Hold on to your hat’s Ladies and Gentlemen. This one’s a doozy.
Let me just get this out there, first. The Marvel Civil War was a great storyline. I can’t even believe I had to say it. And why did I have to? Because, apparently, some people wouldn’t understand good storytelling if it were grinded up and shoved into their ears.
Ok, here’s what happened. I was perusing YouTube as I do and came across a video listing the “10 worst Marvel Events”. And I thought, “Hey, this should be interesting.”
Of course you get the ones you expect, “One More Day”, Ultimatum, and so on. Then I see the “Marvel Civil War” listed and I’m like “Whaaaaaaaat?” So I decide to do some research. Surely, this was just an isolated reviewer who just had trouble understanding the scope of the storyline. But then I find at least two more similar lists that also included Civil War.
Now I had to know. What could they have possibly not liked that made it so bad? It seems they all agree that it was a great idea and started off good but devolved into a lot of anger and frustration and ended with a whimper instead of a bang. One reviewer even goes as far as to complain how it turned Tony Stark into a dick and Peter Parker into a whiner. Another complained that you had to read too many books to follow the story.
Now, before I explain the Civil War and why it was good let me point something out first. Tony has always been a dick and Peter has always been a whiner. But Tony is a lovable dick because he’s cool and everything we want to be. And Peter’s an endearing whiner because inside he’s everything we are and we feel his struggle.
Now about the Civil War.
The Civil War started when the New Warriors (a teenaged superhero group trying to capitalize on reality TV) chased a villain named Nitro who, in order to escape, triggered his powers which exploded several city blocks including an elementary school while it was in full session. That big a death toll caused an outcry and the end result was the passing of the Superhero Registration Act (SRA).
The SRA is something that was a long time coming in the Marvel Universe. I personally thought it was an imbalance that the government would try to pass the Mutant Registration Act but allow non-mutant supers to run around with no problem. The SRA feels like an inevitable evolution of the mutant agenda.
“But Kronoscide, how can you possibly defend the whole thing becoming just one big superhero brawl. Isn’t that just pandering to the lowest common denominator?”
No, it’s not. Think of it this way. Have you ever gotten in a political debate with a friend and it quickly breaks down to name calling and yelling? That’s what happened on a much larger scale. That’s what would have happened if it were real. It started with just Tony trying to talk sense into Captain America while the Cap tried to continue being a hero from the super hero underground. Pressures from the government and the public forced Tony to escalate which, in turn, causes Cap to escalate. It went back and forth until Goliath was killed. Then all hell broke loose.
This was natural and part of human nature. We all get a little crazy sometimes. There was no other way for this to go. I know some people wanted an even battle with a thought provoking tet-a-tet sort of deal but what do you think war is?There’s gonna be violence. Lots of it. Stop pretending you don’t love it.
Now lets talk a bit about the characterizations. Let’s start with the big fish. Why would Tony support the SRA? It doesn’t make sense that he’d work with the government against his own friends. Isn’t he usually the “screw the rules, I have money” guy? And he was, until he realized that he was one of the few who had the resources to work within the government to get things done. When he saw the early draft of the SRA he tried to fight it within official channels but the writing was on the wall after the New Warriors incident. Then he figured, since this is what the people want, the best way to avoid problems and still be able to help was to follow along.
Tony somehow took the guilt on himself thinking that he should have seen this coming a lot sooner. Now he was fully behind officially sanctioned superhero training facilities. In that respect, it does make sense.
This is where our next subject comes in. Poor Peter Parker. Originally He was going to skip town to Canada to avoid the SRA (heh, good luck with that). Instead his family and Tony convinced him that it was better to stay and support the SRA. This included revealing his secret Identity in public.This is what got Spidey fans upset. Why would he do that? He’s protected his identity for so long, why give it up now?
Oh, you poor dopey fans. Have you not been paying attention? As smart as he is and as much as he’s been through, he’s still kind of naive about the world. He believes in people and the goodness of mankind. Plus, he felt that if he had a little training when he started he may not have made some of the mistakes he made. Maybe even have saved Uncle Ben. Or at least Gwen Stacy.It was later when he found out the full extent of the prison “42” and seeing people being sent there without due process that he switched sides.
Not done yet, folks. I’ve got so much to say about this that I’ve got to save the rest for the next Address. I’ll see you then.