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Monday, February 26, 2007

Listen Up, You Primitive Screwheads

Well, my first "theme week" has come to an end, and while I'd like to consider it an unqualified success, it seems like my throwaway post on Saturday has generated more controversy.

Damn you all.

Fine. We'll continue to discuss comics, specifically Civil War #7, for a bit longer, because apparently some people *cough JV cough* don't get it *cough BridgecrewDave cough*.

The summary, courtesy of Wikipedia:

The Secret Avengers break into the Negative Zone Prison, where Hulkling, who has been disguised as Hank Pym, releases imprisoned heroes from their cells to join the fight. Cloak teleports the combatants to New York City, where Namor and an army of Atlanteans fight alongside the Secret Avengers, and the Thunderbolts, the Thor clone, and Captain Marvel join Stark's team. As Captain America is about to deal a final blow to Stark, police, EMTs, and firefighters hold him back. Captain America realizes how much damage the fight has cost the people he says they should be fighting to protect. To prevent more bloodshed, he orders his team to stop fighting and surrenders.
Did you get that? Cap stops fighting a cause he knows is right because the ghost of 9/11 stops him. Are you telling me you can't see that? The living embodiment of our country is kept from defeating a fascist because of the NYPD and FDNY, aka the heroes of ground zero. And then he gives up because he sees property damage in a city that:
  1. Has been attacked by Kree, Skrulls, Atlantis, demons from the Inferno, Godzilla, and Galactus his own bad self;
  2. Has more super-heroes per square foot than any other place on earth, with the resultant property damage and astronomic insurance rates that come with that.
Give me a freaking break.

Now, let's look again at what Joss said:
I said looking around at the destruction of Manhattan didn't have much resonance -- these guys destroy Manhattan all the time! It was the personal act of putting his fist into the face of his powerless one-time friend that would Make Cap feel like a bully, a monster [...]

Cap got past Tony's armor and started beating the poo out of him -- thus becoming exactly what Tony had called them all: a superpowered guy taking it out on a powerless human. Cap realizes this and lay down his arms. (But he wins. Eat that, Stark.)

That is literally the tale.
This ending is so much different, and so much better, because:
  1. Cap beats the snot out of Iron Man.
  2. Cap stops fighting because he realizes he has crossed a line, rather than quitting because of thinly-veiled propaganda.
  3. Property damage doesn't factor into his decision because Cap is a freaking soldier.

This entire fight -- probably the entire series -- could be boiled down to Patriotism vs the Military-Industrial Complex. In Joss' version, Patriotism wins, even if he surrenders afterwards, because he surrenders for the right reason. In Millar's version, the post-9/11 population of America sides with Iron Man and makes Cap stop.

Look, I don't care what your politics are, if you're an American you should be incensed by this. Hell, I'm a pro-war conservative and even I think Cap should have won, and yes I'm fully aware of what that means in this political cartoon we're calling a comic book. I'm sure that Tony's victory is supposed to be some kind of clever commentary about how, post-9/11, we've given up our liberties for a sense of security etc, and how in the months to come repercussions will be felt blah blah freaking blah. That's not the point.

This is the point: Captain America is all that is good and pure and RIGHT about the USA. When the man who fought Hitler stops fighting -- STOPS FIGHTING!! -- someone who puts unregistered superheroes into concentration camps, all because some buildings have been trashed, that's bad characterization. Of course, this entire series has been a poor excuse in getting beloved characters to act in uncharacteristic ways, so I really shouldn't be surprised.

Want to know how I'd have ended it? Cap would have taken Tony's head off (accidentally, of course), had his moment of fear and doubt and shame -- and then it would be revealed that Tony had, in fact, been replaced by a Doombot.

Yes. The entire scope of Civil War would have been masterminded by Doctor Freakin' Doom just to:
  1. Compromise American heroes;
  2. Sew distrust of said heroes in the minds of the people;
  3. Screw with Reed.
Now that's super-villainy.

(Cartoons courtesy of the ISB)

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