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Civil War writer Mark Millar and editor Tom Brevoort fielded questions for some 45 minutes on Friday in Marvel's latest telephone press conference.

Following are highlights:

* Millar said the main thrust of Civil War isn't so much about heroes giving up their secret identities as it is the heroes becoming paid federal employees.

"Nobody is really right and nobody is really wrong," Millar said. "Tony (Stark) believes this is the right thing to do because the people will be safer in the long run. There are all these people with powers running around unchecked in the Marvel Universe. But Captain America is pointing out that maybe it's a good idea to have that secret identity and to be a hero out of pure altruism."

Asked why DC claims it's going to a lighter side, while Civil War seems like a dark event for Marvel, Millar said:

"It's funny DC keeps saying they are doing less dark stuff, but all their big books seem to be peoples' head getting ripped off or people dying. They been saying for two years it's going to lead to a light place, but it seems like it's a long road.

"I can understand why they are doing this because it created a lot of attention. I also don't know if being dark is such a bad thing. There's a purpose for stories like that. Hopefully with Civil War there's a balance between the dark and light. I'm a fan of secret identities and the old-school traditional Marvel approach. I hope to bring a lot of that back. Some people who had advanced looks at the scripts said this book really appeals to them."

* Continuing a Civil War vs. Infinite Crisis theme, Brevoort said that the Marvel Universe is traditionally "set in the world around," where as the DC Universe is more removed from day-to-day reality.

"Infinite Crisis is about the universe of DC Comics and has very little releavance to what is going on in the world at all," he said. "In the case of Civil War, if you live in the world, you will find some sort of relevance."

* Millar said seeing Captain America and Iron Man as foes is interesting. "Because you've got somebody wearing a nuclear weapon against somebody who is just pretty tough," he said.

* Millar said Civil War will be "fairly self-contained" and the end of the series will have "massive" ramifications.

"It's one for the generations," he said. "You couldn't do this series again next year. It's one of those things that shakes things up. You couldn't do taht year after year ot it would be stupid."

* Millar said he relied on Brevoort's knowledge of the Marvel Universe. "If you're going to do a big book, you have to make sure that the continuity is absolutely consistent," he said.

* Wolverine doesn't play a big role in Civil War series, but his title will dovetail with events.

"Wolverine's in 18 other books," Millar said. "I love Wolverine, but having him center stage all the time would be a mistake. I thought it would be a good idea to show how cool the other characters are."

* Brevoort balked at a body count. "I wouldn't want to do a scene where over the hill come 27 lame third-rate characters who get their arms and legs pulled off. I would rather have one death that matters to a reader, rather than throwing out an army of bodies in hopes someone cares about one of the characters killed.

* Brevoort put to rest rumors of a figure pulling the strings behind Civil War. "There is no mysterious mastermind," he said.

* Millar said writing Civil War was "a lot harder" than he expected. Drafts frequently went through five to seven changes and one script lost 18 off the 22 pages.

"Something this big, you can't go into lightly," he said. "You have to take it really seriously.

* Millar said he and Civil War artist Steve McNiven had talked about working together for three years, including at one point a Ultimate Captain America mini-series set during World War II. "I stole him from Brian Bendis, which is great," Millar said.

* Originally, the plan was for Captain America to be pro-registration and Iron Man anti-registration.

"It just didn't fit," Brevoort said. "Characters would not allow themsleves to go down certain paths."

Millar said that Captain America is all about personal freedom -- "He smells of 1776" -- while Tony Stark is a futurist. Events in the early issues of Civil War will more clearly definite Stark's viewpoint.

* Will the characters become too political to be likeable? "I think we can avoid that by making everyone sympathetic," Millar said, again noting there is no clear-cut right or wrong in the story.

* Millar said the event came out of a writers' meeting. Originally Brian Michael Bendis pitched a S.H.I.E.L.D. vs. Marvel Universe event.

"We dropped the S.H.I.E.L.D. aspect because S.H.I.E.L.D. would have been over used," Millar said. "It just evolved into this thing.

"Jeph Loeb then crystalized it by saying, 'Whose side are you?'"

Millar said Civil War was the original title for a project he and Bryan Hitch are working on.

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