MrBlack wrote:I always thought that it depended on how you ask the question. In the real world, superheroes should not exist. To the extent they should, Iron Man was on the right side of the debate.
In the Marvel Universe, superheroes are a given, and are a good thing. Any attempt to bring them under government control (remember, the government is frequently the bad guy in comic book land) is probably a terrible idea, no matter who is in charge. So, in comic book world, I think Captain America was right.
Well, that's ultimately why Civil War was such an awful story. They were trying for a "real world" metaphor that absolutely falls apart under the slightest bit of scrutiny. You can't have vigilante superheroes taking the freedom side in a freedom versus security debate. Our idea of freedom is based around a system of civil rights and due process. Vigilantes, by defintion, ignore all of that.
But even in Marvel Universe context, I think that Tony was right. You take it as a given that superheroes are a good thing. I don't agree. Is it a good thing when Daredevil tortures people for information? Is it a good thing when the Fantastic Four and the X-Men operate secret prisons? Is it a good thing when the Avengers and the X-Men harbor known criminals? Is it a good thing when Spider-Man busts in on criminals without a warrant? Is it a good thing when Luke Cage never testifies in court? Let's face it, even in the Marvel Universe, superheroes do horrible things in the name of keeping people safe. Not free. Safe. Now, in the past, I'd been able to ignore this and enjoy the story. But since Marvel had to bring it all in with Civil War, it becomes important for discussion.
Which brings us back to why a lot of readers took sides with Civil War. I don't think it had much to do with politics, because the political metaphor falls apart so easily. I don't think it had much to do with Americans identifing with Captain America, because Cap isn't that popular. I think it is more about the fanboy resistance to change. Marvel knew that their characters had been vigilantes since the early 1960s, and that the fanboys wouldn't want that to change. They also gambled that, particularly in the current political climate, most of their readers would be politically progressive. They cast the vigilante as the heroic defender of civil liberties and crossed their fingers, hoping that no one would notice that it just didn't make sense in either a real world or Marvel Universe context. Sadly, it seems to have worked.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is why Civil War is, in my mind, the worst comic book story ever published.