March 14, 2006

What Frank Miller was talking about

A month ago I posted about how comics creating genius Frank Miller is working on a new Batman adventure where the Dark Knight will take on al Qaeda. Discussing it, Miller said

The reason for this work, Miller said, was "an explosion from my gut reaction of what's happening now." He can't stand entertainers who lack the moxy of their '40s counterparts who stood up to Hitler. Holy Terror is "a reminder to people who seem to have forgotten who we're up against."

It's been a long time since heroes were used in comics as pure propaganda. As Miller reminded, "Superman punched out Hitler. So did Captain America. That's one of the things they're there for."

As I often do on weekends before a good afternoon nap, I'll cuddle up with a few good back-issues of Marvel's halcyon days. This Sunday I nabbed Captain America #255 from 1981. This is a special "anniversary" issue, marking Cap's 40th birthday in comics. As such, this ish proves exactly what Miller is talking about. Check out the panel below from page 18:

Would it be politically correct to have, in this case, Batman tearing into some home-grown Muslim terrorists while exclaiming "You Islamic fundamentalists disgust me! You're native-born Americans, most of you ... yet you'd sell out your own country to the most horrific ideology on earth!"??

PC or not, I can see Miller doing just that. he's never been very PC in the past and I can't see him being so now. Just the fact that he's even doing such a Batman story is anti-PC enough. But just count on CAIR -- and others -- to be out there complaining if this Dark Knight tale is too ... "insensitive."

On a different entertainment front, on last night's 8pm episode of Star Trek: TNG, ("Chain of Command, part II" for true believers!), Capt. Picard is on a secret mission for the Federation to investigate a potential super-deadly Cardassian WMD (a "metagenic" weapon that can infect a planet's atmosphere and kill the whole population -- now that's a WMD!) The whole thing's a set-up, however, and the Cardassians nab Picard. Patrick Stewart is at his best here, too, alongside his Cardassian counterpart Gul Madred played by fellow Brit David Warner. Gul Madred tortures the living hell out of Picard for most of the hour, while the Enterprise crew juggles interstellar relations with the Cardassians and denying/acknowledging Picard's mission.

This episode is keenly relevant to today's headlines in more ways than one: The Federation attempts a pre-emptive measure to prevent possible use of a WMD ... except that there wasn't one (US attacks Iraq because of WMD). The resulting fallout almost causes interstellar war (actual war with Iraq), and the issue of POW vs. terrorist is even brought up (al Qaeda are "illegal combatants" or "POWs"?). The replacement capt. of the Enterprise refuses to acknowledge that Picard was working for the Federation -- which, if he did, would have granted him "POW" status -- thus enabling the Cardassians to label Picard a "terrorist" meaning he has no rights under the articles of war. (Gitmo, anyone?)

Wow, even the 24th century differentiates between unlawful combatants and prisoners of war, eh? Must be those 24th century Geneva Conventions!

Posted by Hube at March 14, 2006 08:25 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Now your remind me. I forgot about Chain of Command. David Warner - the evil genius of "Time Bandits" - in his 3rd Trek incarnation, was great. I loved his arguments to Picard how Picard could retire to Cardassia and indulge his love archaeology and debate.
Meanwhile in the "secondary" action Jellico and Riker put aside their differences long enough to sneak in on the Cardassians. That should have been up there too.
One thing I realized a few years ago. I had recorded Gambit, which, (IMHO) was probably not one of the better episodes of TNG. (Robin Curtiss who had been such a disappointing Saavik in the absence of Kirstie Allie, was a particularly ineffective villain here.) Still, in retrospect, it was superbly produced and a very engrossing story regardless of its flaws.

Posted by: David Gerstman at March 15, 2006 08:40 AM

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