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Post By
Omar Karindu

Member Since: Sat May 17, 2008
Posts: 4,242
In Reply To
Nitz the Bloody

Subj: What friendship doesn't survive. With various Dark Reign tie-in SPOILERS
Posted: Tue May 26, 2009 at 10:29:52 am EDT (Viewed 136 times)
Reply Subj: Action is His Reward
Posted: Mon May 25, 2009 at 04:10:39 pm EDT (Viewed 126 times)



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    The respective costs and benefits of being a hero or a villain may have tipped towards the villains in quantity ( Norman Osborn, instead of just being a corrupt CEO, is now a corrupt world leader ), but the qualities of both sides' costs and benefits remain the same. If you choose to be evil in the Marvel Universe, you are unburdened of conscience, whereas if you're a superhero, life is full of hard choices. But if you choose to be a hero, you are rewarded with the most important human qualities, such as the appreciation of those you save ( if only a few actually get over their social mores against vigilantes to show it ), the ability to have a close friendship or relationship, and the certainty that you're trying to help your fellow man ( which, if you're a religious hero, will give you a spiritual sense of well being ).


Except that at this point, I'm not sure the heroes can genuinely think they're helping their fellow man all that much anymore -- after all, most of their efforts to do so seems to have created the conditions for disasters like Dissassembled/the House of M, Secret Invasion, and Dark Reign.


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    Catching up on Brand New Day Spidey, I actually see this quite a bit in the controversial take on Peter; Peter may be irresponsible in his personal life, but it's because he has such a burden as a superhero that he can't manage anything else. The early idea of Peter as Hamlet figure is again on display here, as it hasn't been in years, by having him pulled in multiple directions; if he needs money for webbing and Spider-tracers and other gadgets, he would do best taking the paparazzo job, even if it's morally questionable work that alienates him from his friends. It's a situation that has no easy answer; hell, I personally think it would have been smarter for him to remain a paparazzo, since the amount of money Dexter Bennet was paying would really help fund his crimefighting. Here the complaint isn't against Peter for " selling out ", but against capitalism for its tendency to force people to do unethical things to make the money needed to live.



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    But even though Peter ditched the paparazzo job in the end, he was rewarded with the gathering of friends and family to help him move; people who were angry with him like Robbie Robertson and Harry Osborn forgave him, even without knowledge of the dual identity motivating his choices. The " poor on money, rich on friends " motif is a cliche, but it's also what drives almost all heroic fiction to some extent.


But Peter's not really "rich in friends" these days. The most recent arcs of Amazing seem to revolve around the idea that he can vanish for months and no one especially cares. Why? Because he's considered an irresponsible flake. His friends have, in essence, already decided that Peter is at best a marginal part of their lives. And when he comes back, he can effectively stay in costume most of the time.


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    To frame it another way, look at Iron Man; too many authors have tended to write him as a complete bastard, but those who don't have demonstrated that Tony is the most Hamletted-out character in the Marvel Universe ( that his high school incarnate in the current animated series had to perform a scene from the play was an irony not lost on the character himself ). Tony has far more power than any Earthbound Marvel hero, and thus far more responsibility; does he take on Project Wideawake, or join up with the Superhuman Activities Commission to try to diffuse such a possibility? Tony's got the weight of the world on his shoulders, but he's also got great friends to help him with it; Tony never admits it and keeps people like Rhodey and Pepper at arm's length, but they always come through for him in the end. That seems to be the way the current story is going; Tony takes his atonement for Osborn's rise to power all upon himself, by independently destroying both his physical tech and his literal intellectual value via the brain deletion sequence. But even with Tony hiding out in all corners on the world, battling debilitating seizures, we see that Pepper and Maria Hill are helping him at grave risk to themselves.


Of course, the other side of all of this is that Tony's friends end up being his tools most of the time. He treats them like crap, and they always come back. In the current storyline, he hasn't even explained what Hill; and Pepper are doing in his plan (other than, in Pepper's case, distracting Osborn a bit).

That's not a healthy set of social relationships so much as it is Tony Stark, abuser and his codependent crew.


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    Also consider that the fun in books like Dark Avengers is seeing that Osborn's empire is really on a foundation of sand; the last issue, with a pissed-off Sentry realizing that he's been manipulated, and Norman clearly realizing that he's bitten off far more than he can chew, confirms this.


The problem I have with that is that solicitations seem to indicate that Dark Reign will outlast many of these apparent catastrophes, and that, for example, Bullseye's going to get away with the horrible things he's doing in his miniseries and the Sentry will not take down the Dark Avengers as a result of Hawkeye's media blitz. (In fact, recent issues of New Avengers seem to indicate that Clint's news appearance was filed away with the Paris Hilton sorts of stories and did almost no damage at all to Norman.)


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        to quote a great Jedi master, " Only a Sith deals in absolutes ".

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        Isn't that statement itself an absolute?



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    Well, if the Dark Side of the Force isn't a corrupting influence, I don't know what is.


That's rather dodging the problem with the statement, which is self-negating.


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    BTW, new comics up on my site; more confirmation of this Black and Grey Morality, and the benefits trying to do the right thing subtly has ( Ruby's friends are completely committed to her, which may be worth being ostracized from the rest of the world ).


As I said, my problem isn't "Black and Grey," it's more the growing sense of "Black or Futile."




- Omar Karindu
"For your information, I don't have an ego. My Facebook photo is a landscape."
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