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Wednesday, December 20, 2006 

"Social conscience"? Ho, I'll bet

Scripps-Howard News Service makes me laugh:
Recalling its socially conscious roots of the 1960s, Marvel Comics delivered the best comic book series of 2006.
Hmm, I fail to understand just what they're talking about here. Back in the 60s, when Marvel did any take on the civil rights movements of the times, it was the battle of racial minority groups to gain genuine respect and legitimacy. It had nothing to do with whether you're a legal resident of the country or not. And this is the best book of the year? Please. Frankly, I don't think this year's had anything real to crow over.
"Civil War" pitted superheroes against each other. After the government starts requiring all superheroes to reveal their secret identities and become federal agents, Marvel's tights-and-capes community was at odds.

Captain America thought it was an intrusion on his civil rights. Iron Man declared it was the responsible thing to do. After all, policemen don't hide their identities, Iron Man reasoned.
Oh, but there are some who do, and it can be if they're going undercover to bust an organized crime syndicate, and nobody wants the crooks to know who they really are, or they'll never succeed in stopping those mafiosos. Hence, I fail to see the logic in what was plotted.
The fallout is a sensational series that is a thinly veiled story about personal rights, civil liberties and, in many ways, unjust profiling.
Ah, now I see where this article is going. Now, they're trying to say that it's an analogy to the flying imams in Minneapolis, whose dirty stunt, as the Star Tribune has argued, was most likely staged in hopes of making a case for preventing authorities from profiling potential terrorists at airports. Yep, the MSM has done it again. When a case that should be considered serious comes up, they immediately jump on the opportunity to claim that a book like Civil War reflects that subject, all according to their own sidings and beliefs.
Just as it did in the 1960s, Marvel Comics dared to tackle tough issues and offered no easy solutions.
Yawn. Do tell.

Here's a funny bit that follows:
DC Comics, on the other hand, had some brilliant ideas, but they were poorly executed. It was as if DC had a party for itself but didn't invite the most important people - the readers.
I remember that two years ago, there were a few people/sources who seemed to take a negative stance towards Marvel's own moves with Avengers: Disassembled, yet they went all the way with DC's. This sounds almost like the opposite. Whatever be the case, it's a nonsensical approach, since if what one company is doing is bad, then surely the what the other is doing is too? Not to mention that a lot of hard questions about DC's own steps went almsot completely unanswered back then. Now, with an article like this, the same could probably be said for Marvel.

The writer then goes on to list what he calls the best comics of the year:
The best comics always hold a mirror to society. In this stark and tightly written miniseries, superheroes had to determine among themselves why do they what they do. Is it right to be a vigilante even if the cause is just? Eventually Spider-Man took sides, too, and in the process finally told the world he is photographer Peter Parker. "Civil War" is a thought-provoking nail biter.
LOL. It neither adds nor does anything for Spidey or any other superhero who unmasked during the miniseries. It's just a publicity stunt, and as far as "thought-provoking" is concerned, gimme a break! And, what does he say about the Fantastic Four:
As a result of "Civil War," the Fantastic Four was a family in crisis. The Human Torch was injured in a fight with pedestrians. Reed Richards took a defiant stand along the pro-government lines. Meanwhile, his wife and best friend, the Invisible Girl and the Thing, joined the opposing camp, making them outlaws. The heightened drama among the four main characters was riveting reading.
I'm sure there are and will be plenty of worthwhile stories in which the FF has a rift, but with what Civil War contains, this is not one of them. And I think I'm better off not knowing the outcome of Johnny Storm's scuffle with a bunch of pedestrians.

I see that Brad Meltzer's take on the Justice League is the only DC Comic featured here, and something tells me this was all part of the plan:
Best-selling writer Brad Meltzer, a fan of the Justice League's 1970s run, takes over the series for the first time with interesting results. His bent toward personality over action occasional impedes the book's rightful active flow, but never makes it disengaging.
Even at a glance, it doesn't take much to tell that was doubtless padded out for a 12 to 13-issue trade paperback. What exactly makes Meltzer any better than the other writers in DC's stable just now? The series is also one of a couple books that's been facing disturbing delays, and after Meltzer's now notorious act of yore, that's the main reason why I won't be buying this, even when it's published in trades.

Overall, a pretty appalling entertainment column this was, written with some real cynicism indeed.

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About me

  • I'm Avi Green
  • From Jerusalem, Israel
  • I was born in Pennsylvania in 1974, and moved to Israel in 1983. I also enjoyed reading a lot of comics when I was young, the first being Fantastic Four. I maintain a strong belief in the public's right to knowledge and accuracy in facts. I like to think of myself as a conservative-style version of Clark Kent. I don't expect to be perfect at the job, but I do my best.
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