Robot 6

Political pundits on Civil War: Iron Man Was Right

from Civil War

from Civil War

Captain America’s embroiled in a whole different controversy these days, but some real-world analysts remember the last time he got mixed up in a political back-and-forth: Marvel’s Civil War. Back then, Cap took up arms against Iron Man’s Superhero Registration Act, which required super-people to be registered, regulated and trained by the government. And this time, it’s liberals who are calling Cap out about it.

In a post that kicks off with a take on this week’s tea-party tantrum, national security blogger Spencer Ackerman of the progressive site Firedoglake argues that Iron Man and the pro-Registration side of the superhero Civil War were in the right:

[…] what Iron Man was really saying was no different than the uncontroversial principle that the state needs a monopoly on the legitimate use of force. When Cap launched his “the government will pick the supervillains” monologue, I was surprised that someone — like She-Hulk, who’s a lawyer — didn’t reply, “Wait, no. We have laws criminalizing certain behavior. We’ll have to follow those laws. That’s why the cops and the firefighters and the military and the intelligence communities don’t just go around legally killing members of the out-of-power party. Why would we be any different?”

Ackerman argues that by making Captain America, the living symbol of American patriotism, the leader of the anti-Registration side, Marvel stacked the emotional deck against Tony Stark even though the facts were in his favor.

Left-leaning economics and domestic-policy blogger Ezra Klein of the Washington Post agrees, and makes his case even more bluntly than Ackerman:

Iron Man was unequivocally right in the argument over superhero registration. I’m not even sure what the case for the other side is, and the libertarians I’ve asked haven’t been able to come up with one. If the state has any legitimate function at all, it’s to train and regulate people who could accidentally kill everyone in a hundred-mile radius.

For the record, I agree completely, and I’ve ranted and raved about this ever since the Civil War broke out. All Iron Man was calling for in the Superhuman Registration Act was for the government to exercise the sort of control over superpowered vigilantes that they have over the police, military, and intelligence agencies. When Captain America rebelled against this, he was basically fighting for the right for him and his chums to be able to toss Doctor Octopus or whoever into a city bus with less government oversight than a 16-year-old learning to drive or the nice lady who runs the nail salon at the strip mall around the block. But Marvel relentlessly loaded its Civil War comics with cues that Cap was the good guy and Iron Man was bad, from comparing the SHRA to internment camps and Guantanamo Bay, to giving Cap the more sympathetic side of the “freedom vs. security” debate for which Civil War was a broad-strokes metaphor (keep in mind that in the real world, the leader of the “security” side was George W. Bush), to making Stark act like a tyrannical tool for no reason (J. Michael Straczynski’s Amazing Spider-Man Civil War tie-in storyline, I’m looking in your direction), to simply giving the anti-Reg side much cooler superheroes. Captain America, Spider-Man, Luke Cage, the Thing, the Young Avengers, and the Punisher vs. pre-Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man, Mister Fantastic, Hank Pym, Ms. Marvel, Norman freaking Osborn, and a psychotic Thor clone? Yeah, no bias there.

You ended up almost having to root for Captain American against the increasingly unlikeable Iron Man, even though Cap was wrong on the issues. Fortunately, our nation’s pundit class is setting the historical record straight.

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45 Comments

A small nitpick: If I recall correctly, the Thing refused to take sides, leaving for France (which was a bit of an over-the-top gesture). I thought this neutrality was right for the character, who is much more known for his loyalty to friends on both sides of the debate than for any particular political convictions.

History is written by revisionists!

Crossover are written by id :)

This is interesting. I’m pretty dang liberal (by our standards in America, at least), and even after reading this, I still can’t see this. Yeah, there are pieces of valid arguments that support Tony Stark and registration, but by no means do I see them adding up so as to completely demolish the opposing position.

For heaven’s sake. It’s 2010; if we’ve learned anything in the past decade it should be that ANY and EVERY person potentially has the ability to “kill everyone in a hundred-mile radius.” And yet, personally at least, I don’t see this as justification for “regulating” everyone, whether that takes the form of warrantless wiretapping or body scanners.

True, conventional terrorists generally don’t “kill everyone in a hundred-mile radius” by accident, but I just don’t see that as having been the issue in Civil War. How many superbeings who kill people do so by accident? I don’t think it’s really that many. So I don’t see grounds for rounding them all up and “regulating” them just because they MIGHT “kill everyone in a hundred-mile radius” by accident.

A lot of bad things MIGHT happen. Once the precautionary principle is placed above civil liberties in a sweeping fashion, there’s no obvious place to stop. That kind of logic ultimately demands the “regulation” of everyone and everything.

No, I think both viewpoints were legitimate. It was a choice between the system that had up to that point worked pretty well on balance, against a big-government system where the state decides what operations you’re doing, how you conduct yourself, etc. All over the superpowers that person may not have chosen to obtain in the first place. And never mind the potential for corruption it creates (not least when someone like Norman Osborn gets put in charge of the system, as we saw in “Dark Reign”).

I think it’s funny that you frame a national security specialist and a left-leaner on opposite sides of the political spectrum. They are the same.

(Incidentally, the bit that confused me was where the Young Avengers spent the last few issues of their title lecturing the New Avengers about how what they needed was some formal training, and then Iron Man spearheads that exact system and in Civil War #2 they’re completely against it.)

Interesting. I’m pretty dang conservative, but I agree with Wraith! But then, I’m for the Constitution’s concept of limited government and maximized individual freedom, as well as the 2nd ammendment. And I’m against oppressive regulation.

There’s also the fact that CIVIL WAR never suggested a way in which the anti-registration side could actually *win*. Even if they successfully beat up all the pro-registration heroes — then what? Iron Man and co. would still have been active, the SHRA would still have been on the books, they still would’ve been outlaws. For anything to change, congress would either have had to pass a law repealing the SHRA, or the Supreme Court would have had to declare the law unconstitutional.

The fact that this was never touched on was one of my personal frustrations with CIVIL WAR, on top of the deck-stacking you mentioned.

This assumes that a superpowered person or mutant wants to use their ability. These pundits are also ignoring the fact that in the Marvel U Mutants were hunted down by Sentinels.

Why would any mutant register when that information could be used against them by a government that has a history of hunting them down?

Here’s a bigger argument… why would Stark be Pro-Registration when he’s seen psychopaths get hold of his technology and personal information before and wreak havoc?

Registering allows someone like Norman Osborn to be able to know where all the heroes live, work and who their loved ones are. Tony Stark has seen this shit happen before.

Now on the other hand it does make sense that if you’re want to be an Avenger you need to register or a member of SHIELD, etc.

Here’s the other thing Vigilantism is illegal to begin with, so did they really expect people who were already breaking the law to just up and decide to suddenly follow it and register?

Tom Daylight: “I think it’s funny that you frame a national security specialist and a left-leaner on opposite sides of the political spectrum. They are the same.” I didn’t do that. I said Ackerman is a liberal, he writes for Firedoglake, and fwiw he and Klein used to be housemates. They’re on the same side.

Anyway, the state is a monopoly of force. That’s just what a state is. It’s not a monopoly of force involving guns, but not force involving laser beams shot out of eyeballs. Drawing that distinction is silly.

Do you think the government would release all the names and addresses of all of our national security people, F.B.I. and C.I.A.? Nope. That would and could expose their jobs and operations and compromise their work to keep our country safe from threats, national and domestic. Its the same with the SHRA. By doing this they exposed themselves from internal threats and external dangers- i.e. Osborn, Doom and Loki. Look at what has happened. Osborn gained access to all of Starks technology and the data from shield and used them for his own agendas. Bad guys are running rampant and are heroes are left picking up the pieces.

It’s funny, I never thought all the Marvel books were loaded with an Anti-Iron Man sentiment during the Civil War days. I mean sure, Straczynski loaded his books with a very heavy anti-registration bias, but the main book didn’t.

I remember re-reading the first few issues over and over while getting into messageboard debates (oh, those were the days) and noticing that all the visual cues were that Cap was the villain. He was ruled by emotion, stubborn in his beliefs, working against the will of the people, and at one point, became disfigured because of his quest. Hell, he was the one that threw the first big punch when Iron Man was extending a hand in peace! That’s no hero!

That’s not to say that ol’Shellhead was the ideal hero, but he was at least making the hard decisions about how to make the system work and keep the trust of the public.

Try rereading Civil War through the prism that Cap is the villain, and everything just kinda clicks into place.

Nice article!

Tell me you’re joking.

Thanks for taking the time to beat what little magic is left in superhero comics to death with an Iron Man-shaped crowbar. If you’re not being satirical, and I can’t tell, then I’m sorry that you and Klein, whom I normally agree with, feel that a lack of government regulation and bureaucracy intrudes on the realism of a Norse god who flies by throwing his hammer and then holding onto it, a family of four that all by itself stole and launched a rocket to the moon, and a guy who got super-powers by being bitten by a radioactive spider.

The Civil War argument that I either missed or was never made is that the reason you don’t hold superheroes to the same regulations as you do cops and firefighters is that superheroes aren’t paid for their services and receive no protection from any form of benefits in exchange for their service and sacrifice. Superheroes don’t have be beholden to the training and regulations of regular law enforcement, but neither are they in turn entitles to a salary, insurance or disability. They are good samaritans and operate as such.

Also, and more importantly, the reason you don’t hold superheroes to the same regulations as you do cops and firefighters is that NO ONE WANTS TO READ SCENE AFTER SCENE OF SPIDER-MAN HAVING TO FILL OUT PAPERWORK. Superhero comics are fantasy. These are works of fiction. They are not documentaries. Superheroes exist solely to do the implausible. And if (the royal-you) you’re not willing to suspend your disbelief for five minutes so you can just kick back and enjoy stories about people who do the things we wish we could do, you’re taking it too seriously and I have no idea why on Earth you’re reading superhero comics. Truly.

I mean, in the same vein, I can do twenty minutes on all the logic holes in the Cinderella story, but why? What’s the purpose other than to take all the fun out of it? I mean, I get that as a nation we’re now so terrified of absolutely everything that might in our wildest imaginations somehow be envisioned as a threat that we’re willing to everything our forefathers fought for…but to take even five minutes of real-life time to champion Iron Man’s side is to admit your fear of danger now extends to being afraid of FICTIONAL CHARACTERS.

“Yeah, but if they were real–”

THEY’RE NOT REAL.

Superheroes are not about rules, they’re about flying. The end.

I felt the main book was pretty even, leaning pro-Registration as Matt Jackson said, but the tie-ins were pretty overwhelming anti-registration in my opinion.

I’m not gonna argue the rest of Waid’s points, but the “NO ONE WANTS TO READ SCENE AFTER SCENE OF SPIDER-MAN HAVING TO FILL OUT PAPERWORK” got to me, because despite Iron Man’s side winning, we still didn’t see comics full of any body filling out paperwork. We don’t see comics or movies or tv shows full of COPS filling out paper work in cop dramas either.
Sorry, but that bit of the argument rang a little false to me.

Okay, then, allow me to rephrase. NO ONE WANTS TO READ STORIES OF SUPERHEROS AS MIDDLE MANAGEMENT. Better?

Waid is right.

It’s a comic book. A work of fiction, fantasy or an escape from reality. I know after a long day, I like to sit down and read a few comics to forget about the 9-5.

Keep it as a comic. A work of fiction. When men and women don spandex and fight crime in real life maybe we can have this discussion again.

Until then, let Spider-Man do whatever a Spider can. Let the Joker run wild in the streets of Gotham poisoning people with his laughing fish until the caped crusader swings down to stop him and let Captain America be what he is. A comic book icon.

TotalWorldDomination

February 12, 2010 at 8:27 pm

Ok, Mr. Waid. I’ll buy your argument. Here’s my counter- If you don’t want fans making arguments about how superheroes would function in real world conditions DON’T WRITE A STORY ASKING YOUR DAMN READERS TO IMAGINE HOW SUPERHEROES WOULD FUNCTION IN REAL WORLD CONDITIONS!!!

It’s not like fans were reading Spider-Man and asking why he wasn’t following proper police procedure. Fans were not wondering where Cap and Iron Man stood on the issues of personal freedom vs. public safety. We did not cry out for this story. Marvel gave it to us, then wussed out on it. Marvel asked the fans to divide themselves into two groups and root for sides, promising both sides would be treated equally. They failed.

Marvel started this ball rolling. They asked the fans to contribute to it. They encouraged it. And now they seem confused that we still argue about it. They decided halfway through that Cap was the hero and Iron Man (and the government) was the villain. It wasn’t that people didn’t want to read superheroes as Middle Management- it was that marvel was too lazy to write the establishment as heroes.

Based on the excerpts I saw, Ackerman and Klein are both wrong. You can tell they aren’t writers, and they might be unfamiliar with the ’70s Marvel comics as well. The stories worked then, and they would work now just as well, because they featured superheroes with powers fighting against villains that, at times, the combined armed forces of the U.S., couldn’t deal with. The government called on the services of the Avengers as needed.

The “Civil War” scenario only works for some people because, in the Bendis era, the heroes no longer fight super villains regularly. They fight foes that the police or other well-armed people could handle, and they fight among themselves. Stories are no longer morality plays; they’re crime fiction scenarios with the heroes stuck in the slots that law enforcement agents should fill. If the heroes and paranormals generally are depicted as threats to the public, then readers might go along with the assertion in a story, but that attitude toward the heroes negates the reason for using them in stories. If the story is going to be that “realistic,” then go all the way and have police as the heroes, fighting normal lawbreakers.

That internal contradiction — using superheroes in stories but not writing them as superheroes — has been present in Bendis’s stories since “Avengers Disassembled” and has, I expect, been present elsewhere. Perhaps Ackerman and Klein should be thanked for focusing attention on the faux realism in the Bendis era, but they need to read stories from decades past, when the heroes were actually super.

SRS

I’ve been arguing this since Civil War came out. It makes no sense. Being a superhero is not a right. The right to being a superhero is not in the constitution. I think the main flaw with Civil War was it tried to over-analyze the concept of being a superhero with vague notions, which is pretty unrealistic, so it took me out of the story.

Christian Otholm

February 13, 2010 at 6:38 am

If it were the real world, the idea of the Superhero Registration isn’t bad, but in the Marvel universe, where the superheroes are ALWAYS righteous, good, lucky and adverse to collateral damage, it doesn’t add up. I don’t want vigilantes in the real world, but it seems to be working out pretty well in the 616.

It’s kinda like what Superman said in Morrison’s JLA Classified: “These ‘no-nonsense’ solutions of yours just don’t hold water in a complex world of jet-powered apes and time travel.”

The problem is, the Registration wasn’t for being a super HERO but for being “super.” That is– as a mutant, or a person bit by a radioactive animal, or the victim of a science accident, or whatever, you were required to register. Even if you were not practicing vigilantism. Requiring a license to take the law into your own hands is a reasonable argument; that compromise wasn’t ever discussed that I saw. No, it was the Mutant Registration Act, redux; the law wanted people who were different to be tracked by the state & marginalized as second class citizens. & THAT ain’t right. Of course, nobody in the comic was ever putting forward a rational argument– it was just two straw men.

I think Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 actually gave a much more balanced view of a super powered Civil War

I always thought that the one-sided nature of Civil War was the result of lazy writing more than anything else. Where they could have told a story about heroes making difficult choices and the compromises that must be made to find a balance between freedom and security, Marvel’s writers ended up going for a good vs. evil plot. Ultimately, I think Civil War did a lot to re-invigorate the Marvel universe, but as a story i could have been a lot more intricate and less pandering.

Respectfully, Mr. Waid, in IRREDEEMABLE you have your Superman stand-in slaughtering millions and sinking the island-nation of Singapore for shits and giggles. I am enjoying the series. But it is hardly preserving what “little magic is left in superhero comics.”

Writers like yourself opened the door to psychological realism in comics by, well, writing GOOD comics. The genre isn’t merely about good samaritans flying around beating up bad guys anymore. Actions have consequences, we’re taught. It then becomes reasonable to wonder how these super-beings can go around trespassing, causing property damage, and committing assault and battery without legal repercussion.

The Registration deal was explicitly that the superheroes would have to register (without having to disclose their identities to the public, despite Spider-Man’s unmasking) and become salaried agents of SHIELD. In exchange they get a general amnesty for past vigilantism. If a superhero doesn’t like the deal, they can retire i.e. stop taking the law into their own hands (this makes it different from the Mutant Registration Act). This is a pretty good deal, all things considered. The Constitution does not give you a right to shoot laser beams at people just because you can.

There’s no reason to think storytelling in such a world suddenly becomes about filing papers and bureaucracy. Registration was the status quo in the Ultimate universe since its inception, and those books were outdoing their 616 counterparts for a long time. How many television police procedurals are about filing police reports?

Tony Stark was right on the policy, but Marvel didn’t play fair in depicting the two sides. And now Norman Osborn is at the wheel, so Registration is clearly evil.

LOL. Waid tried (and consistently tries) to do fun comics in Brave and the Bold. Despite being incredibly well written, nobody read it. So he does Irredeemable and nobody shuts up about it. That’s how you feed your family and/or yourself: giving people what they want, and in the process probably having a little fun at the same time.

In any case–this argument that because as superhero comics becomes viewed more and more as an artform, something like the Registration deal is a plausible story to tell in mainstream (Big Two) superheroes is sorta ridiculous. When you take away the idea of the superhero being just one guy who decides to make a difference–not as a job, but just something he wants to do because he can (meaning no paycheck, no vacation, no pension)–you take away the core essence of the superhero. You’ve taken out the “hero”.

I was pro-Reg from day one.

With all due respect, Mr Waid, superheroes are whatever it is the writer wants them to be. While I can understand people preferring one type of superhero stories (for example, “fun” stories) over the other, I don’t see any reason why writers should be constrained to one type or another. There is no reason why a writer can’t do a story that deals with minutia of superhero bureaucracy, and there is no reason why it can’t be done well (it would be hard, but not impossible). Or, more to the point, there is no reason why a writer can’t deal with repracautious of something like Marvel Universe’s Registration Act. Heck, your own output is a testament enough to the versatility of superheroes (or super-powered beings in general) as a concept.

The only comment I have is not every super powered being in the Marvel universe uses there abilities, most don’t in fact, at least not is the sense of being a hero or villian. From what I’ve gathered reading Marvel is most of the mutants and otherwise empowered people would prefer to live normal lives therefore they shouldn’t have to register. As far as the heroes go, I just don’t like the idea of them being registered, I’m old school like that although if this were real life, I’d might have a differing opion. But it’s not real life so this isn’t a big deal.

Actually, Mr Mark Waid I think superheroes working middle management could be hilarious. Someone should run with that story if they haven’t already.

“The problem is, the Registration wasn’t for being a super HERO but for being ‘super.’ That is– as a mutant, or a person bit by a radioactive animal, or the victim of a science accident, or whatever, you were required to register.”

That was *the* fatal flaw in the Civil War storyline: People didn’t have their ducks in a row about what the SHRA actually was, and that made an enormous difference when answering “Whose side are you on?”

If, as originally presented, the SHRA was directed only active superheroes then Iron Man was right. There was a giveaway “newspaper” created as a promotional item during Civil War which contained a wonderful essay by Jennifer Walters (She-Hulk) explaining that point.

Then the scope and nature of the SHRA mutated.

When the SHRA shifted from “active superheroes” to “all superhumans” it became a toss-up, where valid arguments could be presented on both sides. This is where the vulnerability of information becomes an even stronger point, for example. If the SHRA is only applied to active superheroes, then one can protect their identity by not acting as a superhero. But if the SHRA applies to all superhumans, then protecting one’s identity becomes a real concern.

Once the SHRA turned into mandatory conscription, it stopped being defensible. Registered superhumans were being ordered into situations they found morally objectionable. (Almost ironic that She-Hulk got it worst…) You just couldn’t support Stark any more.

Marvel and Millar had a great concept to start with, but they let it get out of control.

-J

One reason why the “old-fashioned” interpretation of superheroes works and the newfangled one doesn’t is the technology gap. When superheroes and their adventures are an overlay on the modern world and the stories are morality plays, with limited interaction with the real world, readers don’t have to wonder why Americans are stuck with gasoline-powered cars, why there are slums and ghettos, why American culture hasn’t been changed dramatically by a transfer of technology from the superscientists to the rest of the country.

Marvel Editorial broke that barrier when it okayed stories that let the government control paranormals on a mass basis, using nanotechnology, imprison them in a extra-dimensional prison, etc. Once the government becomes a player in superhero politics and events, the logical extension of the concept is that the government will create and control its own paranormals and depower or imprison existing paranormals who don’t follow orders. Superheroes and real-world politics just don’t mix.

SRS

I agree with Waid that everyone is taking this way to seriously. “Civil War” was an outragious analogy of the real world political scene. SHRA was the Patriot Act, the Negative Zone was Guantamo Bay, etc… Perhaps the writers started out making the issue seem balanced then took to leaning one way or the other; perhaps individual readers were just seeing what they wanted to see as often happens in political debate. The bottom line though is that “Civil War” was just an analogy. They took real life issues and turned them into a fantasticly outrageous tale.

If any debate was meant to be inspired, it’s the debates over the Patriot Act and Gitmo, not SHRA and the Negative Zone. If you want to debate the latter among your fanboy friends then by all means do so. But these “real news” bloggers need to stick to real issues.

Personally, I most related to Spider-man in this story. Years ago I got caught in the middle of a dispute between my two older brothers involving the custody of my nephew. Unable to stay neutral, I chose a side which later proved to be the wrong side, at which point I had to make things right. “Steve” forgave me. “Tony” never will.

That’s me reading what I wanted to read in “Civil War.” An exact analogy? Hell no. But that’s not really what it’s about is it?

Have your debate, but lighten it up a little. It may be fiction imitating life, but it is still just fiction.

Mark Waid: please step away from the internet before your “these people are obviously joking around” sensors permanently fail. :)

I can’t speak for Ackerman and Klein, but I was just spitballing based on the contours of the “rules” developed by Millar et al in the first place, and it seems pretty clear they were doing the same. It ain’t my fault it falls apart upon examination. For me, the whole idea of Registration shouldn’t have been brought up in the first place for many of the “hey, c’mon, they’re superheroes” reasons you cite.

Also, it’s kinda funny that you’re busting people’s chops for being too picayune and joyless and rules-oriented in a comment where you also explain that the lack of salary and benefits superheroes receive changes their status.

Meanwhile, everyone who’s pointed out that the SHRA criminalized not just behavior but people’s mere status is totally right. Again, if they’d smoothed out that wrinkle, the story would have been stronger, and Iron Man and Cap would have been on more even footing.

One last thing: Ackerman’s reported from Afghanistan. I don’t think “aversion to danger” enters into it for him.

In the real world, something like this makes perfect sense and is completely defensible. The fact is, most vigilantes in real life have been nothing but violent racists or people who wanted to execute someone who had already been lawfully arrested without trial. In the context of the Marvel Universe, where the heroes are almost completely without moral blemish and the government is utterly corrupt, defending the SHRA seems to mean only that you aren’t reading the actual text close enough. Millar tried to present us with the idea that one disaster would make people freak out, but what about the hundreds of disasters that were far worse in the past, or the fact that it was a villain, not a hero, who caused the disaster in the first place? These things are not addressed, and as such, they make sense only in the context that the rest of the Marvel Universe is to be ignored, or that the population of said universe is completely insane.

Some asked the question of who gave these people the right to do what they do, and maybe to some degree that’s fair, but I think it’s safe to say that people like Captain America EARNED that right a long time ago. When I saw the various people throwing Cap to the ground at the end of the last issue, I didn’t think, “Wow, if those people hate Cap, he must be wrong.” Instead, I thought, “What a bunch of ungrateful jackasses.” I’ve also always found the idea of calling heroes “Walking WMDs” to be grossly simplistic and, in the context of the world in which they live, offensive. It removes their humanity, which is really what superheroes are about. The powers are cool, but what makes them admirable is the fact that they use their them to help people, and fight those who abuse such powers. To reduce them to their destructive capacity is once again a gross misreading. I also disliked the idea that all the intellectual heroes supported registration. The idea seems to be that no intelligent person, or at least no person who thinks with their brain instead of their heart, would have any objection to the law, when there are plenty of rational reasons to oppose it, including the government taking control of any person who is in any way special, or the fact that so much of the American Constitution would have to be ignored to make it happen, or the idea of creating a forced conscription outside of a war. Any one of these is intellectually an extremely bad idea, and doesn’t bode well for a democratic nation. You could argue the opposite as well, but you see my point.

From a meta-story perspective, the idea of the SHRA does potentially make the life of superheroes less fun and fantastic, and I think in the context of the world where the Marvel heroes live, that is a problem. Still, I think you could tell stories independently of that where government-sponsored superheroics are not such a bad thing. Also, I think there probably were ways Marvel could have made their own SHRA not so bad. You will note that Cap only rebelled after he realized the law would be designed for hunting down heroes and throwing them in secret prisons without trial. Of course, if it were a reasonable law, there wouldn’t have been hero vs. hero slugfests.

As to whether supporting the freedom of superheroes or restricting them to government control is liberal or conservative, I think you could really make the argument either way depending where you stand on the politics or the issues at hand, so it’s really a toss-up.

That was a pretty great walk-through of the whole magilla, Jesse. Thanks.

Obviously in the real world the pro-registration side are right since the anti-registration side is effectively calling for a vigilante free-for-all. But since Marvel are (not without justification) often seen as leaning hevily to the liberal side of any argument, it’s perhaps worth noting that in CIVIL WAR, the anti-registration side were effectively putting forward anti-government militia-type arguments which are about as right-wing as you get, even in America, and were on any view being portrayed very sympathetically in doing so. You can make a case for Iron Man’s side being paternalistic liberal or authoritarian right-wing, or a blend of both, but Cap’s side is pretty clearly hardline libertarian rather than any sort of liberal worldview.

I get it now. Superheroes should be registered, documented and controlled. But not guns.

Civil War was such a blunt, clumsy, and ugly story, it ruined my enjoyment of the Brubaker Captain America up until that point. That’s how bad Civil War was; it ruined OTHER comics for me. Like a virus or a house fire next door.

Which is not to say there’s anything wrong with discussing it from a political standpoint. But it is of course important to note that Civil War marks what might be charitably called an out of character moment for Captain America, because the whole “heroes of 9/11 tackle Cap and his heart breaks and he gives up” thing at the end was retarded.

In the Stephen Colbert/Rush Limbaugh-is-satire, rather than the Rom Emnuael (that’s probably spelled wrong)- is-the-devil sense of the word “retarded.” Many retarded layers.

F^@& Iron Man. He showed his true Fascist colors at last. Cap new the deal he was there when that short no D*#% goose stepper tried to shape the world before. He understood the importance of individual freedom. Iron man was an insane drunk under the influence of alien invaders. And lets not even start on what he did to Bruce. Only for the monster to have more loyalty and humanity then his judges.

PS>Furthermore if you look at the line up cap only fought along side only heros, Iron draws aligned himself with criminals and murderers. But I guess its alright when you are using them to further the agenda of the state Hmmm where have I seen that before

And Further Furthermore no one ever answered Caps Question when Iron draws said “They only want you to register”
and he asked “Who Are They” Some of you might be to young to understand the danger of an organization with the title THEY, having control of your identity.

Classic trolling. 8 out of 10. Would rage again.

Iron Man was wrong. The problem with all of these reviewers is that they start from a basis of being basically modern Progressives; which means any consistent libertarian is going to reject Civil War at the starting gate. Thankfully, Marvel has finally ended Dark Reign and undone Civil War.

If the writers wanted to play it straight, the government would TRY to regulate superhumans (and would have long ago) and would have gotten utterly raped by the massively more powerful superhumans that don’t want their ‘help’. This would wind up with superhumans replacing the acting governments and civil war would be strictly between superhumans; normal humans becoming essentially irrelevant in economic, military and political terms as gorillas are to our government. However, because Marvel comic books exist in a perpetual duplicate of late 90’s Earth, this will never happen.

The monopoly on force is causation, not prevention. Guns exist because criminals exist. Super-heroes exist because super-villains exist. If the monopoly on force meant the absolute regulation of all forms of force, then nearly everything deserves to be regulated and controlled. That’s not the case, however, and because the monopoly on force is unable to sufficiently respond to super-villains– the evolutionary response, super-heroes, can.

Super-villains aren’t confined to certain countries (or planets, for that matter) nor are they regulated– to regulate super-heroes, without precedent, is no different than searches/ceizures without warrants, or regulating guns/weapons because criminals use them. Super-heroes represent an ideal good, the super-good, and when they no longer represent the good, while using their powers for illegal things, they become super-villains and are subject to litigation (and other super-heroes).

The difference between Iron Man and Captain America is that Captain America acted in accordance with the principles of good, which is why he beat the snot out of Punisher after discovering Castle killed two villains, and when he realized he’s no longer representing the will of the people, he surrenders, while Iron Man has no problem recruiting super-villains; the very reason that super-heroes exist, thus contradicting his original purpose. The struggle from that point was no longer about any greater good nonsense but about control of civil rights with the assumption that super-heroes COULD use their gifts for evil or they COULD be used for illegal means. If they COULD, it doesn’t mean they WILL, and if they DO, they are no longer super-heroes, they are super-villains.

Iron Man’s position was the same position of Hal Jordan’s during Cry For Justice, and it ended with Green Arrow putting an arrow through Prometheus’ head, killing him. Why? Because Prometheus COULD have acted on evil inclinations.

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