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Avengers Civil War

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"An empire toppled by its enemies can rise again. But one which crumbles from within? That's dead...forever."
Helmut Zemo[src]

The Avengers Civil War was a brief conflict between former members of the Avengers split into two factions based on their opposing stances toward the Sokovia Accords. While initially a seemless political bout between ideals, the conflict soon escalated into violence through the secret manipulations of the vengeful Sokovian Colonel Helmut Zemo, who sought to bring ruin to the Avengers in retaliation for the death of his family in the Battle of Sokovia. While Zemo himself was eventually apprehended, he succeeded with his own goal in the end, as the Avengers were left disorganized and scattered.

Background

Age of Heroes

"The world is filling up with people that can't be matched, can't be controlled."
Nick Fury[src]

In 2010, billionaire industrialist Tony Stark announced to the world that he was the armored superhero known as "Iron Man".[1]  

Following Stark's disclosure, the number of enhanced individuals increased exponentially, generating feelings of resentment and fear among the general public. It wasn't until after the Battle of New York, however, that the fear of those with powers became more ubiquitous.[2][3]

As the world realized that humanity was not alone in the universe, public opinion of the Avengers became increasingly divided. While many regarded the Avengers with praise, others either called for their arrest or resented them for the destruction caused.

Battle of Triskelion 2

The fall of S.H.I.E.L.D.

In 2014, the peacekeeping organization S.H.I.E.L.D. put Project Insight, a secret operation that would prevent future threats to international security, into effect.

Unbeknowst to all, HYDRA, who had been embedded within the organization since the end of World War II, attempted to use the project to achieve their goals and establish a new world order.

Captain America and his allies successfully exposed HYDRA, but were forced to release S.H.I.E.L.D.'s classified files on the Internet, which resulted in S.H.I.E.L.D. being disavowed and labeled a terrorist organization by the international community. Despite mass panic over the fact that there was no one left to protect the world, a new S.H.I.E.L.D. emerged under the direction of Phil Coulson and worked in secret to defeat HYDRA.[4][5]

Meanwhile, on a smaller scale, superheroes like Daredevil, Spider-Man, and Luke Cage emerged, attracting the attention of local news networks.[6][7][8]

Ultron Offensive

With S.H.I.E.L.D. in disarray, the Avengers reassembled and worked together to take down HYDRA cells around the world. Their mission climaxed in 2015, when they raidedSokovian research base and arrested operative Wolfgang von Strucker.

During the raid, Stark recovered the Scepter wielded by Loki during the Battle of New York, which Strucker used for his experiments. Stark later discovered an artificial intelligence hidden within the scepter's gem and used it to create the Ultron Program.

However, the program became self-aware and convinced itself that humanity was responsible for preventing peace. Ultron proceeded to launch a series of attacks with the ultimate goal of global genocide. The attacks eventually culmintated with the Battle of Sokovia, which caused the death of 177 civilians and $474 billion in damage.[9]

Battle of Sokovia

The Avengers fight the Ultron Sentries

Immediately following the Ultron Offensive, public opinion of both the Avengers and "gifted people" worsened. Many people went as far as threatening to expose them and often referred to them as freaks.[10]

Inhuman Outbreak

Matthew-Ellis-WHiH-Speech-AoS

Inhumans are revealed to the world

Sometime later, during a confrontation between S.H.I.E.L.D. and a faction of Inhumans, a Quinjet filled with Terrigen Crystals crashed into the ocean and contaminated a passing shoal of fish. The fish were turned into fish oil pills and distributed worldwide.[11]

Though S.H.I.E.L.D. pulled some of the product off store shelves, several people consumed what was not caught and, in doing so, discovered their true heritage.[12]

In the wake of both the outbreak and several attacks engineered by the Inhuman known as Lash, the Advanced Threat Containment Unit was formed in order to handle incidents involving the rise of Inhumans.[12]

At the same time, a radical group known as the Watchdogs emerged and attacked an ATCU facility, killing all of the personnel inside. They later broadcasted the terrorist act, using the Battle of Sokovia as an excuse for their actions.[13]

As a result, public negativity towards superhumans increased and the nations of the world began demanding government oversight.[14]

Attack on the IFID Headquarters

Captain America Civil War 13

Rumlow's men storm the IFID

"This is for dropping a building on my face!"
Crossbones to Captain America[src]

Approximately one year after the Ultron Offensive, the Avengers learned that former HYDRA sleeper agent Brock Rumlow, who had taken on the name "Crossbones" and aligned himself with several mercenaries, had been sighted in Lagos, Nigeria.

Upon arriving in Nigeria, the Avengers discovered that Rumlow was planning to break into an Institute for Infectious Diseases laboratory and steal a biological agent. Although they managed to successfully secure the weapon, Rumlow managed to escape.

Rogers confronted him and the two engaged in a hand-to-hand duel that ended with Rogers subduing the former STRIKE commander. When Rogers pressed Rumlow for information, the latter claimed that Bucky Barnes was pulling the strings before activating a suicide bomb attached to his vest, intent on taking Rogers with him.

Captain America Civil War 89

Scarlet Witch in the wake of the chaos.

Wanda Maximoff successfully contained the explosion and attempted to move the blast away. However, she moved it too close to a nearby building and inadvertantly caused an explosion that killed 26 people, with several relief aid workers from the African nation of Wakanda among the dead.[9]

Sokovia Accords

"For the past four years, you've operated with unlimited power and no supervision. That's an arrangement the governments of the world can no longer tolerate."
Thaddeus Ross to the Avengers[src]
Ross Civil War Teaser

Secretary Ross speaks to the Avengers

With the attack deemed a public relations disaster, several international politicians, chief among them Wakanda's reigning monarch T'Chaka, called for the United Nations to create a system of accountability.[9]

Thaddeus Ross, who had recently been appointed as the Secretary of State by President Ellis, brought the Avengers together and informed them that the United Nations was passing the Sokovia Accords, which would police the increasing number of enhanced individuals while establishing a panel to control the Avengers' movements.

Ross explained that any team member who rejected the accords would be forced to retire and left so the Avengers could discuss the matter privately.

The team immediately became divided over the Accords and their impact on both themselves and the world at large. Vision noted that in the six years since Stark revealed himself as Iron Man, the rate of hostile enhanced individuals and the number of potential world-ending events has grown exponentially. 

While Stark agreed with Vision, Rogers argued that if they signed the accords, then they would be surrendering the right to choose for themselves.[9]

Bombing of the Vienna International Centre

"Don't bother, Ms. Romanoff. I'll kill him myself."
T'Challa to Natasha Romanoff[src]

Eventually, Stark, Vision and James Rhodes decided to sign the Accords while Clint Barton refused, citing the fact that he was retired. Rogers, who was forced to put the discussion on hold after learning that Peggy Carter died in her sleep, confided in Natasha Romanoff that he stood by his beliefs.

Three days later, the United Nations arranged a formal ceremony at the Vienna International Centre in Vienna, Austria. Among those in attendance were Romanoff, King T'Chaka and his son T'Challa. T'Chaka accepted Romanoff's apology, but was saddened to hear that Rogers was not in attendance.

While watching his father give the keynote address, T'Challa noticed a commotion outside the Centre and learned that a bomb had been planted in a van. Despite his attempts to evacuate everyone inside, the bomb detonated and decimated the building, killing T'Chaka and several others. 

Captain America Civil War 10

The Vienna International Centre is destroyed

Following the bombing, T'Challa was crowned King of Wakanda. When security footage revealed that Bucky Barnes appeared to have orchestrated the attack, T'Challa personally set out to avenge his father's death.

Meanwhile, Rogers learned about Barnes' supposed role in T'Chaka's death and implored Sharon Carter to help him. She eventually revealed that Barnes was in Bucharest, Romania, prompting Rogers and Sam Wilson to track him down.[9]

Conflict

Capture of Winter Soldier

Captain America Civil War 70

Rogers follows T'Challa

Rogers and Wilson managed to find Barnes living in a Bucharest safe house only to learn that both T'Challa and local law enforcement were also in pursuit.

This led to a high-speed chase through the city, which came to an end when Rhodes apprehended the four and escorted them to the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre in Berlin.

Barnes was then placed in a contained cell while Deputy Task Force Commander Everett Ross arranged for psychiatrist Theo Broussard to speak with him.

Meanwhile, Stark attempted to persuade Rogers to sign the accords. The conversation became heated when Stark revealed that he confined Wanda to the New Avengers Facility.[9]

Escape from the Joint Counter Terrorist Centre

As Stark and Rogers continued arguing, Broussard arrived and met with Barnes. Before the discussion officially began, the power suddenly went out. Broussard then recited a set of conditioned trigger words that were used when Barnes was a HYDRA operative.

Captain America Civil War 92

Barnes attacks Stark

His training suddenly reactivated, Barnes broke free of his restraints and went on a rampage after being ordered to fight and kill anyone who tried to stop him.

Barnes proceeded to overpower Romanoff, T'Challa, Sharon and Stark before making his way to the rooftop helipad, where he attempted to escape via a helicopter.  

Rogers managed to get to the roof before Barnes could take off and grabbed the landing gear to stop his best friend from escaping. Barnes then tried to crash the helicopter in a desperate attempt to kill Rogers, but failed. When the helicopter fell into the water, Barnes was knocked unconscious. Rogers saved him from drowing and took him to a remote warehouse.

Later, after trapping Winter Soldier's Prosthetic Arm in a metal vise, Rogers reunited with Wilson and interrogated a now calm Barnes. Barnes revealed personal facts that only he knew before explaining that there were five other Winter Soldiers and that, if Broussard revived them, they would be unstoppable.

Rogers and Wilson discussed the situation, deciding that Stark would not be able to assist them because of the accords. Wilson then mentioned that he "[knows] a guy" who could assist them.

Meanwhile, Stark traveled to Queens in New York City and recruited high school student Peter Parker, who was secretly the costumed vigilante Spider-Man. Parker reluctantly accepted on the condition that his Aunt May Parker continued to remain unaware of his activities. Stark agreed and decided to upgrade his new ally's equipment, giving him a high tech suit and web shooters.[9]

Rescue of Wanda Maximoff

Vision vs Scarlet Witch

Wanda attacks Vision

Meanwhile, at the New Avengers Facility, an explosion prompted Vision to investigate while Maximoff stayed behind. Suddenly realizing she was not alone, she used her powers on a kitchen knife to attack the intruder.

She then realized that Clint Barton was in the room and that he was responsible for the "explosion", which was meant to distract Vision while he rescued her. 

Vision suddenly returned and proceeded to fight Barton. When the synethic being overpowered his former ally, Barton convinced Wanda to use her powers to take down Vision, which she reluctantly did. 

The two fled the compound and proceeded to recruit Scott Lang before making their way to Germany, where Rogers was waiting with Barnes and Wilson.[9]

A Team Divided

"I didn't kill your father."
"Then why did you run?"
Bucky Barnes and Black Panther[src]

Rogers and his team assembled at Leipzig/Halle Airport in Schkeuditz, where they planned to take a Quinjet to the HYDRA facility where the other Winter Soldiers were being kept in cryogenic stasis.

Before they could make their way to the Quinjet, sirens suddenly went off and indicated that the airport was being evacuated. Rogers instructed the others to suit up and confronted Stark's faction on the airport runway.

Civil War Clash

The Clash begins

Rogers tried to convince Stark that Barnes was being framed, but the latter refused to listen and both factions engaged in a fight that resulted in mass destruction. 

Lang tested the Ant-Man Suit's latest upgrade and reversed the suit's ability to manipulate atomic space, growing incredibly large while providing a distraction for Barnes and Rogers. However, he was taken down by Parker, Rhodes, and Stark.

The two were then confronted by Romanoff in the hanger, but allowed to take off in the Quinjet after she chose to follow her conscience and used her Taser Disks to stall T'Challa.

Captain America Civil War 76

Stark holds an injured Rhodes

As Stark and Rhodes chased the Quinjet, Vision attempted to blast Falcon, who was making sure that Rogers escaped, out the sky.

However, Falcon noticed the Energy Blast and moved out the way as the blast hit Rhodes in his power core, who plummeted to the ground and was knocked unconscious.[9]

A Truth Revealed

The four anti-registration Avengers were captured and imprisoned on the Raft while Parker was forced to return home and Rhodes was left paralyzed from the battle. Romanoff went into hiding, knowing full well she would be arrested for her betrayal.

Stark, meanwhile, learned from F.R.I.D.A.Y. that, upon arriving in Berlin, Broussard was greeted by Helmut Zemo, a former Sokovian intelligence officer. F.R.I.D.A.Y. also revealed that Broussard was found dead in a hotel room with a wig and a facial prosthesis that approximated Barnes' appearance.

Stunned over the fact that his former comrade was telling the truth, Stark attempted to tell Secretary Ross what he had learned but was rebuffed. Stark decided to take matters into his own hands and convinced Wilson to reveal where Rogers and Barnes were headed.

Knowing full well that his actions would violate the accords, Stark lied to Secretary Ross before donning the Mark XLVI armor and flying to Siberia, unaware that T'Challa was following him.[9]

Battle of the HYDRA Siberian Facility

"I've lost everyone. And so will you."
Helmut Zemo to Captain America[src]

Having arrived in Siberia, Rogers and Barnes infilitrated the HYDRA facility only to find themselves face-to-face with Stark. Stark immediately apologized for not believing Rogers and reconciled with his comrade before the three made their way deeper into the compound.

The three entered the room where the Winter Soldiers were being kept under deep sleep and found that they had all been shot in the head execution-style. Zemo suddenly made his presence known from behind the window of a shielded room, stating that he orchestrated the entire conflict for the sole purpose of avenging his family's deaths.

Zemo proceeded to play security footage from December 1991, which revealed that Barnes was responsbile for the Assassination of Howard and Maria Stark. Blind with rage, Stark attacked Rogers and Barnes while Zemo made his escape, unaware that T'Challa had overheard his confession.

AwKRc1Kj-3-

Iron Man vs. Captain America

The battle climaxed when Stark dismembered Barnes' robotic arm, prompting Rogers to disable Stark's armor before departing with his childhood friend.

Stark stated that Rogers did not deserve to wield his shield, which his father made. Rogers momentarily paused, dropped the shield and walked away with Barnes.

Meanwhile, T'Challa confronted Zemo, who recounted his motivations and apologized for killing T'Chaka before attempting to commit suicide. T'Challa managed to stop him in time and turned him over to Everett Ross.[9]

Aftermath

This section requires expansion

The End of the Beginning

"Thank you for this."
"Your friend and my father, they were both victims. If I can help one of them find peace..."
"You know if they find out he's here, they'll come for him."
"Let them try."
Steve Rogers and T'Challa[src]

Rogers and Barnes then made their way to Wakanda, where T'Challa granted them asylum and promised to watch over Barnes, who chose to remain in cryogenic stasis until his mind could be cleansed of the mental programming.

Sometime later, Stark received a package containing a cell phone and a letter from Rogers, who apologized for keeping the truth from Stark and promised that he would be there if he needed help.

Secretary Ross then contacted Stark, informing him that Wilson, Wanda, Barton and Lang had escaped from the Raft. Stark, however, ended the call by pretending to be busy, implying he was letting them escape.[9]

Impact on S.H.I.E.L.D.

"I'm here because the President sent me. The Sokovia Accords are the law of the land now. He's concerned you might have some undocumented "assets" working for you."
Glenn Talbot to Phil Coulson[src]

Sometime after Rogers went into hiding, Brigadier General Glenn Talbot was sent by President Ellis to meet with Coulson at the Playground and learn about any "undocumented assets".

Much to Talbot's annoyance, Coulson refused to divulge any information, stating that his organization worked in the shadows, but decided to show him the Playground nonetheless.[15]

Questioning Effectivity

Quake Article

Quake's activities making headlines

Several months after the parasitic Inhuman known as Hive was defeated, S.H.I.E.L.D. was legitimatized under new Director Jeffrey Mace.

Around the same time, Agent Daisy Johnson went rogue and became a vigilante, prompting many to question the regulations put in place by the Sokovia Accords.[16]

Appearances

In chronological order:

References

External Links

Wars and Conflicts in Earth History
Asgard-Jotunheim War (965 - 2011) • World War II (1939 - 1945) • Johann Fennhoff's Campaign (1946) • Cold War (1947 - 1991) • Battle of Puente Antiguo (2011) • Aldrich Killian's War (2011 - 2012) • Chitauri Invasion (2012) • Second Dark Elf Conflict (2013) • HYDRA Uprising (2014) • War on HYDRA (2014 - 2015) • S.H.I.E.L.D. Civil War (2015) • Ultron Offensive (2015) • War against the Inhumans (2015) • Inhuman Outbreak (2015 - 2016) • Grant Ward's Campaign (2015) • Avengers Civil War (2016)

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