Monday, February 08, 2010

Taking sides

Sometimes comics want us to take sides.

Being the opinionated prick that I am, allow me....

Civil War

Captain America was right, and Tony Stark was a raging douchebag who allowed the failures of numerous complicit government oversight committees to burden him with guilt for somebody else's actions.  The scene in which the mother they use as the figure head of the movement to ban unlicensed super-heroes slaps him and blames him doesn't ring true at all.  Assigning blame to Stark for the wildly negligent behavior of the New Warriors and the television executives who green lit their show was assenine. In fact it's so stupid that I now wonder if I'm remembering that sequence wrong and I need to go back and review it.  Maybe.

In any event, the argument of Civil War comes down to Captain America (personal freedoms) against Iron Man (safety of the masses.) Well no matter how you look at it, both men are standing on a platform that has a strong foundation.  But when you dig deeper into the very ideas I think the foundations start to tremble a little bit.  Iron Man's is the weaker foundation for me, because surrendering civil liberties at the say-so of the government is how totalitarian regimes are built.  They don't start out as dictatorships, and they don't become them over night. They are built in a slow, regulated process under which citizens give up their freedoms in the best interest of the "many." Is it ever in anyone's best interest to give up their personal freedoms?

Now I'm not American, but even I could see that Civil War was a commentary of sorts about the reaction to 911, and the changes that were made in terms of what the government was allowed to do in pursuit of national security. I don't know if they were right or wrong to do that, but I do know that Stark came off as the biggest douchebag ever in Civil War, and he was almost always on the morally untenable ground. The scene in which he tries to buddy up to Thor in Secret Invasion, only to have Thor put him in his place for what happened to Cap is gold.

Suck a nut Tony!

I've taken a side; Cap's the man, and I would have run with the Mighty Avengers.

Planet Hulk

Were The Illuminati right to shoot Bruce Banner into space for the greater safety of mankind?  Do the ends justify the means? When Hulk comes back and he's angry enough to conquer the entire he in the 'moral right?'  Is his revenge justified? Who was right?

The simple answer is nobody.

In a practical world I would side with the Illuminati out of necessity. Somebody needs to find a way to kill The Sentry too.  That dude's mental and has the powers of a demi-god. He makes Thor look weak. Anyways, in the real world I don't think you have a lot of choice.  Mankind cannot continue to endure the mindless Hulk when he shows up.  But this is comic books, and heroes don't betray people.  That's what villains do.  On top of that, I just rallied for personal freedoms, so I can't very well justify launching the Hulk into space for the 'greater good' on the heels of that, can I?

Some of the smartest minds in the world met as a part of The Illuminati, and they decided that their course of action was acceptable.  It wasn't.  In betraying Banner, they also gave up that part of themselves which made them heroes even amongst the other members of the spandex set. We must hold men like Stark, Richard, Xavier, Namor and Bolt to a higher standard even than we hold their colleagues.  These men are the visionaries and leaders of the heroes of Marvel, and if their vision is so incapable to see their own failing, the entire Marvel Universe is in dangerous hands.

As for Hulk's rampage upon his return?  He's wrong too.

But that all comes out as the story winds down.

Anyways, I was thinking about moral dilemmas today, and these two came to mind.  As did the ones in Crossed. I think that whenever you stop caring about and thinking about people as individuals, and use 'bigger pictures' to justify your actions, you are in danger of losing touch with your humanity.

In short.

Tony Stark is an asshole.


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