October 06, 2006

Mark Millar still hates America

I've previously written about the Scottish Marvel Comics scribe here and here and how he injects his leftist politics into just about any comic he is asked to write. As noted in the latter link, Millar writes The Ultimates, which is the modern "re-imagining" of the old Marvel super-team The Avengers. Back in that January post, I pointed out how in that Ultimates issue a super-team dubbed The Liberators had invaded the United States. These "Liberators" included super "heroes" from China, North Korea and some un-named Muslim nation. They invaded the US basically because George Bushian foreign policy has "run amok," and all the other countries of the world (well, those not in the West, that is) got fed up. Government officials are executed, the general population is interned, national symbols (like the Statue of Liberty) are toppled and destroyed.

However, the Ultimates -- after seemingly being destroyed -- begin to fight back. Tony Stark (Iron Man) sets the "revenge" in motion using his usual high-tech solutions (in this case, "nano-bots" which have infected various agents of the Liberators). The latest issue, #12, has virtually all of the "Ultimate" universe's heroes (now freed) battling the Liberators, with the highlight being the showdown between Captain America and his Muslim country analogue (which issue #12 seems to indicate is from Azerbaijan). This Muslim country analogue (henceforth known as "MCA") is armed with a Darth Maul-type light sabre and, of course, Cap has his stalwart shield. Amazingly, Millar makes Cap the victor -- but not without injecting not only dreadful characterization, but his usual political swill. As the MCA lies beaten in a fountain pool, he asks of Cap "Do you not even appreciate why we did this thing?" (We're supposed to ponder, I suppose, the actions the US undertook to justify a genocidal invasion by nations with absolutely abysmal human rights records.) Seconds prior he asks Cap "And why should I give up? So you can humiliate and execute me before your fellow officers?" Cap retorts "Don't be ridiculous. That's not the way we do things in this country."

But Millar has Cap do that very thing to the MCA. Again, beaten and defeated in a fountain pool, the MCA is just lying there. Cap, now armed with one half of the MCA's light sabre, straddles the MCA and drives the weapon right into the MCA's chest cavity -- executing him. Captain America did this. Granted, the Ultimate universe is supposed to be "grittier" than the standard Marvel Universe, but certain characterizations are (or, should be) maintained. Like Cap's purity (or attempted purity) of purpose. Anyone who's anyone would simply not have Capt. America killing a person in cold blood. Unless, of course, he wanted to disparage a certain country!

An excellent example of Cap's aversion to killing is the "Galactic Storm" saga from the 90s where the Avengers were torn over a decision to "kill" the Kree Supreme Intelligence. Half the team wanted to obliterate the mental entity (including Iron Man), and half were against the action -- most vociferously Cap. In fact, Cap held a vote and his "side" won. He ordered that no one kill the Intelligence, but Iron Man and his "side" disobeyed. The Supreme Intelligence had used a "nega-bomb" to destroy virtually the entire Kree race in an attempt to "jump start" their evolution. The Avengers, who were drawn into the galactic conflict (it was the Kree vs. the X-Men-notorious Shi'ar) were horrified by the Intelligence's actions, hence the intra-team struggle. The continuing discord among the team following "Storm" led to the [forceful] dismantling of the West Coast Avengers team, which in turn led to the creation (led by Iron Man) of the short-lived Force Works team.

Meanwhile, over in the Marvel Universe proper, Millar is writing "Civil War." Actually, Civil War #4 doesn't seem like Millar really took to writing much at all. It is simply dreadful. However, at least here, Cap is more in his usual character. He heads the side of the "war" that supposedly is for "freedom" -- against the registration -- and use -- of superhumans by the government. He (and counterpart Iron Man) are going to extreme measures to "vindicate" their side -- their philosophy. In issue #4, Iron Man has Capt. America at his mercy. When Iron Man asks him to essentially give up, a totally out-of-character Cap (at right, below) says "You think I'm really going down -- to a pampered punk like you?"

"Pampered"? "Punk"? This is utterly ludicrous coming from [the Marvel Universe] Cap. As a fellow Avenger from virtually Day One, Cap knows Iron Man better than almost anybody. And he knows that Tony Stark -- above anyone else -- does not personify the denigration inherent in Cap's exclamation. Would a "pampered punk" surpass his father's business and technological acumen at the age of 16?? Would a "pampered punk" take his family's business to heights never conceived? Would a "pampered punk" devote his company's resources to making the planet a better place? But most of all, would a "pampered punk" put his very own life on the line time after time after time as Tony Stark (as Iron Man) has done? In many ways, Iron Man is Marvel's Batman -- heir to a family fortune who uses it to become a hero.

Interestingly, Cap's and Iron Man's roles have done a 180 from the classic Avengers #181 -- where the United States government first took a [large] degree of control over Earth's Mightiest Heroes. Just by looking at the awesome George PĂ©rez cover shows you that it's Iron Man who's angry at the prospect of government control, and it's Cap who's holding him back. Henry Gyrich (whose fictional character played a bit part in the "X-Men" film) dictates the rules by which the Avengers must now play (or have most of their taken-for-granted privileges revoked), including their very membership. Iron Man yells at Gyrich (and I'm going by memory here, though I am quite accurate) "Who the hell do you think you are?" to which the red-haired annoyance retorts "I'm the government, mister." Cap is the one calming Iron Man down, asking "Would it better to have Avengers clearance revoked?" and "vouching" for government-mandated new member Falcon, a hero who has never even been an Avenger before. (Falcon was mandated because of government affirmative action policies; the Black Panther, an oft-member of the Avengers, was not available to join at that time.)

I think it just might be time to give up on these "hot" contemporary comics writers.

Posted by Hube at October 6, 2006 05:39 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.)

Hube -

This is an intersting post. You seem to be doing the kind of thinking that the writer hoped for. Without any trace of irony you say:

...but certain characterizations are (or, should be) maintained. Like Cap's purity (or attempted purity) of purpose. Anyone who's anyone would simply not have Capt. America killing a person in cold blood. Unless, of course, he wanted to disparage a certain country!

How much more does it disparage out country to torture confessions out of people or hold them in solitary confinment without charging them with any crime?

How is Capt America different from our America when he kills in cold blood? Shouldn't we be more mindful of our national "purity of purpose"? Isn't that the very thing we chucked out the window when we decided that premptive war was okay? When we decided that Iraqi civilian deaths did not count as much as American civilian deaths?

It is posts like these that keep me coming back because I know that on some deep level you know what America is all about.

Posted by: jason at October 6, 2006 09:54 PM

Jase: Not surprisingly, your points are way too over-simplified.

The administration did exactly what it was told to do and went to Congress to define exactly what is torture and what is not, especially when it comes to getting necessary information from terrorists.

Terrorists, by explicit wording in the Geneva Conventions, are not entitled to habeas corpus nor even the basics mandated for POWs. It took a painful injection of personal philosophy by some on our high court to determine that -- again, against the explicit wording of the Conventions.

You're also equating legitimate war activities as "killing in cold blood." Bulls***. Grow the f*** up, will you? Cripes, if this was a Democrat administration, you wouldn't bear a peep about this; indeed, you'd be posting all over the place about how "righteous" the admin's actions are. What the f*** kind of statement is When we decided that Iraqi civilian deaths did not count as much as American civilian deaths? Of course we view it that way. ALL people view it that way in time of war. Using your "logic," we never should have dropped the A-bombs even though their use saved thousands -- possibly up to one million -- American lives.

Posted by: Hube at October 7, 2006 08:49 AM

Some of the "Terrorists" in Gitmo are called "Terrorists" because they are in Gitmo. It is supposed to be the other way around.

If, like Capt America, we set aside our principles for the sake of security, we are no longer America. I know you don;t like to face this reality, but the new habeas corpus rules mean that you are I could be held without being charged is Bush decided that our blogs were threats to national security.

I know you have a lot of faith in Bush not to grab you off the street and toss you in jail - but I don't.

Posted by: jason at October 7, 2006 09:06 AM

but the new habeas corpus rules mean that you are I could be held without being charged is Bush decided that our blogs were threats to national security.

Bulls***. Please provide specific proof that this is the case. Your word is far from good enough. And don't tell me to "read the bill" or some other nonsense. Show me the specific passage of whatever document that says just what you stated.

If, like Capt America, we set aside our principles for the sake of security, we are no longer America

The old Franklin quote applies here. And that the Constitution is not a suicide pact. That aside, why won't you admit that what the current admin. has implemented and fought for PALES in comparison to what people like FDR and Lincoln did? And this is a whole new type of enemy. Did we stop being America under Lincoln? FDR?

Posted by: Hube at October 7, 2006 09:19 AM

"enemy combatants" is the determination. Uniformed soldiers of an enemy nation are entitled to the courtesies of the Geneva convention. Un-uniformed "soldiers" of no nation we are at war with are defined as "enemy combatants" and the rules are hazier. Is it right to hold them indefinitely? I'm not prepared to weigh in.

But I do want to hand Jason his ass on the idea that a subversive blog could create a situation where an American citizen could be detained indefinitely with no charge. That, my friend, is bullshit. It's a lefty stroke fantasy.

First amendment rights can be abridged if they meet the "incitement" precedent, or "fighting words" precedent as modified by supreme court decisions. The former is clear, the latter has been defined so narrowly by the courts as to be essentially unenforceable.

That pretty much leaves treason, which is a federal crime for which due process is ensured. Garden variety sedition is covered by the first amendment.

Lefties so badly want to believe that the President of the United States twirls the ends of his mustache as he and his corporate cronies plot the end of civil rights as we know it. All this is like porn to them. As if they have no concept that George Bush is an elected official with a defined term of office and will leave office after the requisite two terms.

I don't know if He is just the ultimate icon that feeds their desperate need to be victims of *something*, but you can almost see this guy Jason furiously beating off behind his keyboard as he wrote "on some deep level..."

I know this is my first post and everything, but you might read this. It's a great characterization of the left today, but without venom or sarcasm (which I guess makes it one up on mine). I bet you really like it Hube, and I suspect it would make this Jason fellow uncomforable. Read it this morning, and boy did it resonate.

http://rightthinkinggirl.com/2006/10/10/understanding-terrorism/

Posted by: Jimmy in Texas at October 10, 2006 07:47 PM