Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How Civil War is Politically Relevant - A Snippet

Before I begin, I should mention that I haven’t been reading Civil War, because, well, it simply doesn’t appeal to me. However, one cannot help but follow the major plot points simply by being online and viewing a comic-related site, so I have been aware of what has been going on. As well, before writing this, I asked a few people who have been reading it some questions just so my facts are straight. What this all means is, if you disagree with me, you can simply write me off as some jackass who doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he hasn’t read it.

Civil War is supposed to be a politically relevant story. This has been said by pretty much everyone involved. It’s all about America’s problems balancing personal liberties with national security. The superpowered people living in the Marvel Universe’s America are given a choice: register with the government, give up being a hero, or go to jail. Not exactly a new idea and not even that relevant, I would argue. In the most abstract of interpretations, yes, it does reflect the current political situation in America, but not in any broad sense. Now, if superpeople were being rounded up, declared non-persons and held for an indeterminate amount of time, tortured and never released, you might have some relevancy.

Or, there’s the simple relevancy that most have missed (and maybe someone else has caught it, but I haven’t see that, so apologies if you said this first). It has been alluded to in a few places, but never explicitly stated.

When I first heard of Civil War, my main problem with it was the fact that because of this piece of legislation, fellow heroes and friends would not just be on opposite sides of a political issue, but would also being beating the shit out of one another over it. Surely, there would be at least one character on the pro-registration side who would say that while they agree with the legislation, there was no way they would hunt down their fellow heroes. You know, a voice of moderation and reason.


No such voice appeared, except until possibly after the recent death of Goliath. Before that, it was simply a jump from disagreeing over a political issue to beating the shit out of one another. And that is where Civil War reflects the current political climate of America. No one discusses politics in a reasonable and moderate fashion. It is simply “You disagree with me? FUCK YOU, YOU FUCKING RETARD!”

In Civil War, the anti-registration side is led by Captain America. Come on, you mean to tell me that no one on the pro-registration side would say, “I disagree with him, but I’m not going to fight Captain America. It’s . . . it’s Captain America, people! Captain. America. No way. Count me out.” Rather it’s “Fuck Captain America! Fucking brain him!”

The closest you get is the Thing, who decides to leave the country rather than participate in the whole nonsense, but he is more akin to frustrated Americans who choose not to vote rather than a voice of reason.

As well, the tagline for the series, “Whose side are you on?” cannot help but echo George Bush’s statements of either being with the terrorists or with America, allowing for no middle ground.

One side is the left, the other the right and the only way to resolve anything is to destroy the other side. No rational attempts at conversation, no attempts at compromise, nothing but extremes. In that way, Civil War accomplishes its task to be an analogy for the US. The question if whether or not it is because of the tradition of superheroes being quick to fight rather than talk, and the need for an exciting, conflict-filled story, or a deliberate move on the part of the creators. Personally, I opt for the latter.