James Daily and Ryan Davidson intend to prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that every subject, even one as dry and forbidding as the law, is more fun when you add superheroes. Exhibit A: The Law of Superheroes, their new book based on their blog Law and the Multiverse, which seeks to do for their area of expertise what James Kakalios’ 2006 book The Physics of Superheroes did for his.
I lack a black robe and a gavel, so I’m not certain exactly how authoritative my judgment on this particular case can be, but I think the pair did a rather admirable job. I can’t say in good conscience that their book is a rollicking, can’t-put-it-down read — even with superheroes, it’s still a book about the law and other, um, legal stuff — but it’s certainly interesting, and, for those of us coming at it as longtime comics fans, it presents new ways of thinking about classic characters and their weekly adventures.
The book’s 13 chapters are divided into rather broad subjects like constitutional law, criminal law, international law and so forth, and breaks the subject down further with various articles falling under each chapter’s subject, pulling examples from comic books (and a few movies based on comic books, particularly the Christopher Nolan-directed Batman movies, Iron Man and the Spider-Man movies).
So, for example, the chapter on constitutional law contains articles on mutant rights, superpowers and the Second Amendment, forcible removal of superpowers, the death penalty as it might apply to immortal or nigh-invulnerable characters, and so on. It’s discussion of the law that mainly drives the book’s construction; where the superheroes come in is when it’s time to apply that law to the Marvel and DC universes (as well as the Ultimate universe and movie universes and so on). Copious footnotes are provided to direct an interested reader back to particular comics stories or particular laws and court rulings.
Cue the Welcome Back, Kotter theme music: At a live press conference from NYC’s Midtown Comics today, Marvel unveiled “Fear Itself,” a line-wide event beginning in March. Featuring a prologue one-shot by Ed Brubaker and Scot Eaton, tie-ins, spin-off stand-alone miniseries, and an April-launching seven-issue core limited series by Matt Fraction and Stuart Immonen, it’s very much in the vein of past mega-events like “Civil War,” a comparison company personnel made repeatedly at the presser. If anything, it sounds even bigger than “Civil War,” as the two core Marvel franchises who’ve traditionally been kept at arms’ length from the big events of late, the Hulk and the X-Men, look to be playing an integral role right along with the Avengers, Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and so on.
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:
Last week Activision announced another playable character, Iceman, for its Marvel Ultimate Alliances 2 game. Iceman is no stranger to the video game world, as he appeared in the first game as well as the two X-Men Legends games before it. Click the link to read more from the designer and the art director of the game on Iceman’s powers and visuals.
It looks like Iceman will be the last character revealed before the game hits stores, if the now-full “classified” roster scorecard on the game’s website is any indication. But in San Diego it was revealed that at least one other playable character wouldn’t be announced in advance, and it sounds like the Wii version of the game may be getting some additional exclusive characters … Blade, Cyclops and Psylocke. I wouldn’t be surprised if those characters (and others) were released as downloadable content for the Xbox 360 and PS3 versions down the line, though.
The game comes out next Tuesday.
The story is taking a break today, this Memorial Day.
More than six hundred thousand dead. Four hundred thousand wounded. And that was just the regular military side (the Union lost more, by the by). Civilian losses remain uncounted, and the damage to our nation too several generations to heal. Depending on who you ask. There’s still some that discuss it as the “War of Northern Aggression.”
Either way, the costliest American war in lives, far and away. Take a moment to remember this bloody chapter in our shared history.
STRANGEWAYS will be back Wednesday.