(Warning: The following contains major SPOILERS for the recently released Captain America: Civil War, as well as the shiny new comic-book Civil War II #1. Proceed with whatever level of caution that - or your friendly neighborhood future-seer - suggests to you is wise...)
Now, one of the central tenets of modern day superhero-dom is that death is, while often upsetting, almost always temporary. When a beloved hero (or villain) dies in a comic-book, or indeed a comic-book movie, it's likely that they'll be back sooner rather than later - especially if they're a fan favorite. That, of course, hasn't stopped many critics of superhero movies from agitating in favor of death being a little more permanent - but it has allowed us to hold on to a whole lot more hope in the wake of countless beloved characters' deaths.
Speaking of which...
(And, note, this is where those aforementioned SPOILERS really start to kick in...)
It Looks Like Marvel Just Killed Off Two Iconic Superheroes
Or, to be more specific, it seems as though Marvel Comics has killed off two iconic characters in the first its newly released crossover event, Civil War II.
A typically epic, multiple title-straddling summer event, Civil War II sees a new Inhuman reveal that he can see the future - something that leads to the Avengers saving the world from a Celestial Destroyer (don't ask). Captain Marvel and Iron Man then end debating whether or not it's appropriate to continue to use the Inhumans gifts to stop threats before they arise - with Cap taking the position that they're obliged to try to change the world for the better, and Iron Man arguing that caution is the wiser course.
And, then, Captain Marvel and a team of Avengers just went right ahead and followed on of those 'future-viewing leads'...and this happened:
Yup, that's right - Thanos just totally chest-murdered War Machine, leaving Captain Marvel to reference a certain iconic image from the original Civil War while cradling him in her arms.
That, though, wasn't the only loss the Avengers faced, with She-Hulk also leaving the battle with Thanos in critical condition - something made all the more difficult to take by her prior warning to Captain Marvel that using such assumed knowledge isn't a great idea. Her final words before flat-lining - and seemingly dying - though, surely offered Captain Marvel some small comfort...
...and yet, alongside the intense anger of Iron Man, War Machine's best friend, they may also have just stoked the fires of yet another Marvel Universe-spanning Civil War.
The big question for film fans, though?
How Will All Of This Effect The Marvel Cinematic Universe?
Well, on the face of it, it may well mean very little at all to the MCU, and its internal workings. The comic-book and cinematic corners of the Marvel Universe are, after all, entirely separate. That being said, it's entirely possible that Civil War II could find itself being adapted in a few years time (though likely not for a decade or more), in which case an aging War Machine could find himself in a little trouble. Captain America: Civil War may not be the end of his on-screen injuries, it seems...
Of course, it's also entirely possible that She-Hulk's apparent - yet still entirely unconfirmed - death could be intended as a delaying tactic in terms of her long-clamored for arrival in the MCU. If, as is widely suspected, her movie rights are tied up with The Hulk's non-Marvel owned distribution deal, it's not impossible that her comic-book death (though surely temporary) could be used as an excuse to keep her off screen until things can be worked out with Universal.
Or, y'know, she could turn up in Captain Marvel - possible alongside Brie Larson - and we can all spend the entire movie worrying about her chances of survival.
What do you reckon, though?
Do you think War Machine and She-Hulk are actually gone for good?