Marvel's Muddled 'Civil War' Comic Adapts 'Iron Man 3' and 'Winter Soldier'

A comic adaptation of a movie adaptation of a comic that's about two movies.

Marvel Studios

Marvel’s prelude comics are usually tie-in stories that prime audiences for the blockbuster movies. They’re full of exposition, they’re fun, and they’re usually unnecessary to grok the full story.

For next year’s Captain America: Civil War, Marvel is changing it. Their prelude comic will be an adaptation of Iron Man 3 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Yes, really.

From Marvel:

Follow the road to Captain America: Civil War with official adaptations of the smash hit films Iron Man 3 and Captain America: Winter Soldier! When The Mandarin strikes at the United States with a series of deadly terror attacks, Iron Man must take action! But can Tony Stark handle the pressure when he has his own demons to face? And when Captain America encounters an assassin named the Winter Soldier, he joins forces with Black Widow and Falcon to uncover a deep seated conspiracy in their very midst! It’s spy versus spy as the fate of the country hangs in the balance!

Um. Why?

The driving idea behind this prelude comic could be to acquaint readers with the mental and emotional states of Iron Man and Captain America since their last solo adventures. It will be two years post-Winter Soldier and a hefty three years since Iron Man 3, so Marvel’s marketing team may rightly fret that our collective ADD has set in and we totally have forgotten who Tony Stark is.

But we haven’t, because we all saw Age of Ultron so again, why?

Tony Stark at the end of Age of Ultron is far more interesting than the Tony Stark at the end of Iron Man 3. At the end of that movie, Stark had overcome his PTSD from living out Galaga in the Battle of New York. That’s the Tony Stark that goes into Age of Ultron, still so paranoid over super aliens that threaten mankind that he builds the overprotective Ultron. By the end of Age of Ultron, he realizes he’s responsible for destroying Sokovia, so Stark quits. Seeing himself as an eternal danger, he will (most likely) support laws aimed at governing the Avengers. Captain America’s not gonna like that one bit. Hence, Civil War.

Why can’t we see that Tony Stark, the one watching the broadcasts of Sokovia and thinking to himself, “That’s all my doing”? That Tony is a far better one to read about than revisiting a movie three years out of theaters.

As for Captain America, he (spoilers!) finds Bucky, the Winter Soldier, in the post-credits scene of Ant-Man. While Bucky is a crucial element, revisiting Winter Soldier is just redundant. Why can’t the prelude comic be about him finding Bucky?

There are two great stories to explore with these characters that would totally prime fans as the march to Civil War begins. So why revisit movies that are sitting on our Blu-ray shelves? Wouldn’t it be easier just to reprint the original, overrated Civil War crossover from 2006? That’s why anyone flipped out over the Civil War tag to begin with.

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