19 October 2007

Marvel Brings Back Captain America . . . And He's Armed!

Marvel Comics' Captain America is coming back! And get this . . . now he'll be carrying a sidearm! Interestingly, there are a few disturbing portions of the piece, but then consider the source -- it appeared this week in the Washington Post. One oddity is the statement from the Marvel Comics' executive editor who compares the persona of CA to a police officer or FBI agent, who is "authorized in particular circumstances to use deadly force if necessary." Hmmm. I haven't looked at comic books in decades, but I always interpreted the persona of Captain America as representing "everyman," so to speak, but not government, law enforcement or the military. He was about individual good and reason taking on crime and evil, particularly on behalf of those who could not be helped by the authorities.

The story includes a recap of how the Captain America character was murdered earlier this year ago in the pages of Marvel Comics when the government required all those with superhuman abilities to register with the government and unmask themselves. Here is where the writer of the story seems to have an unusual viewpoint on government oversight. A civil war in the Marvel universe ultimately ensued. Several superheroes complied with the order to register and unmask. Here is how the Post author looks at it . . . "Captain America, however, believed it was a violation of his civil liberties to be forced to reveal his civilian identity and led the rebellion against the law. Talk about a metaphor for the battles of our day. Can anyone out there say Patriot Act? When he finally went to surrender -- fearing the war was taking too great a toll on innocent bystanders -- he was whacked, blown away on his way to the courthouse."

This is hardly a metaphor for the Patriot Act? Granted I have my objections to portions of that hastily passed law. If anything, however, the storyline shows government run amok and registering everything, including people. If anything, it is indicative of the dangers of government control over individual self-reliance. If you really think about it, the government's insistence that superheroes register with the government is not unlike those inside and outside government today who insist that all guns be registered. If you know the true identity of the person behind the mask (who is helping the helpless), or where the gun is located, you have control over the populace. Self-reliance and independence gives way to the nanny state.

Regardless of your interpretation of the Marvel superheroes civil war, catch the full story of the return of Captain America in "The Good Guy With A Gun".

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