Wednesday, October 10, 2007

It feeds the rich while it buries the poor

If you want a crisp look at the moral and political challenges of living with terrorism, then read Marvel Comics Civil War. Every few years, the major comics companies shake up their lines and provide a macro-context with a major event. These are generally said to change everything, and sometimes they really do.

In this case, a superhero vs. villain battle leaves hundreds dead, and in response the government wants to register all superheros. Some go along and others resist the increase in state power. The choice is that between security and freedom and it is not obvious where the line should be drawn, in real life or in this comic. As in real life civil wars, the conflict becomes increasingly violent and each side takes measures they wouldn't consider in peacetime.

The art in the book is excellent and I thought the characterization was good, but I am not an avid comics reader, so I have little opinion on the specifics for each character. It was fun to see the battles between Iron Man and Captain America, the leaders of the opposing camps. There are a number of tie-in stories which provide more context to the overall story and I will certainly be reading them.

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