We’ve barely been in the All-New, All-Different Marvel Universe for six months, and already the big guns at Marvel are invading the stories and wallets of comic fans with yet another wave of crossover events.
We’ve known about Civil War II for a while now, as editor-in-chief Axel Alonso and lead writer Brian Michael Bendis have been all over the internet pinky-promising that it won’t be a retread of the original Civil War, despite hitting nearly all the major beats of its predecessor, plus that buddy cop episode of Futurama . Not helping their case is Marvel’s recent announcement that the Civil War II story will open with a catastrophic attempt to apprehend Thanos, resulting in two major characters sustaining potentially lethal injuries, both of whom were identified in Civil War II #0, the prelude comic released on Free Comic Book Day.
Spoilers for Civil War II from here on!
First, She-Hulk gets hit by a stray War Machine rocket meant to take down Thanos, causing a massive explosion.
Then, while a distraught Rhodey looks for She-Hulk in the wreckage, Thanos emerges from the smoke and launches a brutal counterattack.
Supposedly, Thanos escapes in the chaos, as all Captain Marvel and her team find in the burning rubble are She-Hulk and War Machine unconscious and severely injured. Rhodey in particular looks utterly broken, surrounded in shrapnel and flames, and most likely dead after taking a direct hit from Thanos.
Not satisfied with just two major character deaths, Marvel also unveiled their next big X-Men event, Death of X, cryptically describing the upcoming story as “the destruction of the X-Men’s dream” while showing off the first three variant covers for the event, all of which feature the gruesome death of a major X-Men character.
Granted, this isn’t the first time Marvel’s hinted at the near-total extinction of the X-Men, but in those stories, the Inhumans weren’t rapidly overtaking their place in the Marvel Universe and Colossus’ right leg hadn’t vanished into another dimension, so anything’s possible. Still, Marvel’s fueled a great deal of crossover event fatigue and cynicism toward character death among its fans over the past several years, especially now since we just recovered from the epic insanity of last year’s Secret Wars. We can’t help but hope that Marvel grows out of its habit for shock deaths as their all-new universe moves forward.