Someone’s gonna die.
At least, according to Marvel Editor-In-Chief Axel Alonso. Alonso said that someone’s going to bite the dust in Civil War II. That’s not a big surprise, considering most of Marvel’s major events include at least one character death - and there was none bigger than the death of Steve Rogers at the end of the original Civil War.
But who’s it gonna be? Which Marvel hero (or heroes) has a target painted on their back? We think we know, and we’re going to break down the odds of some of the top candidates for the big casualty of Civil War II.
Spoiler alert: Our top prospect is probably not who you think.
Captain America – Odds: 1,000,000:1
Come on – Marvel wouldn’t do this again, right? Weeks after Steve Rogers returned to his youthful self and took up the ... a shield again.
They do have a Cap to spare though… Hmm…
Captain Marvel – Odds: 500:1
Even though, traditionally, Marvel’s Civil Wars have not been kind to heroes with “Captain” in their codename, it seems unlikely Marvel would kill off Carol Danvers. For one thing, she’s their top female hero. Her profile isn’t what it likely will be once her movie rolls around (or Civil War II starts making waves), but she’s still their number one female presence.
On top of that, what are the odds they’ll take Tony Stark down that road again? After winning the first Civil War, which resulted in the death of his opponent, Captain America, Tony became, well, kind of a D-Bag. There was a huge rift between him and the rest of the Marvel Universe, something that seems like a poor idea to repeat given how set Marvel is on making Iron Man their flagship hero.
Iron Man – Odds: 100:1
Killing Tony Stark – really killing him – would be a new move for Marvel Comics. He’s been replaced before, even by alternate versions of himself, but he’s never been actually dead. He’s also the character with the biggest Q-factor of all of Marvel’s top heroes right now, owing to Robert Downey, Jr.’s definitive performance in the Marvel films, so his death would have a massive impact, both with fans, and in the media.
And, as we noted above, Tony came out on top in the last Civil War. Offing him this time around would be a fair bit of turnabout, if a little too predictable. There’s also the matter of him being Marvel’s main guy right now. Like we said, they’ve repeatedly referred to Iron Man as their new “flagship character,” their face for the world. Turning him into a jerk again might fly like a repulsor with 0% battery, but killing him would make him a martyr. Still, killing Iron Man doesn’t make much sense in-universe, despite the major media frenzy that would surely follow.
Then again, Mary Jane Watson looks to be getting her own Iron identity soon. Could that be a coincidence?
James Rhodes – Odds: 50:1
There’s not a whole lot to back up the idea of Rhodey biting the big one in Civil War II, but if you really want to make Tony Stark hurt, killing his best friend and ally would be a great way to do it. Rhodey hasn’t had a huge presence in the Marvel Universe lately, but he does play an important role in Captain America: Civil War, meaning that the public is definitely aware of him.
Killing Rhodey would certainly put the spurs to Iron Man, and even though War Machine isn’t exactly a top character, he’s got a fan base that would likely be up in arms should Marvel decide to go this route.
Bruce Banner – Odds: 10:1
Good old Bruce Banner. Tony Stark’s “science bro.” Based on solicitations for Civil War II #3, it seems like there will be a major event – possibly this big character death? – taking place, and based on comments from writer Brian Bendis, and the solicitation text, whatever happens will likely involve the Hulk (or at least a Hulk). And even though he’s not currently bedeviled by his Jade Giant alter ego (he’s been replaced by Amadeus Cho), Banner is still the Hulk to the wider audience thanks to his continued presence in Marvel’s Avengers films.
Likewise, the current Hulk title, Totally Awesome Hulk, has teased that Amadeus Cho will lose someone close to him the same month as Civil War #3, and he and Banner certainly have a strong relationship. The only real problem with the Banner theory is that it doesn’t make as much sense in Marvel Universe terms. Sure, killing Banner would raise hackles with a mainstream audience, but he’s largely been absent from comic books for months, and his presence in Civil War II marketing has been nil.
But that doesn’t mean Banner’s too far off the mark.
She-Hulk – Odds: 5:1
Despite Bruce Banner being a likely candidate for Civil War II #3’s big, earth-shaking death, we’re betting he’s more of a misdirection. Let’s look at the facts: Banner isn’t really a current presence in Marvel’s comic book line. He’s been replaced as Hulk by his one-time protégé Amadeus Cho, and there’s still a big mystery surrounding why that is – one that might be cut short by his untimely death. Any major emotional payoff for Banner’s death would bank on his popularity in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (which Marvel’s comic wing insists it doesn’t mine for stories), and even that would be tempered by the fact that, as we said, he’s already been replaced.
More likely, we’re betting it’s his cousin, Jennifer Walters, the bombastic Gamma-bombshell She-Hulk that’s gonna take the ol’ dirt nap. Shulkie’s had an increased profile of late with a well-received recent solo run, and now leading the all-female Avengers spin-off A-Force. She’s a fan favorite and a big in-universe presence who has been central to Civil War II’s marketing. Furthermore, she fits the criteria for Civil War II #3’s big moment – she’s a Hulk, she’s an ally of Amadeus Cho, her death would certainly shock a wide contingent of Marvel fans.
On top of all that, A-Force writer Kelly Thompson told Newsarama that Civil War II would impact the team in a major way (which makes sense considering Captain Marvel is another of the book’s leads), but a simple rift in the team wouldn’t quite amount to the “emotional gut-punch” Thompson teased coming out of the crossover. On top of that, in the recently debuted cover of A-Force #8 – the issue that drops the month after Civil War II #3 – She-Hulk is the only member of the team not present in their in-fighting scuffle, a curious absence considering she’s the team’s de facto leader.
Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort also mentioned at C2E2 that a new She-Hulk series was in the works as a long term project. Such a series could, in true Marvel crossover fashion, piggy back on the hype of her return after a death in Civil War II.