deception led to another conflict, as Danvers battled the Mad Titan’s daughter in the rubble of the Triskelion. Things further escalated when Gamora discovered that Peter Quill knew about the purple chair guy's imprisonment but failed to inform her. Following the latest revelation, mistrust and disgust rippled throughout the ranks of the Guardians, and the once-strong team went their separate ways.
Are there any major Marvel WTF moments we missed? Let us known in the comments.