The epic Marvel event that inspired the blockbuster film pits some of the most iconic superheroes against each other after a terrible tragedy. In the comic, a small group of heroes filming a reality show encounters a deadly villain named Nitro. Their fight strays to a nearby elementary school and when Nitro explodes hundreds of children are murdered. This tragedy sparks outrage and Tony Stark joins with the government to create a hero registry that would make all superheroes government employees. The leader of the resistance to this registry is Captain America who sparks a battle with S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and escapes.
The heroes split down the middle with some joining Iron Man and others going underground with Captain America. The biggest issue with the new registry is that all heroes will have to reveal their secret identity. Spider-man goes through the identity revealing and loses his job at the Daily Bugle when J. Jonah Jameson discovers that his photographer Peter Parker is actually his nemesis Spider-man. Even with superheroes on his side, Tony Stark grows desperate and Iron Man recruits former villain to help him round up the superheroes who are on the other side of the law.
The battles grow as Captain and his team work to find ways to stop the superhumans that Iron Man and his team are crafting in a lab, including a brainwashed Thor and other dangerous monsters. Captain America allows the Punisher to join their group but his wild nature and ruthless tactics leave him on the wrong side of Cap's temper. Spider-man realizes the errs in his ways and joins up with the outlaws while the Fantastic Four are split in two when the Human Torch is hospitalized.
Both sides grow strong and the battles cause even more damage. A lot happens and it is not always easy to make sense, especially when you are not an avid Marvel comics reader and know all the side characters and subplots. This main story tells some interesting tells and has some beautiful artwork to go with it. The ending was a bit of a let down for me as Captain America sees citizens fighting against and realizes the damage he has done before just giving up. I had experienced the movie first and thought that storyline made more sense to me but it is easier to keep up with the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
I like for comic stories to be isolated in a compendium or a limited set of issues that a reader can experience the full story. I was curious what happened in this blockbuster comic book collection and was glad to see all the beautiful artwork inside. The story starts out very strong and interesting with a lot of superhero characters but kind of buckles under its own pressure of being something huge while not being able to really change too much. I have the second Civil War so I look forward to seeing what happens there.