Oh why not, it’s Friday, let’s have some comics talk.
Spencer Ackerman’s adjudication of the dispute between Captain America and Iron Man is some of the most relevant punditry you’ll read today. And, incidentally, I agree with Spencer entirely: Iron Man was unequivocally right in the argument over superhero registration. I’m not even sure what the case for the other side is, and the libertarians I’ve asked haven’t been able to come up with one. If the state has any legitimate function at all, it’s to train and regulate people who could accidentally kill everyone in a hundred-mile radius.
Ok, first off, that legislation was just a modified version of the racist and speciesist Mutant Registration Act, designed to terrorize, isolate, and harass a minority of genetically-different Americans. This bill would have been more effective in destroying the mutant community than 10,000 Sentinels had they survived M-day intact.
Second, compare it to guns. Defenders of these registration acts will make it sound like every person with a superpower is a Magneto with their fist raised in the air ready to destroy humanity, when in fact 95% of super powered people are completely responsible users of their natural talents like Jubilee, who really just want to hang out at the mall and impress boys and old Canadian men by shooting fireworks in the air. Dazzler has provided millions of people with fantastic music and concert shows through her powers, and Ezra wants to throw her in a ghetto.
Third, the registration bill quickly became a conscription bill. This is important, and this would be my objection. Most superpowers are travel or projectile based. I, as a regular human (who no longer does Reed Richards style employment these days – would financial engineers have to register?), need a license to drive a car and a license to own a gun. I’ll consider that fair and legitimate, and a person who can travel by flight or walkways made of ice should also register that they can do this properly.
But this Superhero Registration Act actually required that people with superpowers sign up to be “trained” by SHIELD. I imagine the defenders of the act were hoping to train a generation of teleporting doctors without borders, but instead they are weaponizing super powers. A person with superpowers should use them any way they wish, or optimally use them along the lines of market signals, but he or she is being trained by the military to only use them as weapons to take down enemies (often enemies created accidently by the military, like the Hulk). This training, ironically, makes them more dangerous to everyone – instead of Dazzler learning how to use her powers to make a light display for her show, she’ll learn how to use them to kill.
I do applaud the low recidivism rate among prisoners who are working with the Thunderbolts program. That’s been an effective government intervention.
And I will say that one legitimate function of the state is to take actions to protect its borders, be them by land, sea, or dimension. And after the long, slow, painful regime of that failure Tony Stark, I’m glad the Avengers are finally doing something about the Asgardian threat in Oklahoma. Did anyone else cheer on the Sentry last issue? I sleep better knowing brave Americans like Robert Reynolds are willing to do what it takes to protect the heartland.
Moving over to DC, can I just say The Blackest Night is amazing? Seriously. Each issue nails a cliffhanger.
I was lucky enough to go to the Blackest Night Release Party at Isotope Comics last summer, and their list of cocktails is usually very good, they outdid themselves at that party by inventing a drink for each Corp. Here’s a snapshot of their drink list. For your weekend, I highly recommend yellow, it makes you capable of instilling great fear: