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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Monday, January 2, 2006

Marvel will shake up its universe in 2006

By Bill Radford
Knight Ridder News Service

The Marvel universe will become a divided one in 2006.

Marvel Comics' big event for the new year is "Civil War" "probably the biggest event in comics history," says Marvel editor in chief Joe Quesada.

Over the years, Quesada says, Marvel's heroes have become increasingly embraced by the public even the hard-luck Spider-Man. That's going to change with "Civil War."

The key events will take place in a seven-issue miniseries by writer Mark Millar and artist Steve McNiven. Its repercussions, however, will be felt throughout Marvel's core titles.

The story finds people in power deciding the concept of a Mutant Registration Act requiring all mutants, heroes and otherwise, to be registered should be expanded to all superheroes.

"Each hero can be considered a potential weapon of mass destruction," Quesada points out. "So why not license them?" The key question is one that's echoed in current events: Which is more important, our security or our civil rights?

"There's going to be a huge division in the Marvel universe in respect to this," Quesada says.

A special in March, "New Avengers: Illuminati," serves as a prelude to the big event and stars many of Marvel's key movers and shakers, including Mr. Fantastic, Namor, Black Bolt, Dr. Strange, Tony "Iron Man" Stark and the X-Men's Professor X.

A major storyline in "Incredible Hulk," which finds the Hulk stranded on a distant world, also plays a key role in "Civil War," Quesada says.

Also in 2006:

  • "Astonishing X-Men," written by "Buffy, the Vampire Slayer" creator Joss Whedon, returns in February after a hiatus. "It's the best title in comics," Quesada says.

  • "X-Men: Deadly Genesis," a six-issue miniseries under way, will shape future events in the X-Men's corner of the Marvel universe.

  • "Wolverine" will explore the question of what, if anything, can kill the scrappy hero, who has an unbreakable skeleton and incredible healing powers. "As it stands right now, he's pretty much invulnerable," Quesada says. "You can pretty much do anything to the guy and he just keeps coming and coming." But Wolverine will learn there is someone or something that can put him down for good.

  • Writer Brian Bendis ends his long run on "Daredevil," with writer Ed Brubaker and artist Michael Lark taking over the title in February. Matt "Daredevil" Murdock hasn't had an easy time of it lately: His secret identity has been exposed and he has been hunted by the FBI. And things aren't going to get any better. In a twist that should interest fans of Fox's "Prison Break," Murdock ends up behind bars.

  • The cosmic spotlight shines on Marvel's space-faring heroes and villains with "Annihilation," beginning in March. The event includes a special prologue issue, four limited series featuring the Silver Surfer, Super-Skrull, Nova and Ronan the Accuser, and a six-issue "Annihilation" miniseries that brings all the characters together.

  • "The Other," a four-month story running through the three core Spider-Man titles, ends in January. Expect Spider-Man to play a key role in "Marvel Civil War."

    At the end of 2006, Quesada teases, "there is probably the most Earth-shattering change coming to Spider-Man that we could possibly think of."