The Amazing Spider-Man: Civil War, by Michael Straczynski and Ron Garney ISBN 9780785122371
Five out of five stars
For nearly every boy, there was a time in elementary school when two groups of boys separated into groups and engaged in a competition, if not an out and out fight. The lengthy Marvel Civil War tale is similar to this, although it is quite different when the members of the two factions are superheroes.
The premise is that there was a battle between two superhero groups in Stamford, Connecticut and approximately 600 humans died. This event turned the American government and a large percentage of the American public against the superhero community and laws were passed that required all with superpowers to register and release their secret identity if they had one. Failure to do so meant arrest and being transferred to a prison in the Negative Zone, essentially they lost all of their rights.
The primary leaders of the pro registration forces are Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Reed Richards, the leader of the Fantastic Four. This book focuses on Peter Parker and Spider-Man as he starts out as a firm ally of Stark in his roundup of the heroes that refuse to obey the registration law. However, after he sees how the incarcerated heroes are being treated, he turns on Stark and joins the resistance forces led by Captain America.
In my opinion, this is a great story, because it is a morality play on human societies, what it means to be different and how prejudice can rear an ugly head. My favorite section is when Reed Richards describes his uncle Ted and what happened to him. The reaction of Richards to what Parker says about Ted demonstrates that even the most intelligent can fall for the “not like us” and conformity arguments in rationalizing their actions.