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Saturday, January 06, 2007 

Spider-Man becomes puppet of an anti-warrist

In Amazing Spider-Man #536, our legendary wall-crawler is exploited further by writer J. Michael Straczynski for anti-war propaganda in the Civil War crossover. I think the whole of his speech can be found here at 10 Zen Monkeys. But be advised that this appears to be a very biased website, to the point where they say that
For years conservatives have been justifying foreign imperialism by invoking the famous words of his kindly uncle Ben — that “with great power comes great responsibility.” (Senators currently invoking the wisdom of Spider-Man comic books include Republican Deputy Whip Jim Demint, and Sam Brownback, whose web page still argues that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction). This month someone writing for Marvel Comics had apparently had enough. Specifically, contributing writer J. Michael Straczynski.
This sounds like an attack on what made Spidey's whole story work in the first place - that he was an anti-hero who learned, however difficult it was on the way, that if he's going to have a cool superpower, he's got to learn to use it wisely, and for good purposes. Sounds like the writer who wrote the above isn't a Spidey fan, if at all. Tsk tsk tsk.

Oh, and so let me get this straight. Despite some evidence that's been turned up over the past few years that Iraq did have WMDs in store, they still refuse to acknowledge it?

10 Zen also says that
Straczynski has been a frequent critic of the Bush administration, posting to internet newsgroups for years.
He's also got his apologists and defenders for his work, Mr. Straczynski does, and this should pretty much show that any political bias that finds its way into his works is no accident. For the record, he too is one of the crowd that's refusing to acknowledge Saddam's WMDs.

Through this website, biased as it is too, here's one quote of the political diatribe Straczynski forced Spidey to utter:
"I've seen the very concept of justice destroyed. I've seen heroes and bad guys alike — dangerous guys, no mistake, but still born in this country for the most part, denied due process, and imprisoned, potentially for the rest of their lives. ... But there's a point where the ends don't justify the means, if the means require us to give up not just our identities, but who and what we are as a country."
This sounds like moral equivalence, where, not only are the actions of the supercrooks trivialized, but the superheroes are stuffed into the same boat as the bad guys. In other words, Straczynski's insulting practically the whole superhero community of the MCU!

The idea of the baddies (and come to think of it, the goodies) in the world of comics being imprisoned for "the rest of their lives" is supremely silly and ignores the fact that tons of supervillains have escaped from jail over the years, sometimes even off-panel and without going into details, and to be quite honest, it doesn't seem like they really even care what country they were born in,* since all that most of those supervillains ever really cared about is robbing, looting, conquest, and murder (there are some who have loves and relatives they may care about, but never has citizenship factored into their concerns). Which is exactly why they were put in prison to begin with, and I can't say that even Spidey ever cared if they rotted away for the rest of their fictionalized lives if they did.

This is perfect evidence why Straczynski's departure from Spider-Man is long overdue, just like Joe Quesada, if all he can do is let his personal biases ruin our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man's book. And yet, as far as I can tell, there are a lot of people inexplicably buying this junk, regardless of story quality, and thus prolonging their careers at Marvel. What is to be done?

* And despite what Straczynski says in his ludicrous writing, some supercrooks, such as the Chameleon, Kraven the Hunter and the Rhino were of Russian extraction, and didn't exactly bear much respect or loyalty to the United States, if at all. Even Igor Drenkov, the spy who was mainly responsible for turning Bruce Banner into the Hulk, was Russian. The Mandarin, one of Iron Man's most notable adversaries, was from Communist China. And on the heroes side, the Black Widow is a defect from the Russian Commies who became a S.H.I.E.L.D freelancer. There are various other heroes and villains alike who were born in foreign countries, and I think it can certainly be said that the heroes, when written well, have plenty of respect for the laws of the US, while the villains in contrast do not. And I think it can also be said that Straczynski's script in ASM #536 is way off base.

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  • 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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