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Civil War #4: Review

Oct 2006
Mark Millar, Steve McNiven

Story Name:

(No title given)

Review & Comments

4 stars

Civil War #4 Review by (February 15, 2010)
Cap’s side: Captain America, Cable, Falcon, Daredevil, Goliath, Cloak and Dagger, Patriot, Wiccan, Hulkling, Hawkeye (Kate Bishop), Vision, Luke Cage, Hercules, Nighthawk, Stature. Iron Man’s side: Iron Man, Spider-Man, Mr. Fantastic, Invisible Woman, The Thing, Thor Clone, Yellowjacket, Wasp, Radioactive Man, Ms. Marvel, Tigra, Bullseye, Venom (Mac Gargan), Lady Deathstrike, Taskmaster, Jester, Jack 'O Lantern, Songbird. Others: The Watcher, The Punisher. Cap’s medical staff is Dr. Jane Foster and the almost-forgotten Linda Carter (Night Nurse). Requiem: Bill Foster was introduced in AVENGERS #32 (September 1966), became Black Goliath in POWER MAN #24 (April 1975) and meets his end here.

Civil War #4 Review by (August 17, 2014)
CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #6/3 Wonder Man tails Joe from a dip in the bay (where he spoke to another Atlantean). SHIELD tell him just to follow. He does that and finds a warehouse full of other armed Atlanteans. He calls for backup. CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #7/3 Backup arrives in the unauthorised form of Green Goblin. GG attacks the Atlanteans, and also attacks Wonder Man when he tries to help them. GG buries them all with an explosion. The police detectives from #4/3 investigate, and the severely wounded WM manages to tell them about GG. But they think Osborn is still in prison. CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #7/4 Another version of the fight in #7/3. In the spirit of the 3 previous 4th stories, this time the comparison is to the WWI Battle of the Somme.

HEROES FOR HIRE v2 #2 The team bust a black market organ ring and take some suspicious organs to Reed Richards, who finds they are Skrull. They surmise that possibly superhumans are using Skrull implants to become shapechangers to evade Registration. Meanwhile they have located Captain America's Resistance base, where Nick Fury has just informed Cap and Luke Cage about the villains Iron Man has hired. The HfH go there to talk, but Paladin gases everybody and informs SHIELD. HEROES FOR HIRE v2 #3 Shang-Chi avoided being affected by the gas, and takes Paladin down. Cap avoided the worst effects. He and Paladin swap costumes. SHIELD just take away the false Cap. (Shang-Chi hid Luke Cage.) Everyone else wakes up and 'Paladin' reveals himself as Cap. SHIELD gets egg on its face when it delivers the wrong Cap to Iron Man. (SHIELD now know where 1 of the Resistance bases is, but I think they've got more than 1.) We discover that Reed's theory about the use of Skrull implants is right. Tarantula creates a detector for them. A group of implanted villains break Ricadonna out of jail.

CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #7/2 She-Hulk accompanies Speedball in an ambulance. His whole life flashes before him. Then his power returns and produces a shower of energy balls which cause the ambulance to crash. CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #8/2 Maria Hill grills She-Hulk, who was (temporarily) blinded by the explosions. Hill is convinced someone tried to rescue Speedball. She talks to Reed Richards who is examining the unconscious Speedball. The bullet fragmented and is in dangerous places in his body. But also his mutation appears to be evolving. Hill order Reed to wake him mup, even though he will be in extreme pain. She doesn't want to interview him, she wants to send him back to prison as part of the spin she intends to make on the incident. (Reed is using some equipment donated by Sentry. Hill wishes Sentry would take a more active role.) (A janitor in the SHIELD hospital is acting suspiciously?)

Sue (but not Johnny) leaves FF. Iron Man calls in Thunderbolt villains. The following occur between #4 and #5. There are more but I've left some to #5 because some of them fit better as lead-ups to that. CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #6/2 Robbie Baldwin accepts Reed Richards' offer to tell Speedball's side of the story to Congress. She-Hulk accompanies Robbie, who's chosen to be in costume. But a man in the crowd shoots him. CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #7/1 Ben Urich is there. Sally Floyd is still in prison. Congressman Sykes visits her and offers to get her out if she'll 1st listen to him. He persuades her that the SRA *itself* isn't bad, merely the way it's being implemented. Meanwhile Norman Osborn is out of prison and at home. His mysterious benefactor has given him an antidote which falsifies the signal sent by nanobots in his bloodstream (part of the Thunderbolts system for keeping track of the villains they conscript). The government will think they can track him but they can't. In return Osborn will follow the mystery man's orders, later.

CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #3/3 (This starts the 3rd ongoing story 'Sleeper Cell' which will end in #9 - #10-11 only contain the other 2 continuing stories 'Embedded' and 'The Accused'.) Joe, the owner of a pet fish shop, is a disguised Atlantean who discards his disguise when he hears about strange activity and sounds by whales. Before leaving he blows up the store. CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #4/3 1 of the investigating police has the fanciful idea that Joe was a Russian sleeper agent who has been activated by a coded message. We are clued in by accompanying pictures of Sub-Mariner that Joe was an *Atlantean* sleeper agent activated by whale. CIVIL WAR: CHOOSING SIDES #1/1 Songbird, Radioactive Man and Capekillers arrest Venom (Mac Gargan). He agrees to become a Thunderbolt. CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #5/3 Wonder Man makes a PAS commercial for the SRA. SHIELD blackmail him (over his old embezzlement charges) into investigating Joe.

SENSATIONAL SPIDER-MAN v2 #29-31 (These are bannered 'Spider-Man Unmasked'.) Chameleon organises a gang of Electro, Scarecrow, Swarm, Will-o'-the-wisp and a reluctant Molten Man to go after Peter Parker and his family. Mary Jane defeats Swarm. Aunt May stops Chameleon-disguised-as-Peter with some doped cookies. Molten Man kidnaps little Normie to get Liz Allan to lead Peter into a trap. Black Cat helps Spidey defeat them. CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #5/4 Iron Man and Spider-Man arrest some unregistered characters (including Wildstreak). This is likened to the US Civil War Battle of Secessionville. SPIDER-MAN FAMILY v2 #3/2 (This isn't identified as a tie-in.) The female Scorpion is working for SHIELD pretending to be an unregistered heroine to lure real unregistered heroes. But instead she is entrapped by the current Venom (Mac Gargan), who used to be Scorpion and hates her for usurping his name. IRON MAN v4 #13 (1-11.4) Tony Stark records a Public Service Announcement commercial for the Registration Act while remote-controlling his armour with Doc Samson, She-Hulk and Spider-Man against a Dreadnought. Then he turns down a request by Secretary of Defence Kooning that he take over SHIELD. (Meanwhile Karim Mahwash Najeeb, the terrorist turned peace activist from #7-12, has commissioned a search for Mandarin.) (The rest of this issue lies within CW#5.)

IRON MAN/CAPTAIN AMERICA: CASUALTIES OF WAR #1 (Obviously yet another 'Casualties of War' issue.) The 2 prime movers on each side of the Civil War meet in the ruined Avengers Mansion to try to resolve the conflict. They bring up many elements of their share past which illustrate the points made by each side. (Stark mentions plans for Operation Wideawake using Sentinels to track down the Resistance.) But in the end they resort to a brief fight. (Tony Stark removes his armour, except the Extremis undergarment, to make it a fairer fight.) PUNISHER WAR JOURNAL v2 #1 (1-23.3) Reformed Stilt-Man beats Punisher to a villain. Jasper Sitwell of SHIELD hires G W Bridge to go after the unregistered Punisher. He and SHIELD attack him in underground tunnels. Frank Castle decides it's a good idea to get out of town for a while. He goes to Stamford where he runs into Tinkerer, who admits to upgrading Stilt-Man's tech. But he points him in the direction of Stuart Clarke (ex-Rampage) who's doing more of that sort of stuff. Punisher finds Clarke and persuades him to help him. (He calls him his new Microchip.) Clarke gives Castle a tracker that will locate Stark tech that Iron Man has given to villains. (The rest of this issue will be covered with CW#5)

Between the funeral and Invisible Woman leaving the Fantastic Four:- CAPTAIN AMERICA v5 #23 Sharon Carter has fully switched to the Resistance side since the killing of Goliath, but she's still pretending to be loyal to SHIELD. She gives Nick Fury info to facilitate this mission. Winter Soldier, working for NF, slips into a SHIELD base and injects a Fury LMD with nanites that will give the real Fury control. Fury comments that this LMD is 1 of the advanced models that believe they are the real person, which is why everyone has to pretend that they are. (This is a sneaky explanation as to how Fury made so many appearances as head of SHIELD after he had been deposed after his Secret War.) Fury and Bucky are on the Resistance side, and on the way out Bucky deliberately picks a fight with some Capekillers. We also see Red Skull meet with Dr Doom, Skull trades the details of a German castle he excavated (in CA 65th Anniversary Special) for the time-tech he will use to 'kill' Cap. WINTER SOLDIER: WINTER KILLS #1 (This is another 'Casualties of War' issue.) Young Avengers Hawkeye, Patriot and Vision are about to raid what they think is a Stark base. But Nick Fury knows it's a Hydra base and sends Winter Soldier to stop them. The usual fight between heroes alerts the Hydra base, and they all have to fight Hydra, eventually destroying the base. The YA follow WS to the grave of Jack Monroe (a later Bucky that a brainwashed WS killed in Captain America #6 - which is part of 1 of the events that Goliath said in CW#1 incited the people leading to the Registration Act). Vision works out WS is Bucky. Later still Bucky meets Namor over Toro's grave.

Goliath's funeral:- BLACK PANTHER v4 #23 (some) T'Challa offers to rebury Goliath as a hero in Wakanda. Foster's nephew Tom vows to use Pym particles to take over Uncle Bill's role. Panther and Storm consider recruiting their own Resistance force, but Wakandan advisors want them to keep out of the War.

CIVIL WAR: X-MEN #3-4 Cyclops' team and an O*N*E squad led by Bishop clash at the Nevada SHIELD place where the escaped mutants are hiding. Meanwhile there's infighting among the leaders of O*N*E - relatively-good person Val Cooper wins out over the bad General who was planning to blow the mutants up. Iron Man and Ms Marvel arrive in Nevada, Bishop and Cyclops make up, and the escaped mutants return to the Westchester ghetto under a more relaxed Val-only regime. Val offers Bishop a job with O*N*E. BLACK PANTHER v4 #22 After a visit with Captain Britain, T'Challa and Ororo go to see the US President about the Registration Act. But they leave when officials insist Storm must register 1st. Outside a misunderstanding leads to threatened violence. James Rhodes in O*N*E Sentinel armour (he is a team leader and instructor) confronts them, but is defeated by Panther's female guards the Dora Milaje. Iron Man joins in, and T'Challa dons an armour to fight him. Rhodey brokers peace. BP intends to remain in the US to keep an eye on the Civil War situation. WOLVERINE v3 #48 (This is bannered as 'Casualties of War'.) Logan is sleeping with an Atlantean woman from the squad that went after Nitro. He recounts what he experienced during various recent near-death experiences (during Civil War or just before).

Between the battle and Goliath's funeral:- CABLE & DEADPOOL #31 (more) Cable frees Deadpool from where he and the Resistance left him tied up before the battle. They teleport to the White House where Cable tries to convince the President that the Registration Act and the 50 State Initiative are bad ideas. When his security guards prove ineffective the Pres orders Deadpool (earlier hired to hunt Registration Resisters) to arrest Cable. CABLE & DEADPOOL #32 Cable beats Deadpool and continues his argument with the President. Then he and Wade leave. Later they discover the President was an LMD. Cable tricks Deadpool into a televised rant about how the government have sanctioned him to do whatever he likes. The government fires him as a bounty hunter as an embarrassment. Cable says they're now on the same side in the Civil War. NEW AVENGERS #24 Sentry was supposed to fight in the CW#3/#4 battle but didn't want to fight his friends. He flies to the Moon to contemplate his position and meets up with the Inhumans. They explain to him about the so far non-shooting war they are in with the US (which will evolve into the Silent War), and he tells them about Registration and the Civil War. Iron Man comes and to take him back, and Sentry goes quietly rather than cause an incident.

During the opening battle and escape:- CIVIL WAR: FRONT LINE #6/1 (9-12) Ben Urich witnesses the rest of the battle. Afterwards he collars Iron Man and (presumably after asking him stuff about the fight) accuses him of doing a deal with Green Goblin. Stark doesn't answer, and Urich takes this as confirmation. CIVIL WAR: X-MEN #2 Cyclops contacts Captain America (while he's being treated for his wounds) to ask if he knows where X-Force has taken the mutants they freed from the Westchester containment camp. Cap gives him a list of SHIELD bases that Nick Fury also gave to Domino. (Are these abandoned bases? Or are they Fury's secret bases like the 1 the Resistance are using?) For some reason they figure that Domino and X-Force are in Nevada. And they're right. Meanwhile O*N*E (Office of National Emergency) plan to find the missing mutants 1st. And 1 of their Sentinels attacks Cyclops' X-group.

Lots of tie-ins fit into this issue:- Once more I've made use of Paul Bourcier's Calendar, which is part of the Marvel Chronology Project, and thereby connects to the Official Index.

Cable quits the Resistance as well as Nighthawk and Stature. Cap says the death of Goliath has brought them new recruits. We see Debrii, Firebird, Justice, Living Lightning, Monica Rambeau, Silhouette and Triathlon. Next issue we'll discover that the man in a ski mask watching the Resistance is Punisher. There's a gap between Goliath's funeral and the last 2 scenes. Johnny Storm was in hospital on crutches at the beginning of the battle last issue. Now at the end of this issue he's back home (and able to drive). Torch takes Invisible Woman away from the Baxter Building. (It seems from Fantastic Four #542 that Johnny Storm leaves the building and eventually joins the Resistance with his sister, but doesn't quit the FF.) Sue will return for another leaving scene with Reed Richards in FF#540. The Thunderbolts villains that have been called up are Bullseye, Jack O'Lantern, Jester, Lady Deathstrike, Taskmaster and Venom led by Songbird. (I'm pretty certain this isn't the Colorado Initiative team Songbird was promised by the CSA in Thunderbolts #105.)

Cloak and Wiccan were rendered unconscious last issue to prevent the Resistance from escaping by teleportation. They achieve it this issue because telepathic Cable activates Cloak's teleportation via his unconscious mind. Yellowjacket may only be pretending to be unhappy about Goliath's death, because he's Skrull imposter. He had a hand in the Thor clone's design and construction. Maybe he secretly sabotaged it. Jane Foster (identified here as Jane) and Linda Carter are the Resistance medics here again. Patriot complains about leaving wounded behind when they escape, and Nighthawk later says half of their people have been captured. However the only 2 (apart from dead Goliath) apparently missing of the Resistance forces were saw last issue are Hulkling and the unconscious Wiccan. And it will turn out next issue that Hulkling escaped with them as well. But then we didn't see Nighthawk last issue either, so maybe there were others. We learned in Thunderbolts #105 that Nighthawk was in the Resistance, as a spy for Grandmaster. And in CW: Front Line #6/4 he was fighting in the air.


Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Civil War #4 Synopsis by Peter Silvestro
Cap’s Secret Avengers are demoralized by the appearance of Thor, who savagely cuts a swath through his foes. As the critically injured Captain America rises to face Iron Man once more, Tony pleads with his old friend to surrender. When Cap refuses, Iron Man lets loose with a sonic frequency designed to disable all of Cap’s team—but Cap still does not go down. Hercules seizes the opportunity to drop a massive chunk of wreckage on Iron Man’s head, which cuts off the sound, allowing the rebels to fight back. Falcon swoops down and carries Cap to safety. Goliath takes on Thor, who fires a lighting bolt through the giant’s chest, killing him instantly. Thor faces the rest of the group and calls down another strike—but it does not land. Invisible Woman has protected them with a force field. Those who are able to move rush into Cloak’s cape and be teleported elsewhere. Thor is revealed to be a clone created by Reed Richards, who is just as shocked as everyone that it suddenly turned murderous. Hank Pym and Peter Parker are devastated by Goliath’s death, and wonder if they’ve chosen the right side. Back at their hideout, Cap and his teammates are being patched up and Nighthawk and Stature quit the team, shattered by the need to fight other heroes. At Goliath’s funeral (paid for by Tony Stark), Tony is approached by Miriam Sharpe who reassures him he did the right thing, and gives him her son’s favorite toy: an Iron Man action figure. Meanwhile, Sue Richards leaves a note for Reed, explaining that she’s leaving him because of Goliath’s death and Reed’s inability to see the human toll this conflict is taking. Later at Avenger’s Tower, Reed unveils the new Thunderbolts Initiative: a team of villains assembled to capture Cap’s supporters.

Steve McNiven
Dexter Vines
Morry Hollowell
Steve McNiven (Cover Penciler)


Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Captain America
Captain America

(Steve Rogers)

(Sam Wilson)
Invisible Woman
Invisible Woman

(Sue Storm)
Iron Man
Iron Man

(Tony Stark)
Mr. Fantastic
Mr. Fantastic

(Reed Richards)

(Peter Parker)


Plus: Thor Clone.

> Civil War: Book info and issue index

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