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Subj: And on the merry-go-round we go again; CW Commentary in latest Wizard Magazine [SPOILERS]
Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 01:13:10 pm EDT (Viewed 2 times)
Reply Subj: Re: Mark Millar and Steve McNiven CW Commentary in latest Wizard Magazine [SPOILERS]
Posted: Sat Sep 01, 2007 at 02:05:08 am EDT
> But I'm not sure why the idea of anyone supporting registration is "uncharacteristic". The ones with no secret ID who already work for the government had no real reason to oppose it. Yes, Reed has changed his mind on the subject, but the world is a very different place since last time he had to think on the matter in 1989.
It might have been nice if Marvel had worked out some relatively clear version of what the SHRA was and made sure all th writers got the memo. The "gotta be registered and take basic training" bit is far more defensible than the "backdoor draft/Initiative" angle.
That said, the enforcement of the Act, even as portrayed in the mini itself, is draconian and frankly disgusting. Secret extradimensional prisons and detention without trial for anyone refusing to register? And that's the "good guy" position?
It's especially ludicrous when you reaize that merely being detained and unmasked effectively completes the bulk of the registration process anyway. Once you're in the system, would it matter if you were offering some putative resistance to...being entered into the system?
> > -- Lots of disbelief on Millar's part about how Iron Man is viewed as a bad guy. He discusses the Cap/IM meeting in issue 3, and makes a point that Cap throws the first punch ( which is an untruth, because Tony took down two of Cap's men first ). He seems to think that Iron Man's comprimising with the government is somehow a justifiable position. Given Millar's political statements in previous interviews, it seems odd that he'd take Tony's side.
> Since the event ended, Millar's been pretty consistent in his statements that Tony was right, and that compromise with the government is less-worse than a masked elite standing unaccountable and above the law, and less-worse than a running battle with their own government, less-worse than ignoring the will of the people, less-worse than "we're going to pick and choose which laws we obey".
And this is why Mark Millar has become fundamentally inapable of writing Marvel-style superhero fiction that works. He simply misses the underlying premise of the genre: that the heroes are not an "elite" in the first place. Yes, in the "real world" masked vigilantes would be an awful thing, because the real-world sorts of people who engage in systematic and sustained vigilante campaigns tend to be pretty awful people. But that's simply never been true of the vast bulk of Marvel's underdog (and often hangdog) heroes. Does anyone in their right mind really think of Spider-Man as a dangerous elitist?
It's imply not a reading that can be applied successfully to...well, the pre-Civil War Marvel Universe. If any heroes were part of an elite, they were the Avengers. And the Avengers, of course, spent the majority of their history very much tied up with the government.
I might add that using Iron Man and the Illuminati as the lead-up certainly didn't help whatever specious point Millar meant to make. If you're arguing against masked elitism, it's a bit hard not to think that the Illuminati secretly meeting to decide whether the superhuman community -- whom nobody asked them to represent, mind you -- should or shouldn't comply with the law.
There's also the basic problem Millar seems to have utterly, abysmally missed: the SHRA isn't being enforced or run by directly elected officials. It's being administered, per the end of CW #7, by a largely unaccountable international spy agency and supported by two of the most elitist superheroes around (Tony and Millar-Reed, who does not resemble any other Reed).
It's not as if Tony Stark is currently responsible to "the people," now is it? Yet Millar seems to think that a centralized and sinfinitely classifiable administration of superhumans granted official police powers is less elitist than a loose confederation of gifted amateurs so long as Congress passed a law permitting it. For God's sake, he really seems to be arguing that we'd all be better off if, say, the NSA ran the prison system and the police.
Back when Millar was writing The Authority, fans of his run often argued that he was as hard on the team's quasi-fascism as on their largely one-dimensional opponents when someone made the point that the Authority themselves were effectively totalitarian enforces of their own private laws.
It's rather harder to do that after reading Civil War; Millar really seems to like stories about law enforcement by way of black ops and wetwork and the like. There's a certain fetishization of the ubermenschen-as-hard-man in a lot of his work, and I'm becoming quite uncomfortble with him as a writer as a result. The way in which his work presents ideas of democracy and law isn't so much challenging or daring as morally imbecilic, and I'm rapidly tiring of it.
His work genuinely seems incapable of containing or getting over the idea that not every law enacted via a democratic-republican process advances the interests of democracy. And that's a lesson I imagine a seventh-grader in a Histry or Civics class could work out.
Millar's work has crossed the line for me from deeply irritating to ethically indefensible. Luckily for me, it's also becoming increasingly difficult to defend aesthetically, so perhaps I can just be done with his writing for good and all.
- Omar Karindu
"A Renoir. I have three, myself. I had four, but ordered one burned...It displeased me." -- Doctor Doom
"It's not, 'Oh, they killed Sue Dibney and I always loved that character,' it's 'Oh, they broke a story engine that could have told a thousand stories in order to publish a single 'important' one.'" -- John Seavey
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