This week, Civil War II kicked into high gear with the release of Civil War II #2, in which Tony Stark went a little bit off the rails and kidnapped Ulysses, the Inhuman whose precognitive powers sparked the building conflict between Marvel's heroes. Tony invaded Attilan, taking Ulysses and bringing the Inhumans - and many of Marvel's heroes - to his front door.
Newsarama caught up with Marvel Executive Editor Tom Brevoort to discuss Tony's thought process as he escalates the budding superhero conflict, and how Ulysses' climactic vision will affect the future of the Marvel Universe. Spoiler alert: per Brevoort, "It's a bad time to be a Hulk."
Newsarama: Tom, with Civil War II #2, Marvel’s heroes have taken another step towards all-out war. Tony seems to be driving this descent into chaos even though he’s previously expressed he knows how poorly this goes. Did Rhodey’s death do that much damage to his mental health? Are there deeper forces influencing the conflict?
Tom Brevoort: I don’t know that I would consider it specifically damage to his mental health. Certainly losing someone close to you can be a traumatic experience, and different people process grief in different ways. Tony is certainly not at his best, or his most even keeled in this issue because of Rhodey’s death.
That having been said, there’s no larger force, no outside mind control or secondary thing going on. Tony is reacting to events and making choices based on what’s going and what he believes in, and what he thinks the best course of action is in typical Tony Stark fashion.
Nrama: Tony seems to pretty clearly be the aggressor here. He even admits to his nervous breakdown. With basically everyone seemingly ready to put a stop to his experimentation on Ulysses, how does Tony wind up recruiting people to his side as the story goes on?
Brevoort: We covered a little of this in our last conversation. That’s really kind of asking me what happens in Civil War II #3 [laughs]. So I would say that’s a fascinating question. Perhaps the answer can be found in the next issue! I’m not gonna tell you ahead of time.
Tony Stark does his exploration of Ulysses’ powers and he makes his case, at least in shorthand, in front of all the heroes when they come looking for him. We’ll see where the story takes us from there, and as we begin to see more of Ulysses’ predictions in action, and how they actually work, it’ll become clear how people fit on either side of this question.
Nrama: We talked previously about She-Hulk’s apparent brush with death at the end of last issue. That scene is only given a mention here to confirm she’s still with us, even though that was a major cliffhanger. Where will her fate be explored in more depth?
Brevoort: You’ll see more of that in the core series, later on.
Nrama: Speaking of Hulks, the showdown between the heroes comes to a halt when Ulysses has a vision that engulfs the heroes – and it’s pretty dark. We see a Hulk laying waste to Marvel’s heroes, including a very dead Hawkeye. You’re not giving away Civil War II #3’s big death already, are you?
Brevoort: [laughs] You’ll know in just a couple weeks! You’ll have to wait and see. But it’s not like Brian Bendis is any stranger to killing Hawkeye.
Nrama: Right! He did kill him once already in Avengers: Disassembled.
Brevoort: [laughs] It’s clearly within his comfort zone. That said, as we move into Civil War II #3, we’re gonna explore what that vision meant. The cover to #3 is pretty much exactly another take on that vision. As we see at the end of 2, Carol Danvers has sought out Bruce Banner to investigate what that decision means.
To me, the most unsettling part of the whole vision is that the Hulk doesn’t seem to be wearing any pants [laughs]. If nothing else would cause the heroes of the Marvel Universe to pause, it’s that.
Nrama: As I said, this is a Hulk, but it’s hard to tell exactly which one. That could be Amadeus’s hair, but as you said, Banner returned in the conclusion of #2. Can you shed any light on which Hulk we’re seeing in Ulysses’ vision – and what his fate might be? Things aren’t looking so good for the Gamma Gang these days.
Brevoort: [laughs] It’s a bad time for Hulks! I can’t shed any light on which Hulk that is. Again, it’s a good question, but it’s not something that I can reveal yet. You’ll have to find out in Civil War II #3.
Nrama: The Hulk has a lot of fans these days, especially thanks to Bruce Banner’s role in the Marvel films. Is Hulk going to get a push after this? Could there be multiple Hulks smashing the Marvel universe?
Brevoort: I don’t think you’ll see multiple Hulks, but we certainly have big plans that revolve around the Hulk and the characters in his orbit, both the contemporary Hulk, Amadeus Cho, and the previous Hulks. There are more Hulk related stories to come, but I have to be diplomatic and dance around exactly what those plans are.
Certainly the Hulk in all his many incarnations and forms is a pillar character in the Marvel Universe, and you’ll see a lot more stuff in his pocket of the universe after Civil War II.
Newsarama: There are a lot of mysteries still up in the air about Civil War II, including the nature of your two August one-shots, The Fallen and The Accused. Orders for those titles were tied to Invincible Iron Man #7 and Spider-Man #4, respectively. Is that an indication of the content of those one-shots, or just a calculated business move?
Brevoort: I read that article too! I’m not going to confirm or deny anything. We make every business move we make for a reason, and what that reason is is not always apparent to people on the outside, but makes perfect sense to us on the inside.
Perhaps when Civil War II #3 comes out, we can go back and talk about this again and get into what’s coming in The Accused and The Fallen a little more.
Newsarama: Speaking of Civil War II #3, it’s getting a midnight release with a special polybagged cover from Joe Quesada. These are big guns you guys are pulling out. What can you tease us with about why that issue is so special, and what happens in it?
Brevoort: It’s a big issue. We do have another fatality in the course of the story. It’s a fairly significant fatality, and consequently, we’re hanging a lantern on that. We’re doing the midnight release partially because we want to at least have some outside chance that people will be able to experience the story by reading it before it’s spoiled. We’d rather people read the story. This isn’t a complete preventative; just the fact that people know it’s important means it’s that much more likely to get spoiled, as opposed to something like Captain America: Steve Rogers #1, which took readers by complete surprise.
It’s us making a meal of the fact that there’s something big and significant coming in Civil War II #3. The events of Civil War II #3 also lead directly into those two one-shots, The Accused and The Fallen, so once we get there, you’ll have a better idea of what’s coming in those stories as well.