Thursday, March 27, 2008

Why I Don't Hate Iron Man

Sometimes I repeat myself, but I've always taken the notion that "every comic is someone's first" to heart, even if the industry hasn't in decades, and look how well that insular error has worked out. So on the notion that every blog posting may be someone's first, I'll not that I've been reading comics for well over a quarter century, and spent virtually none of that time reading Iron Man. I started out like most kids, with "gateway" heroes like Superman, Batman, Spider-Man and the Hulk... oh, how I hated the Hulk. I'll save that blog for when the crappy looking Ed Norton movie comes out.

Moving on, I have some difficulty pinning down my first exposure to Iron Man. It may have been a selection of Layton/Michelinie back issues my friend Charlie had, dated around 1981, with an appearance by Blacklash coming to mind. Black clad characters weren't that common in my experience, and between the energy whip and green hair, he seemed pretty bad ass. However, for some reason I skipped an issue of Marvel Team-Up in 1984 with the character, even after buying the issues immediately before (Moon Knight!) and after (Nomad!) Yeah, that's right, I passed on Iron Man and Whiplash, but Nomad made me swerve. Obviously, this is going somewhere.

Alternately, I might have first discovered Iron Man on a spinner rack in a Gemco department store in 1983. By that point, the creative reigns had been handed over to the less heralded Denny O'Neil and Luke McDonnell, who grabbed my attention to a greater degree. You might think my previous issue was with Bob Layton, but see, I bought the second Hercules mini-series by him, so that couldn't be it. Maybe it was because Stark had been replaced as Iron Man by Jim Rhoades, a second banana of color.

You see, I grew up in po' town, so most of my friends were either low income whites or black. There were Latinos everywhere, as the area skewed barrio even then. At that point though (late 70's/early 80's,) most of them didn't speak English, and routinely stole my shit. Not being racist here, as everyone stole everyone else's shit, but I could actually keep tabs with and even retrieve the shit my non-Latino friends ganked, so I tended to hang with them. Also, since there were fewer of us, sticking together helped keep us from getting our asses kicked by large groups of people to whom English was a second language, if any. This meant I associated with black heroes more strongly than most people as pale as my honkey ass happens to be, and of course my black friends were more likely to pick up comics featuring people like Luke Cage, Storm, Black Panther, or Stalker. They tended to buy Marvel, as DC Comics didn't care about black people, beyond Cyborg. However, the only friend I had who bought Iron Man was white, and he wasn't my friend anymore by the time Rhodey took over, and for some reason I didn't really dig on him either. I bought a What If...? Starring Sub-Mariner instead. I repeat, Namor, the avenging son of Atlantis, was more interesting to me than Iron Man.

Somehow, I assume through one of those bagged three-packs that used to be sold everywhere, I ended up with a Jim Rhoades Iron Man issue. It actually wasn't a bad read, but I still wasn't into the character. Also, it read "mature." I had the same problem with the odd Yeates or Moore "Swamp Thing" I'd find on the newsstand. They weren't bad, but as a kid I felt they were too sedate and sophisticated for my reading level. Seriously, I was precocious enough to be objective about that kind of thing. Now, Layton & Michelinie eventually returned, and they were clearly not writing anything over my head, but I was just as clearly not interested. Even when they ran that cool freakin' "Armor Wars" ad about it being time for the Avenger to start avenging. A similar vibe off the "Shadow War of Hawkman" totally turned me on to a dude wearing a bird head and fake wings, but I could not get it up for Iron Man.

Why is this, I asked myself then and now? Sure, Tony Stark was an affluent white male, a segment of the population I was raised to hate/fear/distrust, but that doesn't explain my disinterest in Rhoadey. Maybe it was the suit itself, as I've never cared about technology, whether it was car, jets, robots, or robots that could turn into cars and jets. Then again, I liked Robotech, even if it was mostly for the vinyl suits, blue hair and the boom anime babes that make me think the wrong thing. What was wrong with Iron Man? I tried it during the brief Byrne/Romita Jr. stint-- nothing. One of my best friend's favorite character is Iron Man, so he got me to read some Kaminiski, but I wasn't feeling it. He had me read the "Demon in a Bottle" trade, and in fact it did turn out I thought Layton & Michelinie sucked, so that was a non-start. When Lobdell and Portacio relaunched the title, at a time when Whilce was still one of my favorite artists, I read without conviction. Busiek and Chen fared worse. Ellis and Granov were terrible, regardless of my feelings about turning Tony Stark into a cyborg in the lamest fashion possible. The only saving grace was that I read more O'Neil/McDonnell, and they really did have a well crafted run with two heroes I don't care enough about to piss on if they were set afire.

Today, I visited Occasional Superheroine, which linked to Sean Kleefeld's post discussing why he hates Iron Man. His hang-up seems to amount to Tony Stark's having a personality, where Iron Man was always a put-on "bodyguard" with no distinct character. He may well have had a point... prior to Civil War.

Here, you see, is where it all turns around. Now, I love Captain America more than I love the Martian Manhunter, to whom I've dedicated the better part of a decade researching for the purpose of constructing one expansive website a ran for a few years, and now a daily blog that I've worked on for over 200 consecutive days. Even after all that effort on my part, I think it would be a task to sustain a Martian Manhunter series of quality for an extended period of time. On the other hand, I could write Captain America every month until the day I die. I'd love to take on Mark Gruenwald's record, and I'm confident I could outperform him. Captain America helped form my identity and moral code. If I am at all patriotic, especially in this day and age, it is because of Captain America. It was a given that I would root for Captain America and his band of costumed objectors in the political schism between super-heroes caused by a tragic event claiming thousands of lives, and of course I did, until I didn't.

You see, for years, Iron Man did what was normal for super-heroes: he put on a sort of costume, pretended to be two different people, and fought other people with similar powers and interests as himself. I never had much interest in "straight" super-heroes. Flash was always nabbing bank robbers, as if I gave two shits about FDIC-insured fat cats losing a few bills. Spider-Man was always catching muggers, as if such a thing had any bearing on a poor boy from Texas. Iron Man was the worst, a rich white man protecting his company's trade secrets from super-thieves. I loved Captain America because he fought terrorists, Nazis, and other idealogues that ran counter to liberal values. After 9/11 though, Marvel's icons like Cap and Shell-Headed started revealing their secret identities. This led to lots of stories in which Steve Rogers searched his soul about the meaning of his life and America itself in the face of this national tragedy. I was cool with that in the post-Watergate years of the Man Without A Country, or in the face of Reagan's jingoism as personified by Super-Patriot/USAgent. After 9/11 though, I felt there were only two ways to go: address America's dirty hands that led to these terrorists hating on us, or socking proxy Osamas in the mug like he handeled Hitler in '40! Since in any way speaking about American culpability was verboten in the first half of this decade, the only thing to do was deliver on the comfortingly simplistic iconography of the war on terror. Captain America's writers instead straddled the fence, effectively going nowhere, and selling us the non-adventures of Steve Rogers, namby-pamby.

Meanwhile, Iron Man stood revealed as a raging hypocrite. Yes, he lied to people in his personal and professional life for years. Yes, this essentially constitutes grievous fraud. Yes, Stark the alcoholic was also the various rampaging Iron Men. Yes, he illegal entered foreign countries, caused enormous loss to property and life, yet still tried to play at taking the "high road" by abandoning arms manufacture, as if his own armor wasn't the source of continued threat throughout the world. These revelations earned him a government post, and later, directorship of S.H.I.E.L.D. In this Civil War, after decades acting as an unlicensed corporate policeman, he had now forced through legislation to outlaw any acts of vigilanteism in the United States, while simultaneously pressing for similarly action abroad. Iron Man effectively reinstated the draft when it came to super-heroes, and jailed anyone, even Captain America, who did not tow the line. Iron Man and Tony Stark were now inseperable, unavoidable, and utterly fascistic. Many now consider him the greatest super-villain in the Marvel Universe.

Not I. Somehow, my left-leanings be damned, I wholeheartedly support Iron Man's campaign. Despite all the nefarious shit he got up to with Reed Richards and Hank Pym, and despite the obvious parallels with George Dubbya, can you honestly say you think ungoverned super-heroes are a good idea? Perhaps in a universally and unbelievably altruistic comic book universe, but Marvel has always been considered "realistic." Their heroes are not Justice League goody two-shoes, but the people you know, with super-powers. I don't know anyone I'd trust with super-powers, and super-heroes are a inherently fascistic concept. Maybe in the early days when Superman beat down the doors of wife-beaters and rescued innocent persons from death row, the prospect of instant and unequivocal social justice was desirable. Even as a child though, it wasn't hard to see those hoodlums Batman likes to beat senseless being a degree or two seperate from the circumstances I grew up in. Desperate people in desperate times, hustling to get by, only to have some psychotic thug give them a concussion. It reminds me of when I read Jim O'Barr's "The Crow." On the one hand, it wasn't as comically stupid as the awful movie, with it's multiracial super-villain team of home invaders. On the other, a man so white he painted himself up as a mime kills a group of very black and mostly indistinguished black men who raped and murdered a couple on a roadside. Am I reading too much into that? Maybe, but the subtext seems pretty textual there. Oh, how many drug peddlers have Green Arrow and Speedy shot through the motherfucking hand? Am I the only one who thinks that's maybe a little excessive? I want someone to rein in the real crazies, those self-appointed gestapo in tights!

Finally, Tony Stark is Iron, and Tony Stark is the Man. No more soft-peddling the fact this cat is hard-drinkin', armor-wearin', fast-drivin', slow-lovin', cash-blowin', underling bossin', 100% U.S. Grade A Republican Son-of-a-Bitch! No more eqivocation. No pussy-footing. Tony Stark makes you feel he's a cool exec with a heart of steel. As Iron Man, boot jets ablaze, he fights and smites with repulsor rays. Iron Man is about fucking up Commies, Skrulls, and any other douchebags that don't get the meaning of the word "invincible." Iron Man is about power, not feet of clay and detox. Iron Man is about having what every man in this wants, and working it like he knows how. Iron Man is about what Superman would be like if he were a Marvel character and still retained his true heart. Comic book creators tend toward liberalism, and that is exactly why Iron Man hasn't worked for most of fandom in forty years. Now is the time for the fantasy of strength and righteousness, especially as the reality of overbearing, ill-considered self-righteousness looks to have launched us deep enough into a recession to scare everyone shitless. I don't want to think like a Steinbeck character while I scrape by for the next decade, because I expect that's the shit we'll all be living soon. I want to be Iron Man!

And that is why I now like Iron Man. Also, the new movie stars Robert Downey Jr., and pits him against a bald Jeff Bridges. These are two of our greatest living actors, in a super-hero movie! If Batman fans weren't such deluded fuckwits, they'd think about mixing their own medications in the face of that overwhelming coolness. Too far? Too soon? Just trying to roll like Iron Man, blogging like a waterboard...


DamonO said...

" can you honestly say you think ungoverned super-heroes are a good idea?"

Yes...yes I can.

You're right, in that in the real world super-heroes would probably better registered. But the Marvel Universe at best only superficially bears any resemblance to the real world. In the Marvel Universe, the government is even less trustworthy than the real world government is.

Here's an example: In an Avengers storyline some years ago, the Red Skull -- a Nazi war criminal who the government hasn't been able to capture for over 60 years despite the fact that he's been living and active on American soil -- put on a mask, rearranged the letters in his name and called himself "Dell Rusk," and took over the position of Secretary of Defense. In other words, the worst terrorist in the Marvel Universe had access to all the secrets available at the highest levels of government and operated under the nose of the President himself.

Even now, that same government may very well be infiltrated with Skrulls. Same with SHIELD, which is the agency responsible for keeping superhero identity information classified. And SHIELD has basically been little more than high-tech Keystone Kops even BEFORE all this Skrull business came up. SHIELD couldn't keep Captain America from getting assassinated while in their custody, couldn't keep Crossbones (who was implicated in Cap's murder) from escaping custody, and probably couldn't find their own asses in the dark with a flashlight and a road map. SHIELD is the only government agency that makes FEMA look good by comparison.

So no, in the Marvel Universe, superhero registration is a bad idea. The SHRA is a typical knee-jerk overreaction that addresses a sympton rather than the root cause of a problem.

DamonO said...

"Finally, Tony Stark is Iron, and Tony Stark is the Man. No more soft-peddling the fact this cat is hard-drinkin', armor-wearin', fast-drivin', slow-lovin', cash-blowin', underling bossin', 100% U.S. Grade A Republican Son-of-a-Bitch!"

Actually, its been stated more than once that Stark is a Democrat. Possibly more of the Rockefeller variety than Kennedy.
It was mentioned twice that I know of. Once was in the pages of the short-lived, Christopher Priest written CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE FALCON series and once in the pages of IRON MAN when Bush offered Stark the position of Secretary of Defense. Guess there's no Donald Rumsfeld in the Marvel Universe. Bush offered it to Stark after it was revealed that the previous Secretary was the Red Skull in disguise (which I cited as part of my reasoning why I thought super-hero registration was a bad idea).

Diabolu Frank said...

I'm not disputing the continuity, but again, that's the part of Iron Man that makes me drowsy. Most comic book characters are good little cyphers and keep their traps shut about their religion and their politics, the better to project our personal fantasies onto them. The problem with Stark is that the Liberal (Comic Book) Media has for decades felt the need to excuse the monied war-mongering at the heart of the character's origins. If he isn't like Marvel's underdog readership, he won't be relatable or popular. Therefore, he has to stop being an arms manufacturer, his ties to the Vietnam conflict have to be softened, his interest in Red Bashing has to be excused as strictly a technology thing... it's all nonsense.

I reckon he can do all that and still be a "Charlie Wilson" type, but that's nowhere near as fun as the Chuck Heston 180 he's turned lately. I like that Tony Stark has been played of late like a right-wing, up-front parallel to the... what the hell term would Rush Limbaugh use... DemaNazi (?) pseudo-lefty Batman at DC. I'm kind of put-off that he looks to be having his "Tower of Babel" comeuppance in "Secret Invasion," and for all I know will turn out to be a Cylo--er, Skrull. For the first time in ever, I care one way or the other, and that's because he took a definitive stand so far counter to the norm at Marvel. It took that sort of paradigm shift for me to see his place in that world beyond being the guy cutting Jarvis' check. There just aren't many Daddy Warbucks in our world who aren't really wolves in sheep's clothing, and I like comics finally reflecting that in a nuanced, pollarizing super-hero with strong, logical motivations.

Diabolu Frank said...

P.S. "Captain America & Falcon" FTW (post-Sears.) It figures that just as that book was getting good, and Falcon was developing a personality for the first time in my reading, the book would get canned. Last I heard, Priest was working with the dregs of the industry, like Harris and Platinum. I wish he'd team-up with Jim Shooter on another new company...

DamonO said...

I don't think that Marvel "softened" Stark to make him seem more liberal or more like their readership, which, given that its overwhelmingly white males, probably tends to lean more conservative. I think the whole Vietnam War thing was retconned because they didn't want Stark tied to an actual historical even which would make him over 60 years old. Its why Ben Grimm and Reed Richards no longer fought in WWII together. Stark is supposed to be, what in his late 30s or early 40s? There's no reason for him to be ranting about Commies and Reds. That stuff all happened when he was a kid. An even though Stark was no longer an arms dealer to the military, he still regularly supplied SHIELD with its weaponry and hardware, so he certainly wasn't some kind of peacenik, even before the whole Civil War thing.

I see Stark as someone who witnessed a transforming event which made him more hawkish in his ideology. The problem is he went way too far, like that Thor clone and throwing superheroes in prison.
An escape proof prison in the Negative Zone. Where was that idea when Mr. Hyde and company were escaping from custody for the zillionth time?

On the plus side, I love seeing Stark get his ass kicked. I'm going to put THOR #3 in a frame.

Diabolu Frank said...

I'm not talking about the continued efforts to soften Tony in the 90's onward... I mean from at least the 70's there was serious backpeddling on the character's conservative leanings.

As for the leanings of white readership, I'd dispute that at Marvel. The House of Ideas was built on counter-culture iconography, whether intended (Silver Surfer) or not (Dr. Strange.) In fact, I think the liberal bias of the incoming fan creators might have driven off conservative dollars in the 70's that didn't return until the Reagan 80's. Those who remained were treated to soft-peddled Iron Man.

This also segues nicely into Tony having gone to far to the right of late. This, I can agree with, and it affords him the opportunity to play penitent. He's had beatings due and has taken some lumps with more coming. Even so, a lot of his specific crimes can be scapegoated through Skrull Pym without invalidating his general stances of late. My hope is that he can be tempered without being completly de-taloned as Marvel's hawk-in-chief.

DamonO said...

Actually, it was in the 70s that Marvel really asserted its sales lead over DC Comics. If Marvel somehow "drove off conservative dollars," it'd seem that there would've been a bump in the sales at DC, whose characters were much more conservative. Yet, Marvel's sales over DC increased. And don't forget that the two characters that you alluded too -- the Silver Surfer and Dr. Strange -- were never big sellers for Marvel and neither managed to sustain their own titles for any substantial length of time during that period.

I think that basically, superheroes reflect the mood of the country during the periods they're being published in. As the country sways back and forth politically, so does the fictional universes the characters live in, which is why an idiotic idea like superhero registration is as acceptible to some today as warrantless wiretapping.

Diabolu Frank said...

Let me explain this better: DC, while inherently conservative, was chasing Marvel's tail and its talent throughout the late 60's until-- um, that never did stop, did it?

Anyway, DC had the same influx of liberal fan-talent as Marvel. From Gerry Conway to Len Wein to Denny O'Neil, most of DC's biggest names were decidely lefty, and even wingnuts like Steve Ditko were getting casually rewritten by guys like Steve Skeats from the other side of the aisle. Both DC and Marvel were majorly blue state in the 70's, and the comics market was severely depressed in that period for both companies. I'm not saying polemics were THE reason, but I'm willing to make the argument they were perhaps one of a great many.

As for the Dr. Strange and Silver Surfer mentions-- your reading was WAY not my intention. My point was that Marvel played to and drew a largely left-of-center readership, so that even an update of Mandrake the Magician by Steve Ditko was interpreted through the readership as psychedelic, much to its' co-creator's chagrin. Not so with his other half Stan Lee, who was clearly writing to that audience with Silver Surfer, though he made Marvel's obvious subtext into off-puttingly ham-fisted text that turned off even the faithful.

Barely still on topic, but I also wanted to point out that while Dr. Strange transitioned poorly out of Strange Tales with Dan Adkins, he was sucessfully relaunched mid-decade by top notch talent like Barry Smith, Frank Brunner, Steve Englehart, Gene Colan, Marv Wolfman and more. The title fared rather well until the transcendental 70's turned into the materialistic 80's, and Strange was out of his depth.

Returning to the main discussion, I again feel the need to defend Super-hero registration. As I mentioned before, I opposed the Mutant Registration Act in the 1980's because it treats genetically challenged individuals as though they were criminals due to inborn conditions they have no control over. Super-Hero registration, meanwhile, states that it is illegal for U.S. citizens to commit acts of vigilantism, specifically while employing super-powers or devices and garb of a fantastic nature. These are unlicensed individuals committing unlawful acts of surveillance, home invasion, assault, etc.

You're actually arguing that where it is morally wrong for government agencies to indulge in intrusive acts like warrantless wiretapping, its okay for any fascist in a cape to infringe on civil liberties to gathee otherwise inadmissable evidence and inflict bodily injury on persons our system assumes innocent until proven guilty. My stance is that I abhore this sort of activity from both officers of the law and self-appointed "super-heroes," and I feel both should be held accountable for their actions.

DamonO said...


"You're actually arguing that where it is morally wrong for government agencies to indulge in intrusive acts like warrantless wiretapping, its okay for any fascist in a cape to infringe on civil liberties to gathee otherwise inadmissable evidence and inflict bodily injury on persons our system assumes innocent until proven guilty. My stance is that I abhore this sort of activity from both officers of the law and self-appointed "super-heroes," and I feel both should be held accountable for their actions."

I think the fatal flaw in this view is that its based on the premise that the Marvel Universe is somehow comparable to our own reality. My view is that its so far removed from our reality, that imposing "real world logic" doesn't work. Let me attempt to explain that in more detail.

You refer to superheroes as "fascists in a cape." In our world, that's exactly what they'd be. Someone taking the law into their own hands, even though established law enforcement could do the job better and more effectively. But that's not the case in the Marvel Universe, or any superhero universe for that matter.

In comics, superheroes are a matter of necessity, not just some "fascist" taking it upon him/herself to take the law into their own hands. Imagine a comic universe in which there were no superheroes, but there were supervillains, and the only thing standing between the citizenry and the bad guys were conventional law enforcement like the police, SHIELD and so forth. In moments, the world would either be a smoldering rock or everyone would be living under the heel of Dr. Doom. Do you really believe Gotham City would be safer if only the Gotham Police Department dealt with the Joker and there was no Batman? Would SHIELD do a better job dealing with Galactus than the Fantastic Four or the Avengers? When superheroes fight crime in the comic universes, its because they can do a better job of protecting the populace than law enforcement can. If fact, law enforcement really can't protect the populace at all.

In your comment, you lament the idea of these "fascists" violating civil rights and inflicting bodily injury on individuals assumed innocent. So, when Spider-Man sees the Green Goblin throwing pumpkin bombs at people and stops him by beating the crap out of him, how is that any different than a policeman seeing a perpetrator commiting a robbery and shooting him. Would you accuse the cop of violating his rights because the perp is innocent until proven guilty?

The ironic part is that as much talk as the pro-registration side talks about "accountability", there's no bigger abuser of civil rights and avoiding accountability than Stark and company. They throw superheroes in a superprison in another dimension with no right to council. Innocent until proven guilty isn't even a consideration. You're guilty, period, cause we say so.

Stark and company sent out a Thor clone which killed Bill Foster, arguably using excessive force. By their own admission, the clone "malfunctioned," yet none of them nor the government can be held responsible for his death. That's the literal definition of getting away with murder.

And if that's not bad enough, Stark and the government release convicted felons like Venom and Bullseye -- we're talking serial killers here -- and have them hunting down superheroes. The criminals who take lives are given a license to take down the superheroes who have saved lives. It doesn't get any more ass-backwards than that.

And the final kicker is that the SHRA doesn't make the populace safer. If anything, they're LESS safe. Look at this way: Anyone who thinks that putting Spider-Man behind bars while letting Venom roam free is making society safer has really got their priorities screwed up. And that's exactly what the SHRA does.

The whole SHRA is a result of the incident in Stamford, CT where a lot of innocent civilians got killed in a battle between superheroes and supervillains. Pro-registration advocates argue that if the New Warriors had been trained by SHIELD, the incident wouldn't have happened. No one can say that for certain. But here's one thing that IS certain: It never would've happened if those supervillains hadn't been on the loose in the first place. And why were they on the loose? Because the government in the Marvel U can't effectively keep supervillains behind bars.

I understand that from a storytelling standpoint, its necessary to have "recurring villains." But in order to do that, you have to have convicted felons escaping from prison over and over again, and that's why the Stamford incident happened. If Nitro and company had been in a prison that could've held them -- say a high-tech prison in the Negative Zone -- maybe they wouldn't have escaped thus causing the incident. But in comics universes, they may as well hold supervillains in the jail in Mayberry.

The government's inability to keep convicted criminals locked up is the real threat to citizens in the Marvel U, not NFL SuperPro running around unregistered. Superheroes are the only real line between the citizens and chaos, and putting them under the authority of a government so incompentent and ineffective that its commander-in-chief might be a Skrull makes no one safer.

Diabolu Frank said...

Once again, you're points have inspired a whole new blog post, where I discuss some of this in greater depth. That being the case, I'll try to stick with the specifics of your last post.

Of course I want Spider-Man to deck the Green Goblin without hesitation, but that example reflects a simpler time of clear cut good vs. evil. As super-human terrorism and the implications of the Civil War have been introduced into the Marvel Universe, it has become part of their continuity, and forced me as a reader to choose a side.

Under the specfic circumstances of the Marvel Universe, as you've noted a place far removed from our reality, I find myself choosing the Pro-Registration stance. While the real world and its implications shade that choice, I'm trying to look at the specific circumstances and arguments presented in the Marvel Universe stories. I'm not going to say the Civil War has made the MU a better place, but for me it's made it a far more interesting and relevant one than it has been since Jim Shooter was ousted and Perlman took the company public.

The MU clearly needs super-heroes, but from the beginning their's been much cause for concern that they also needed a leash. That's something you can forgive of a fantasy universe, up to a point, but not when there are such constant reminders and parallels to our existence and theirs, as has been the case for most of the Quesada regime. I feel this has been for the best, and stepping back from the new politicised landscape would be regressive and, honestly, plain ol' lame. It't taken balls to lead Marvel to this point, and I'm reading more of their books because of it.

I also have to add-- the heroes escaped from the Negative Zone prison, and comic books dictate the super-villains would/will as well. Like so much in comics, it can be taken for granted. On the other hand, it's much harder to forget the transgressions of the Civil War, and their repercussions hold my interests in a way supervillains in super-prisons can rarely muster.

DamonO said...

I've actually thought it would be interesting if Marvel had a series, or at least a limited series, which explored what happens to a super-villain once they've been arrested. How are they processed? What is a super-villain trial like? How do defense attorneys defend them? How do they keep them in custody, and so on.

We'll have to agree to disagree on the whole SHRA thing. But just to show you what an effed-up idea I think it is, Tony Stark stated at the end of the Civil War mini that all of the private information that the government now has on the superheroes -- their identities and confidential info -- could only be accessed by him. That same Tony Stark now has a 50/50 chance of being a Skrull.

I'm sure the heroes and the populace of the Marvel Universe will sleep well tonight.

Diabolu Frank said...

Well see, I always figured S.H.I.E.L.D. had a lot of that information already, so that Tony only made improvements to existing databases.

Law & Order: MU would be cool. To some degree, books like Daredevil and She-Hulk have flirted with the idea, but more follow through would be worth pursuing. I think Peter David would be great for that sort of thing, but I understand he's queered that notion by turning She-Hulk into a bounty hunter. So very stupid...

DamonO said...

There's no evidence that SHIELD had secret identity info on heroes whose identities weren't already public. Really, SHIELD has a level of incompetence that makes FEMA look good by comparison. The fact that Dum Dum Dugan, the number two man in the agency, has already turned out to be a Skrull is one of many endless examples of how incompetent they are. As for Tony Stark, I think he has some megalomaniacal tendencies that could be problematic if not kept in check. I'm wondering if he's not going to have a Hal Jordan/Parallax moment one of these days.

Law & Order: Marvel Universe. Now THAT'S a great name for a series!

Diabolu Frank said...

I can't argue for S.H.I.E.L.D. While I loved the Steranko stuff growing up, the 70's onward proved that Nick Fury was pretty much the only good agent in that joint. I had high hopes after the organization collapsed into a small strikeforce in the late 80's, but it didn't take long for the bloat and misdeeds to crank back up. I do love Fury's going into and now coming out of the cold for Secret Invasion, though. Keeps him vital, and perhaps just as important, unaligned with S.H.E.E.S.H.

As for Iron Parallax, wasn't that the whole point of "The Crossing?"


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