Brian Michael Bendis on art imitating life, balancing sides in Marvel Comics' Civil War II

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Jun 1, 2016, 4:47 PM EDT

Fresh off the big-screen hit based on the original run, Marvel Comics officially launched Civil War II this week. So, how hard is it to write a story that literally pits hero against hero?

The Verge caught up with comic legend Brian Michael Bendis to chat about the challenge of broaching topical issues in a comic story, while also balancing both sides to where no one truly comes off as being on the “wrong” side. The story pulls Marvel’s heroes (with Iron Man on one side and Captain Marvel on the other) apart over the question of whether they should use the abilities of a new Inhuman to stop crime before it begins (some definite Minority Report vibes here, yes).

Check out an excerpt from his comments below:

"We were going on about profiling and what's been going on with the cops all over the country and what's the superhero version of that. And he called me up and went, ‘Listen, we want to go forward with this idea. We think there's a story in it. Our publisher said we're going to call it Civil War II because everyone else will. We might as well call it that.’ It's a spiritual sequel, not a direct sequel, and I got very excited about it. It had a lot of challenges to me, creatively, and as I get older, that's all I'm looking for. I know people are like "Ah, you're taking advantage of the movie." It was born out of [a] good story and good timing…

I started teaching myself early on, in my earliest days of Ultimate Spider-Man, the idea that nobody is the villain of their story. The Kingpin sees himself as a hero. Norman Osborn [the Green Goblin] sees himself as the hero. This is something you've heard before, but everybody thinks they're right. I'm already writing that way as a writer. I always tell the story that there's no "ha ha ha crazy" villain. Everyone damn well thinks they're the hero of the story and right. So, to come into a story like this, and I'm already thinking that way, that's what the job is. The job really is to not express one idea over the other. It's to express both ideas equally so that the audience on their own can decide what side they want to be on. So just keeping it balanced is the hardest thing to do. But it's not when I equally see Carol and Tony's point, and I actually really do."

It’s an interesting question, no doubt, and Bendis said he thought it would be fun to pull at the topical thread of profiling — and whether we’d be messing with free will by trying to do something like this. With Bendis at the helm, it should certainly be an interesting ride.

(Via The Verge)