Reasons Why Civil War Is Dumb
David Lewis, writer of Mortal Coils and the Harvey-nominated
The Lone and Level Sands, has long been a champion of comics
as a true art form, and currently teaches English at Northeastern
University, where he does indeed sneak comics into the curriculum
wherever he can. He first posted this article on his
blog, Loose Pages.
We did this already. It was the '80s, and it was called the
Mutant Registration Act. Read a back issue.
just stay on the fence?
All superhumans must register themselves with the government,
so as to become licensed employees through S.H.I.E.L.D.
Isn't that kind of what Captain America already did years
ago? So, if he's in compliance with the registration act
itself -- in fact, its model -- why is he on the run? Because
he wouldn't force others to register? Or because he was
given an order by his "employer?" Can't he just
say no and, effectively, quit (or be fired)? Doesn't that
make him still registered and compliant with the law?
Speaking of Cap, the Avengers used to have de facto
government approval and clearance thanks to his S.H.I.E.L.D.
status. (Ms. Marvel, too.) Why is that not possible here?
A known hero vouches for an unidentified hero. There's some
legal precedent here, whether it's the FBI assigning field
deputies or simply a court defendant being released into
the custody of a reputable family member or counselor. If
Cap says Spider-Man is cool, then it's Cap's neck on the
line should Peter fuck up, but the government only needs
Spidey's ID if that happens. Where's the problem here?
Further, like Cap, aren't some heroes already pre-registered?
Reed Richards, Hank Pym, Ms. Marvel, etc. -- Folks whose
alter ego is public knowledge or were already once employed
by the government. How exactly is this a Civil War if they're
already assigned to a side? Can they defect? (If so, see
point 2 above.)
How does the government know the guy claiming to be Daredevil
and wearing his outfit is Daredevil? Could Ben Reilly have
registered to be Spider-Man, leaving Peter both off the
hook and operating under the radar?
In response to point 5, the only way someone masquerading
as Daredevil would be caught is if, say, Spider-Man says,
"Hey! I know who Daredevil is, and you're not him!"
For that matter, aren't everybody's secret identities already
known around the superhero community? Iron Man could download
everything from the Avengers' computer, Xavier's files,
and Lord knows where else, making the whole law moot. Cloak
wouldn't need to register: Xavier already read his mind
and turned in his notes! (And don't they have any half-decent
telepaths in S.H.I.E.L.D. to get the info surruptitiously?)
Is it illegal for the Young Avengers to fight crime out
of costume? Like, could they do it in their street clothes
without getting targeted? Would using their Social Security
Number as a codename be compliant enough?
Finally, this has to be the stupidest waste of tax-payer
dollars ever. Superhero vigilantism used to be a free service,
conducted pro bono. Now, not only will the government pay
registered, licensed superheroes (nice deal for them), but
it's going to waste money and resources tracking down those
superhumans who will do the job for free? Folks, that's
as close to the lunacy of the illegal immigrant debate as
I can think of! (But not close enough to be an interesting,
I'm all for the "Is the 'secret identity' a required
element of the superhero?" debate (raging on as it
has in Daredevil, Identity Crisis, Spider-Man,
and so forth), this is a ridiculous, shoddy plot around
which to tentpole a big summer event.
fun to watch hero fight hero, sure; it's the Marvel tradition.
But, a Civil War? Pshaw, c'mon! This makes less
sense than a civil
war reenactment. Let Wanda
make it all a dream, ok?