Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Once more on the Initiative

OK, for those of you whom haven't read any of these rants, or just want the short and sweet, here's a shorthand guide to why the whole "Superhero Registration/50 State Initiative" was never going to work:


In a universe based on the rules that apply in our reality, yes, the idea of registering superhumans sounds like a pretty pragmatic and good one.

Except, no matter how much we want it to, the Marvel Universe isn't realistic.

The whole concept of the Initiative is that "it will make people safer and run things more efficiently" but that runs EXACTLY counter to the very nature of superhero comics (Things are falling apart, and we need a hero to save us!) and the constant raising of the stakes. Now, outside of characters saying "Oh, super-crime is soooo down", well, the evidence suggests the exact opposite, so we are forced to either suspend our disbelief about the Marvel Universe or...well, we are right back where we started? Either way, you have believe something that doesn't fit in with our conception of reality.


OK, here's the problem with the Anti-Registration side: They don't have a plan. I mean, has there been one single panel that addresses what it is they plan to DO to overturn the SHRA? I mean, otherwise, there's really not much point in continuing on if you're never going to address what it is you are rebelling against? Has anyone talked about lobbying the government? Forming a movement? Or is the plan "Keep fighting the good fight until people realize we are right and Stark is wrong"? Because, wow, that's a terrible plan that has no chance of succeeding. It would be like saying "Hey, you know how we can get emission standards changed for the better? Drive around in shitty SUVs until oil prices go though the roof and we have no choice to change!" I mean, hey, it'll work, but it's not exactly heroic. Then again, I'm not sure there's a writer who could make superheroes lobbying the goverment and forming a social movement into anything other than an even lamer farce than Civil War to begin with.

In the meantime, we are stuck with "heroes" who are, on paper, just as criminal as the people they are fighting. Doesn't exactly inspire, does it?


As for the Initiative, well, it'd be nice if we had any proof that things were better now than in the Pre-Stamford Days. However, the evidence indicates the opposite. So, other than a handwave about how much better things are, well, we don't see it. Ever. Furthermore, the people running the system are highly selective about enforcement, deciding on a whim how and when to enforce the system like, say, everytime the Mighty Avengers encounter the New Avengers. Or why Tony Stark hasn't shown up at Matt Murdock's offices. Or any of a dozen other cases where the high command of the Initiative decided to act as if they were the law personified. This goes against the very nature of democratic government and the idea of no one being beyond the law. If the Initiative have taken it upon themselves to say whom is subject to the laws and when, then nothing has really changed, except that the leaders of the Initiative have been invested with massive government powers that they wield with little or no safeguard or oversight. Which was sort of the point of the SHRA in the first place.

So there you have it. The Initiative, and how it's kind of broken the back of the Marvel Universe in terms of making any kind of realistic sense. Your thoughts?


Phil Watts, Jr. said...

It's funny how they killed the Spider marriage because it moved Spidey away from his core, yet these very same people sanction an insulting and terrible story like Civil War which moved the ENTIRE MARVEL UNIVERSE away from its core. Thier pitiful attempt at using Marvel to make a political statement has done nothing more than make almost every comic out of Marvel into unreadable dreck.

Another thing is that every time people talk about "What if DC had a Civil War", they always make Superman pro-reg because they're still caught up in Frank Miller's potrayal of him in Dark Knight Returns. What do you think of that?

MrCynical said...

The people who think Superman would put blind trust in the US government after Checkmate, President Luthor, Team K (the Anti-Super Squad from Busiek's run), Salvation Run, Amanda Waller's Suicide Squad, are completely batshit buckfuck nuts.

Phil Watts, Jr. said...

Of course, you'd have to remember that pretty much everybody in Civil War was written completely Out-Of-Character to benifit the stupid political statement, from Tony to Cap to Tigra to the New Warriors. So you'd better believe if the same people had the opportunity to write a DC Civil War, they'd have all of them act O.O.C. too.

They would completely ignore all the plot points you mentioned and make Superman a gov'ment stooge, make Batman the anti-reg knight in shining armor, and have it all lead up to yet ANOTHER rehash of the Batman/Superman fight from Dark Knight returns.