Thursday, July 19, 2007

Ruminations from the Front Lines of the War

This, from Haven's own Wayne Miller, Box #12.

How far is it acceptable to go to guarantee the safety of the average citizen? How much can the individual’s civil rights be infringed upon, or violated, to insure the security of the public? These are important questions, more timely today than ever before. One would expect to see this conflict explored in Literature. And it IS being explored.

In the medium of comic books.

Is it acceptable to place an individual under exile without his consent, if that individual might pose a threat to society at large? To do this without judiciary authorization, without taking into account his rights as an American citizen?That’s what they did to Doctor Robert Bruce Banner, alias the Incredible Hulk. “They” being Tony “Iron Man” Stark, and Reed Richards, “Mister Fantastic” of the Fantastic Four, along with Doctor Strange and Black Bolt of the Inhumans. They did it because they thought it was best. Because they thought it was the right thing to do. Because it was for the public good.But IS it acceptable--is it RIGHT--to have a small group of individuals making such decisions for the public at large?

Regardless of their motivations, do we really want any select few making decisions that trample on the rights of the individual? ANY individual?And the biggest question of all--what happens if this is done, and it backfires?

What are the ramifications?Black Bolt found out. So did Tony Stark. They both went down. Harder than Captivity at the box office. Because the Hulk is back, you see. And he isn’t taking prisoners. But unfortunately for the “average citizen,” he or she is going to have to pay for the sins of the select few. Because the Hulk will go through anyone or anything to get at Richards and Strange. If he has to level a city or two, he will. This is war, after all. It’s a war the “select few” started but the average citizen will have to fight. Sound familiar?

In the CIVIL WAR storyline, Marvel Comics showed us what happens when the desire to guarantee public security is taken too far--freedom dies. Literally, as Captain America became the greatest casualty of the whole fiasco. Now they’re teaching their readers a new lesson. Here’s what really pisses me off. (Yes, I’m pissed off about a fictional story and pissed off AT fictional characters. What about it?) You’ve got Tony Stark and Reed Richards. During the super-hero war, they were the ones who were like “we have to obey the law at all costs, no matter what!” But what they did to the Hulk was NOT legal! So it’s like they’re saying “obey the law, no matter what, but that doesn’t necessarily apply to us because we know better.” And that pisses me off, because there are plenty of non-fictional people who think exactly that way.

So far, the Hulk has smashed Black Bolt and Iron Man. And I for one loved it. But I’m going to enjoy it so much more when the Hulk finally gets his hands on that bastard Reed Richards. I’ve forgiven Tony Stark, see. Even though I believe he is in the wrong and has been making a whole lot of bad decisions, I can still find some compassion for the guy, because he has suffered under those decisions. He knows all too well he is flawed. He’s a recovering alcoholic, after all. But Reed Richards thinks of himself as perfect. He has the greatest intellect on the planet, so everybody should listen to him. Mister Perfect would be a better name than Mister Fantastic. Or Mister Thinks-He’s-Perfect. All brains and no soul. I hope the Hulk stomps him into silly putty.

So, what happens when the select few who think they know best act without any kind of accountability? That’s the question Marvel Comics is asking its readers right now. If you want to know the answer, check out WORLD WAR HULK. But be warned, it ain’t pretty.Go get 'em, big green. Smash 'em once for me.

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