Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Brother Against Brother

With Marvel's film Civil War releasing next year, I've been thinking a lot about the comic that it spawned from.  Civil War was a comic series that released in 2006 and revolves mainly around the conflict between team Iron Man and team Captain America.  To date, this is considered one of the more successful Marvel story lines and I was trying to figure out why this story arc is considered better than most of the work the company has released since.  In short, it was intelligent and different.  A brief synopsis of the story is that there is a major attack by a person with super abilities (I believe on a college campus but it's been a while since I've read it) that leaves many people dead.  In response, the government institutes the Super Human Registration Act.  This basically says that any person with powers needs to register their real name and abilities with the government.  This becomes a very divisive issue among the heroes and villains of the Marvel Universe.  Two prominent groups emerge, one that is for the registration act, lead by Iron Man; and a group that is against it, lead by Captain America.  The two groups begin to fight which leads to the "Civil War".

So what makes the storyline so intelligent?  Many comic book stories follow a very paint by numbers formula.  There is a good guy and a bad guy, the bad guy wants to do something evil so it is the duty of the good guy to stop them.  However, Civil War threw that concept out the window.  There really were no heroes and villains, just people fighting for their ideals.  This rung a little more true to me.  In real life, there are very rarely people who are just evil and do things for evil sake.  There are just people who do what they think is best, even if they go about it in the wrong way sometimes.

The main debate was whether these people, some of which are basically weapons of mass destruction should be forced to register or does that infringe upon their civil liberties (sound kinda familiar).  This debate not only raged among the characters in the book, but the readers themselves.  I was in college when this story came out and I remember it sparking huge debates within my friend groups and online. That was the beauty of this story, it took people who would normally never think about social issues such as these and actually made them contemplate the pros and cons.  I remember at the time I actually sided with Captain America and the team that was against the registration act.  Personally, I feel that political decisions should never be made out of fear but rational thought (but that's a conversation for another day and another blog).

I've spoken to a few people that are a little confused as to why everyone is so excited that Spider-Man is going to be in Civil War.  This is because one of the most pivotal moments in Civil War is when Spider-Man shows his support for the registration act by revealing himself as Peter Parker in a press conference.  This leads to some very turbulent changes for Spider-Man, all of which get retconned by the events Brand New Day (again, a rant for anther day).  As far as I know, when Marvel did not have the film rights to Spider-Man; his place in this important scene was going to be replaced by Black Panther.

There is also a humorous scene from the comic that I really hope makes its way into the film.  Basically the scene plays out a bit like this:
Iron Man calls Doctor Strange 
Iron Man: Hey, you have to register
Doctor Strange: Well, I'm not gonna
Iron Man: But you have to
Doctor Strange: Come and get me *click*
The end result is that they add an amendment to the registration act that Doctor Strange is exempt.
The reason this is so funny is because even though Doctor Strange appears to be living in a normal apartment, it is basically another dimension that he controls.  Long story short, trying to go after him in his own home would be suicide.  Iron Man realized this and decided it was better to just not deal with it.  

On a final note, one of the aspects that was very clear was the frustration of the writers with current events.  As I mentioned earlier, the comic released in 2006, just a few years after September 11, 2001.  For people who don't remember, our nation was very afraid at the time and it showed.  The government was constantly warning of attacks and telling us to remain vigilant.  Basically, they were telling us we were about to die on a daily basis.  Anyone who was remotely intelligent got tired of it pretty quick.  Anyway, the authors of the comic were very frustrated with the fear mongering culture we has become and showed it in this story arc.  This is just something to keep in mind while reading the story.  It was a very turbulent time for our nation.  

Civil War is not only an amazing series but has many ramifications for the entire Marvel Universe.  I won't get to into them so I can avoid spoiler territory.  Hopefully this article has been enough to peak your interest in this series.  Maybe a few of you will be inspired to read Civil War before the film comes out.  At the very least I hope it explained why I am so excited for what I consider to be one of the best Marvel series of all time.  

-Big O

No comments:

Post a Comment