Major spoilers for Marvel Comics' Civil War II #1! Don't read further unless you want to be spoiled!
Marvel Comics loves their synergy: with Captain America: Civil War doing big business on the big screen for Marvel Studios, Marvel Comics today officially launched Civil War II, an event series that's been built up for the last month or so in the pages of the comics, and for over half a year in the press. It kicked off with a bang (or rather, two), and a pair of deaths of major, longterm Avengers. This is your final spoiler warning.
The premise of Civil War II by Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez sees a new Inhuman "born" into his powers: the ability to see future disasters. After he sees a Celestial Destroyer annihilating Manhattan, he tells the Avengers, who unite basically every hero in the Marvel Universe to stop it, successfully. That leads to an argument: who's to say he's seeing a future that's even a high probability? Since they were able to avert it, isn't he by definition seeing only a possible future? Iron Man argues that they need to be cautious, study his ability, and not use it on any kind of regular basis. Captain Marvel says they need to just get to it, and change the world.
Despite Tony Stark's warning, Carol Danvers takes the very next warning this new Inhuman gives her, and rushes into action. It turns out the Avengers find themselves facing Thanos, who kills James "War Machine" Rhodes in a heartbeat, easily destroying him. The death is devastating to Tony, but Carol and others are clearly in pain over it, too. Indeed, it gives us the most direct Civil War II parallel to Captain America: Civil War the movie, with a familiar scene recreated, this time with Carol in the place of Tony's film role, cradling a broken War Machine.
In the ensuing battle, Thanos, who was eventually defeated, also heavily injures She-Hulk, who in the zero issue essentially said, "using assumptive knowledge is a bad idea." Her final words, however, seem to be a reversal of opinion, telling Danvers to "fight for the future."
The pace of the issue is incredibly quick, with weeks being skipped at a time, resulting in the two deaths in just the first issue. So just how dead are these characters? Well, Rhodey was being groomed for a political future in the comics - but he had a hole blown through essentially his entire torso by Thanos. It's tough to come back from that - he did, for a time, have nanobots both inside him and as his armor, so someday, when someone wants to bring him back, it'll likely be via something involved with that. She-Hulk doesn't technically die on-panel here, either. The longtime Avenger, Jen Walters, does flatline, and the ensuing panic - and crying Carol Danvers we showed up top, seems like a bad sign for her future.
Why were these characters chosen? Well, Jennifer Walters, as noted, has essentially expressed both opinions that are causing this particular rift - meaning she, and her death, can be used as a "call to arms" for both sides. Rhodey, likewise, was well-loved by both Stark, his best friend, and Danvers, who he'd had a relationship with. He was a superhero because of Tony, but he was also a soldier like Carol. These two characters, then, were uniquely positioned to provide a huge boost to the argument and the conviction of both sides. Whether any of this will change, or if there will be more deaths before the series is all over, well, these things do tend to be fairly bloody.
Civil War II #1 and its precursor zero issue are both in stores and online now.