Thursday, June 29, 2006

Thursday Thoughts #1

First off, a big shout out to When Fangirls Attack! for the link love. Not only was the link accompanied by a strong recommendation to read (aww, thanks guys!), it also boosted my visitor count.

Seriously considering turning this into a feminist comics blog, just to keep up the stream of readers.

But no comments yet. Not even from James Meeley. James, if it helps, I really did enjoy your wife's list of good or bad superheroes to date. That was some funny stuff right there. Not sure how it fits into your belief that "a super hero comic is not the platform for 'exploring sexual identities'", particularly the bit where she suggests Namor would be bad in the sack or that Ralph Dibny could inflate his body parts "the right way," but whatever. I guess as long as it's not two dude holding hands.

On another note, did you know I bought comics today? A crapload of them. Too many to review tonight, but I did break down and buy Civil War, which I had only been skimming in my local comic book shop.

You know what? It's really good. The art is amazing. The shot of the Patriot leaping through the air, just a quiet little WOW moment in the midst of a lot of talking heads. Fantastic. And the writings been good too. Not as strong in the dialogue or characterization (besides Tony, no one seems to have second thoughts about the side they've chosen.) But Spider-Man unmasking on national television? J. Jonah Jameson fainting? Yeah, right here and now I'm willing to say that's better than anything that happened in Infinite Crisis, and coming from DC fanboy like me, that's saying something.

My only major complaint is that they stacked the deck to one side. I mean, I understand Iron Man's position, in the abstract I already agree with it. And if it was Iron Man, military industrialist and former secretary of defense, vs. Daredevil, defense attorney and vigilante, you would have a classic debate between the government's need to protect its citizens vs. the individual's right to privacy and autonomy, balanced by two characters of roughly the same popularity. And if Iron Man had Spider-Man as a proxy, Daredevil could have used Wolverine.

But once Captain America took a side, the moral debate was over. (I don't remember where I first read that. If you remember, or you wrote it, could you tell me in the comments section?) Cap's right. He's always right. He's Marvel's equivalent of Uncle Sam. Heck, he IS Captain America. So once he chose the anti-registration side, the debate was over. At that point, it becomes clear that there is more going on here than good people violently disagreeing over the best solution to a difficult, complex problem. Once Cap picks a side, it means there is something else, something ANTI-AMERICAN about the other side, something driving the heroes to war.

And once that element is introduced (and please let me be wrong about that), the actual, meaningful debate will be over. And THAT would suck.

Course, Millar could surprise me. Captain America could express some doubts about his decision. Spider-Man's life could improve now that he's taken true responsibilities for his actions. And if Cap's side does turn out to be the wrong side, and Captain America realizes this and Learns a Lesson, I'd be willing to declare Civil War the best cross-over miniseries I've ever read.


Chris said...

In re: Cap, I made a comment to that effect over on the Snap Judgments blog, but you said it much better. Marvel made it even more clear in the latest issue of New Avengers that Cap's on the side of the angels here.

Stupid Marvel.

Jenn said...

I haven't read Marvel Civil War, but I do think that Infinite Crisis has to be given credit for how it gave you a holistic view of the DCU, allowed you to follow the stories of near-forgotten minor characters, and made you care about them. I mean, Blue Beetle was shot and killed! WW killed Maxwell Lord! We cared about these events even if you're like me and could barely put a face to a name with these two secondary chars.

The only think Civil War would have going for me is the idea of a complex issue like registration of a minority group -- as a metaphor for registration and even internment of racial minorities or sex offenders -- being hashed out in a comic book. But, as you write, it does seem to be a little one-sided, not really making for true debate.

I'm too broke to start picking up Civil War, but I do look forward to hearing more of your thoughts as it progresses.

Steven said...

Jenn, don't get me wrong. I liked the Infinite Crisis crossover event (which was so big there were parts I LOVED and parts I HATED).

I'm just enjoying Civil War more. (Though I'm enjoying 52 even more than THAT, but it's not quite the same thing).