Poll of a Billion Monkeys

Friday, March 09, 2007

Civil War and the Death of Old Legends

Allele – Civil War and the Death of Old Legends

Title of Work: Civil War

Author, Director, Artist, Creator: Marvel

Form (Book, CD, DVD, Film, etc.): Comic Book

Ranking/Recommendation: 9 of 10

Well, I now know how the Civil War ends. I found the ending compressed, and shortened and a bit too easy for my tastes, but I think Cap made the smart move.

Unlike the Justice League the heroes of the Marvel rebellion simply had no chance whatsoever of resisting both the authorities and the heroes stacked against them. Eventually it would have ended with the utter liquidation of the resistance and their resistance was only gonna harden the political resolve against them. I was kinda shocked, even amused, that when the civil workers grabbed Cap that he was shocked they were against him.

Of course they were gonna be against him, what, did he think that the vast majority of the population would be glad to see the triumph of a resistance movement fighting their own military, civilian, political, and governmental authorities, as well as special agents (the registered heroes) sanctioned by their own government? I don’t see how he could have been that stupid and deluded in the first place, or anyone else for that matter, including any readers supporting that position for the long run. You might wanna see Cap and his team win a skirmish or two but to think that most people would approve of him and his side winning? That’s laughable.

Like I said earlier an easy compromise could have been negotiated in which some heroes would go public, and some heroes could retain their secret identities as long as all registered with the proper authorities. But as time went along I realized neither side, nor the writers, were interested in anything like a logical compromise until events had run their course. Which was fine with me because I found this the best large-scale Marvel project ever undertaken in the sense of a milieu or background setting for future developments. The only reason I ranked it a 9 instead of a 10 was due to the fact that there were obvious plot and construction holes in the overall project and I liked four previous Marvel projects better; when Captain America went after Daredevil in Hell’s Kitchen due to government construction of another super Soldier, when Kraven kidnapped Spidey and “killed” and then replaced him, the entire Venom/Black Suit story arc (I much prefer the Black Suit), and the Spidey/Daredevil/Kingpin/Gang War involving the Hobgoblin. But now for the first time ever I like Marvel as well as I like DC, not just a few lone characters like Spiderman or Daredevil, but Marvel and the Marvel World itself. I think this was an entirely courageous and great project, very timely, and to tell you the truth I was shocked by the conservative conclusion. I had expected Marvel to go in the opposite direction entirely, a sort of all hail rock-n-roll, screw the authorities, we hate the Man and power structure ending that only some modern liberal could think brilliant and angst-ridden. A mascara and tattoo modern rock whiney-teenager, the world is doomed ending. But they actually played it right, even if a little unevenly, and even if they went askew every now and then by occasionally disappointing in the individual storylines.

But eventually Iron Man was gonna have to win because his side was the correct side. Once the very idea of regulation became fixed in the public mind there would be no turning back the clock to a prior mindset. Not that I’m a big fan of over-regulation, but regulation of policemen, soldiers, EMS workers, or anyone else with the potential power of life and death (and such heroes would certainly have those abilities in many cases) is only logical. There is no way around that.

Couple that with the fact that Iron Man is a much, much better modern leader of men and there was no way Cap or his renegades could triumph. Cap was an anachronism from another age, one in which great leadership skills were basically evidenced on the Tactical Level. He never really graduated. He never rose in rank to Major, Colonel, or General America. He remained in effect always a small group, Special Teams Tactical Leader. He never ranked as a Strategic Leader with a Strategic Vision. He had no way of truly moving into the Future, made little to no employment of advanced technology (except as a last ditch effort against IM, if only he had employed such foresight against terrorists and murderers and Nazis – a Shield, that’s the limit of your Arsenal of Democracy?), was almost always reactionary (instead of being anticipatory and proactive against potential threats), never advanced as a Commander, had no strategic vision for the future, was clad in a ridiculously outdated and outmoded brightly colored uniform in a world where Stealth and maneuver is a far better advantage, was well past his prime militarily, as a commander, as a visionary, as a leader, and as a field agent. I understand the impulse towards anachronism, being something of an anachronism myself in some ways, but simply because you come from another age is no excuse for remaining trapped in the past. One cannot remain forever fixed in the past or one is unfit for the future.

Not that he couldn’t have adapted, not that he couldn’t have become a newer, more advanced, more capable, more strategic, better Captain America. He just never really tried. Which is a shame because had Cap adapted, had he thrown away the bright long johns and donned a suit befitting his athletic and physical skills, had he employed a wide range of technological tools, had he practiced and honed his leadership skills to befit the modern world, had he developed a strategic vision, had he made, maintained and succored the proper contacts, built the proper network of alliances instead of relying merely upon the personal admiration of others for him, had he built the proper teams instead of just personal friendships then he could have become the Batman of the Marvel universe. But his character never grew, never matured, merely antiquated.

Iron Man became the Batman of the Marvel Universe in most respects. He had the Vision, the resources, the leadership skills to properly employ modern agents, and the network of contacts to make things work. He had the Big Idea.

Whether Iron Man will properly employ his Strategic Vision in the future in the best possible way for the greatest benefit of the greatest number of people possible, that remains to be seen. He could easily become corrupted. Many modern people do. Modern men have little trouble developing the necessary ideas to encapsulate a Strategic vision of great scope and potential, they just often fail to maintain or even to grow in the first place those necessary ideals by which a great Vision can only be properly sustained. Cap had that ideal set, but he was an anachronism of another age that lacked any new ideas upon which to fix such ideals. Iron Man has all of the proper ideas but has often, in the past at least, shown the type of moral ambiguity that will make him subject to both overt and subconscious psychological and spiritual corruption.

It’s possible of course that Stark is now completely clean and sober, and will remain that way, and so will not be easily susceptible to the corrupting influence of either his own shortcomings, or the corrupting influence of those around him. But time will tell. In any case given the huge scope of his plans he will in all likelihood eventually need to find a new Captain America as a partner, friend, and guide to help him control his impulses towards overcontrol and to prevent the calcification of his own Vision.

Speaking of which as everyone now knows Cap is to be Killed. By an assassin. I can only say that I am sad to see the character killed, I wish he had been convicted, then pardoned, then gone in retirement since it was obvious he would probably never change and adapt to the current world. But in a way it is very fitting he died by hand of an assassin given the state of the modern world.

I can only hope that the next Captain America, or whoever assumes some similar mantle will be forward looking, will adapt, will have a vision, perhaps can even become a friend of Stark and assist him with whatever comes next. I really, really hope they do not resurrect Steve Rogers. Let him lie in peace, Hero of Another Age. Let him go proudly to his Fathers, and their Fathers. He was a man of another world, so let him go to another world and find some rest.

As for whatever new character arises to replace him, I can only say, “Welcome to the Party Pal. We’re living in strange and dangerous times. Ditch that clown outfit and suit up in something a little darker. Then we’ll talk about your next assignment”

By the by I thought Dave had the best overall write up of both the strengths and weaknesses of the Civil War as a comic book event on the Net.

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