SPOILER WARNING FOR CIVIL WAR II #3
Today, Marvel Comics released Civil War II #3 from Brian Michael Bendis and David Marquez. The issue included was is sure to be the most talked about casualty of the ongoing conflict between Iron Man and Captain Marvel, as Bruce Banner, the Hulk, was slain by his fellow Avenger, Hawkeye.
With the reveal of Bruce Banner’s death, Marvel is also revealing Civil War II: The Accused and Civil War II: The Fallen. These two one-shots will each explore the ramifications of the Hulk’s death from a different perspective.
Civil War II: The Accused will be written by Marc Guggenheim with art by Garry Brown & Ramon Bachs. The issue follows Hawkeye’s trial, but a trial for the murder of one superhero by another superhero requires a super-heroic prosecutor. Enter Assistant District Attorney Matt Murdock, a.k.a. Daredevil. As Matt prepares for the trial, he realizes there may be more going on beneath its surface than he first realized.
ComicBook.com asked Marc Guggenheim a few questions about the trial and the conspiracy lurking beneath. You can also see David Mack's cover the issue, as well as Fiona Staples' variant, in the gallery at the bottom of the page.
Civil War II: The Accused #1 goes on sale in August 2016.
What can you say about the superhero community’s reaction to Bruce Banner’s death? How does it differ from the population at large? Is the reaction from Bruce’s Avengers family different from that of his friends in the Defenders, or the other Hulks (Thunderbolt and Betty Ross, Rick Jones, Amadeus Cho, etc.)?
Marc Guggenheim: Well, what’s interesting about the story that Brian Bendis has crafted for Civil War II is the superhero community’s reaction to Bruce’s death really runs the gamut -- and it should. Hawkeye kills Bruce under very questionable -- and debatable -- circumstances: Did Bruce pose a clear and present danger? Was Bruce going to “Hulk out”? Was Ulysses’ vision of the future about to come to pass? Reasonable minds can -- and do -- disagree about all of these questions.
The primary reason -- in my mind -- as to why there is so much debate within the superhero community is that many -- if not all -- of these questions come down to what Hawkeye thought was going to happen. He claims to have been in the best position -- literally in the form of his unique vantage point and figuratively in the form of his specific skill set -- to have known whether or not Bruce was about to turn into the Hulk. Hawkeye asserts that he saw a fleck of green in Bruce’s eye seconds before he put an arrow through it. But no one else saw that fleck but him...
Where is Hawkeye’s mind at in all of this? Is he angry with himself, or with Carol or Tony or Ulysses? Does he feel like this is being put on his shoulders justly, or is he feeling like a scapegoat?
MG: In The Accused, I’m playing Clint as not being sure. He made a split-second decision under extremely high stress with equally high stakes. He believed in the moment that it was the right decision, but being a sensible person, he knows that it’s possible that his judgment call was wrong. He’s now ready to face judgment, in part, to get an answer to the question that keeps him up at night: Was I right or wrong? Essentially, he’s looking to the jury to answer that question for him. However, juries don’t determine what really happened. All they do is weigh evidence and make a determination as to whether the prosecution has met its burden of proof. So, I see Clint as something of a tragic figure in all this: He’s placed his faith in himself in the hands of a system that can provide neither the condemnation nor the exoneration -- the clarity -- he desperately craves in his soul. Whether Clint wins or loses the trial... he’s lost.
Given his ties to the superhero community, is Matt Murdock eager to take this case, or would he have liked this one to pass him by?
MG: All things being equal, he’d probably be happier not to have been selected to prosecute Hawkeye. But he’s a loyal officer of the court and takes his job as an Assistant District Attorney seriously, so he’s ready, willing and able to do the job before him.
What can you say about the mysterious conspiracy that Matt Murdock stumbles upon?
MG: Well, if I tell you too much it won’t be mysterious...
I’ll say that it has something to do with the Superhuman Registration Act -- the piece of legislation that was the flashpoint (am I allowed to say “flashpoint”?) of Civil War 1. I like the idea that there’s a little connection back to the original Civil War.
And I’ll also say that if you read Civil War II #3 -- which depicts pieces of Hawkeye’s trial -- you still don’t know the whole story. And while you’ll find out the verdict in the body of Civil War II, the way that verdict was reached and the reason it was reached are plot details you can only get from The Accused.
Is there any chance that Hawkeye is in danger from those closest to Bruce? His friends are known for having a bit of a temper.
MG: Mr. Bendis is probably better suited to answer that one. The Accused focuses on the legal proceedings against Hawkeye. That pesky federal government takes a dim view of murder -- and that’s what they consider Hawkeye’s actions to be, murder -- and they’ve got the death penalty as an, ahem, arrow in their quiver. Bottom line, they’re not fooling around.