Weekly Comic Book Discussion 5/03/2006

Ok, two biggies came out this week. The lesser biggie first: Civil War. I kinda liked it, and I kinda like the fact that they’re presenting good points for both sides. It’s not NEARLY as ham-handed as I thought it would be. That said:


  1. Cap is on the wrong side for Cap to be on. Historically, he’s been a soldier and understands about following (lawful) orders. So far, we haven’t seen anything unreasonable. (Not that I like the new proposed laws, or that I’d follow 'em if I was a super-hero, but they’re not completely unreasonable. Sorry, when it comes down to it, Cap is Lawful Good, not Chaotic Good.

I’ve heard a rumor for why he’s on the side that’s incorrect with/for his personality though, and if true, I’m just dropping the book.

  1. Apparently (and I’ve only heard this 6th hand, so please don’t take it as gospel–I’m not or I wouldn’t be buying the book), Millar hates Bush and the Patriot Act and as things progress we’re going to see that instead of the reasonable set of proposals we’re seeing now, we’re going to get 1984 and they wanted Cap to be on the “right” side.

I don’t care if you like Bush or hate him and ditto the Patriot Act. What’s making this so fasincating is that so far, there’s a real nuanced portrayal that Millar has accomplished. The way he’s playing it in issue 1, there is no “right” side and there are no easy answers. That’s hard to do and harder to do well–Millar did a spectacular job here. If he manages to keep this up for all 7 issues without it descending into A) “The Patriot Act Suxxors!” and B) Stark and his side are pawns of the eeeee-vil gummint, he’ll have a true classic on his hands, and possibly the real “Crisis-worthy” event that Marvel’s never quite managed (lasting changes and real drama, not just fight scenes).

I love some of Millar’s stuff (he wrote one of the best JLA stories ever (~#27 with Atom and Amazo) and hopefully he’ll keep the delicate balance that is so compelling.[/spoiler]

And Infinite Crisis #7.

I dunno. I’m a bit disappointed. I mean, it couldn’t have lived up to my hopes and expectations (which were, admittedly, unreasonalbly high) but a part of me’s saying “…and? That’s all?” I mean, the changes to New Earth are all good ones but that was it? I liked quite a bit about it (the bit where Wonder Woman drops the sword was great) and I like having a Superboy back, I like Wondy having been a founding member of the JLofA and I like a Batman who’s not insane, but…but I dunno. I wanted more significant changes, rather than a few (really needed) fixes. Maybe I need a bit to digest it.

I don’t, these were two of the things I liked getting removed with Crisis - for all that they messed with other books that didn’t get quite the overhaul.

Especially since all the neccessary titles got continuity fixes. At least some of which are now reborked.

As long as the Super Boy’s a rumour based on people occasionally spotting Clark - who’s trying NOT to be seen (ie, not wearing his red and blues) - then I have no major problem with that. But Clark operating openly would be a bad thing. Especially if it only leads to rumours. I like post-Crisis Wonder Woman’s history, and I’m not happy with it being messed about.

I also don’t understand the big deal about whether Batman knows who killed his folks or not. I mean, I understand people who don’t like him being motivated purely by not knowing - turning him into a vengeance-seeking psycho, rather than a vigilante seeking to protect his city. But he can be protecting the city whether he knows who it was or not. It’s a matter of how Batman’s written more than whether his folks were killed by Joe Chill or whatever. His time away with Tim and Dick will accomplish the fix in his personality just fine.

The stuff that stood out for me was smaller - random cameos, and such. I wasn’t expecting to see Wild Dog there, for sure. Ther lantern on the beach makes me all warm inside with its promise.

Superboy-Prime lecturing Hal for his time as Paralax is…hillarious. I had rather hoped Alex would realise how far he’d gone when Batman, of all people pulled a gun on him, but, ah well.

The splash just back from the end, with the new characters, new costumes, and such was nice. Although it ended up spoiling Seven Soldiers…it wasn’t much of a spoiler, though, I guess.

I think the main reason Cap is on the wrong side is that Millar is too much of an ideologue to keep his politics out of his writing, no matter that it makes no sense in the context of the character. Shame, as he is a good writer.

Cap is Lawful Good, the government is not always. Cap fights not for the government, but for the American Ideal.

He’s told the Government to stick it before. Twice. Patriot and The Captain. It’s in character for him to think something is wrong, on a moral level, and refuse to accept it.

Yeah. This is what I was thinking as well. Ultimate Captain America is the more gung ho government type. Diverging from the government to do what he believes is right is perfectly in character for main continuity Captain America.

Villains United #1: After the big build-up in the VU Special, I felt short-changed on the huge Metropolis brawl. But the rest of it?

Gold. Just pure gold.

There was no possible way to end it better than this. It was fifty pounds of awesome packed into a ten pound sack and it burst and covered everything with awesome. I mean, I’ll be washing awesome out of my hair for weeks to come now. It’s a shame about the brawl, but I couldn’t be happier about the conclusion. Especially the fate of Luthor.

Okay, so I was right. This is a reboot. They’ve undone some post-Crisis changes I didn’t like (except maybe for the Superboy thing, I’ve always been ambivalent about that, but I think the compromise here could work), let’s see what new changes they end up making.

Onward to 52! May it be just as awesome.

Infinte Crisis #7: See the thread. :smiley:

Teen Titans #35: Okay. I’m on board with the new guys now. “Bad Girl” is so trite, but they’re doing it pretty well with Rose. More 52 teasers.

Action Comics #838: I’m digging it. Especially now that we know how he lost his powers to begin with. Product placement alert on the novel Clark’s reading. No way they photoshopped that in just because the artist liked the book.

I also Byrned Supergirl. Not bad, but not good enough to make my pull list. I’m still not a fan of Kara. The disconnect between her portrayal here and in Legion is a bit jarring.

Um, VU #1 above SHuld read Infinite Crisis #7. geeze. Brain fart.

You can’t be Lawful-Good and ignore the law, unless the law is completely whacked (and I mean in a Nazi Germany sense) and what’s being proposed isn’t. A lawful-good character’s reaction to a bad (but not totally whacked) law should be “I don’t approve of this but it was voted on by our legally elected officials and there are ways to change it working within the system.” [spoiler]Which is very much Cap’s attitude overall: if it’s lawful, IMO he’ll follow along–and if he doesn’t, he resigns. The Patriot I don’t remember (You don’t mean Nomad, after Nixon, right?)… Note that he was the one who (for a while at least) put up with the Affirmative Action Avengers. (He was also the one to put a halt to it, but NOT by ignoring the law–he stopped it by calling Reagan and asking Reagan to step on Gyritch. Cap should never be a lawbreaker (unless, again, the law is totally whacked).

Right now, the stuff that’s being proposed (remember, no legislation is gone through) is reasonable. I don’t like it, and if I were a super-hero, I’d object to it, but they’re not proposing concentration camps for metahumans, they’re not proposing implanting microchips, they’re not setting up Sentinels to hunt super-humans down, they’re simply saying “Sign up and get a badge or resign and leave the job to the professionals”. I find the degree of “grey” fascinating: I don’t think I’ve ever seen it done better. As of right now, there really isn’t a right or wrong and given that what’s being proposed isn’t not totally whack, we should have seen Cap sitting on the sidelines agonizing about it for a while. For him to decide to become a rebel leader (so to speak) this quickly was waaay out of character to me.

And Iron Man–he’s the one who regularly breaks the law to achieve his own ends: the Armor Wars where he broke into how many government installations to get his way? Hell, the most recent Spidey where he paid a super-villian to endanger civillians to try to scare congress into not passing the law?

My big fear is that this will A) be a big plot by a super-villian and everything’ll be over with quicker than the reprecussions from Secret Wars and/or B) it’ll turn into an ideological rant/tract. [/spoiler]

Shoulda known someone would beat me to it this week. :wink:

Fenris, the Cap stuff they’re talking about is a storyline from a while back - the Government tried to fold Cap in as an official operative under their control, and he told them to stick it. They ended up replacing him with the fellow who would later be US Agent, after Cap’s return.

And you’re off on the proposed legislation as I understand it :

All people with special powers must register. This is based on the net scuttlebutt and the protesters pictured in the issue itself. I don’t think they have the option to retire - as Doc Strange puts it, he has to sign up with the government, or go to jail.

It was a really solid week for me, and I’ll be back to add more thoughts in a moment.

I remember him telling them to stick it and he became the (stupidly named) The Captain. I don’t remember when he became the Patriot. Or did they redo the story but with a different name?

If that’s the case about the legislation, then I retract part of what I said. I understood Dr Strange’s comment to mean “So…wait. If I want to keep doing my magic thing, I can either register or go to jail?” If your interpretation is correct, I’m disappointed as it becomes a whole lot less morally ambiguous, but Cap still should have agonized more. And Iron Man should still be leading the resistance. Hell, in additoin to what I said earlier about his long history of f*cking with the U.S. Government, he was also willing to mind-wipe everyone on earth (twice?) to protect his secret identity. Add that to his long history of ignoring the law and…his pro-registration stance doesn’t make much sense. I hope I’m wrong, but I wonder if Millar may be thinking “Tony Stark”=“rich guy who owns a corporation”=“Corporate stooge lackey for the Government” which is also totally out of character.

Got new issue of Exiles, which was fascinating; Civil War, of course, which I will want to discuss at length later; Outsiders , which managed to save itself from being dropped from my pull list by an interesting revelation that may just tie into Teen Titans, this week. Teen Titans was very entertaining, of course. Nice to see the Doom Patrol. Infinite Crisis will also get a fuller treatment later, but my overall impression : I liked it, and most of what they did with the characters, and I liked that

the door to the multiverse may not be as closed as we thought…

but I think the changes to the Flash family are stupid and wrong.

Also, it continued to be plagued with pacing problems, and too much "What are they talking about? Oh, I guess they’ll cover that in Flash #1. " It was too ambitious a project, and the clarity suffered greatly.

Supergirl… I don’t know what to make of it, yet. Detective was a little gruesome. Action… was one of the better Superman stories I’ve read in a while.

JSA. Some fascinating stuff, and clearly building to an interesting climax, I suspect… And yes, that center figure on the cover IS who you think it is.

Not actually sure on the Patriot thing. As for Cap’s decision-making…

Didn’t seem like to me he thought to himself, “Well, got to go start the rebellion, toodles!” Seems like he got the suggestion the government was going to use him to enforce the violation of superhero privacy, and while he could personally endure his own privacy being curtailed, he wasn’t going to squash someone else’s liberties. And it’s not even as if he decided instantly to refuse… he balked, and they pulled trank guns on him, which you just don’t do.

And you think Tony and Cap are on the wrong side? Reed’s the big winner in that competition.

Despite the FF having public IDs for years, about three months ago in their title, the state of NY was trying to take Franklin and Valeria away, saying it wasn’t safe at the Baxter Building. Reed was smart enough to know what would happen, and proposed a test. They pretended to move Franklin and Valeria to a foster home, keeping the location a “secret” on a government need to know basis. Within hours, the fake foster home was hit by a missile. So Reed knows the government can’t keep secret ID information safely. He knows that supervillains will strike at vulnerable family members when and where they can.

I just rechecked. I believe your interpretaton of the law is incorrect Gamera.

Spidey says “If this law goes through, a lot of supers will just hang up their tights.”, so apparently retirement is an option. Which is nice. Like I keep saying, as long as they keep the law ‘reasonable’, it’s a powerful book. As soon as they start making the law unreasonable, it becomes just another polemic

Supergirl #6: WTF? I’ll stick with it for a bit but WTF?

Teen Titans #35: That’s more like it! Can’t wait for the next one.

Inf Cri #7: What Menocchio said. I like the fate of the Flashes and let’s face it: about six issues into the new Flash series everything will be back to normal. Well except for that one thing which I like. Loved Luthor’s fate. Still waiting for an F Sharp Bell cameo.

Who was the guy with the GL-like ring and the Wonder Woman-like lasso that Black Adam, er, Black Adam’d.

Still need to get to JSA. Action Comics shipped? Must have missed it.

Only Villain I remember Adam…well…Black Adaming was Amazo (when Vixen and the chick I don’t recognise had their little conversation about him.)

But here you’re implying a moral system which has little to do with Marvel continuity. Captain America has always believed in America the ideal first and the American government second.

Also, Captain America is living with the Parkers. This law just got a very familiar face to him.

I think this decision is absolutely within character for him.

I can account for that, though…

If someone with powers goes underground, it’s going to be pretty hard to retroactively identify them. So “retiring” is an option, but not necessarily a LEGAL one.

Still, it’s an open question until they clarify it for us a little more.

Let me sum up my problems with the Flash thing:

Bart’s ruined.
Speed Force… well, apparently, it has a planet with a Red Sun in it… oh, but it got destroyed. How do you blow up an energy field? Every single appearance and usage of the Flashes in Infinite Crisis has had something majorly wrong with it, in terms of consistency with previous portrayals. Barry’s uniform was the only thing that could survive the trip through time? What the hell? Superboy, powerless, had time and expertise to cobble together a Super Armor under the watchful eye of multiple super-speedsters? WTF?

And why even get rid of the damn thing? I mean, they just added a “Firestorm Matrix” - how is that more plausible than the Speed Force?

And Jay limited to the Speed of Sound is just wrong. [/spoiler]

Three times, if I am recalling his actions regarding the deranged super-soldier Nuke in Frank Miller’s Daredevil: Born Again correctly.

I think it comes down to this: if Gamera’s interpretation of the law is correct, I completely agree with you about Cap’s decision. If my interpretation of it is right (and I hope it is, only because I think it makes for a better story) then I feel that the decision was waaaaaay too easy for Cap.

And Iron Man is still on the wrong side based on most of his history.

Plus, wasn’t he fired as Secretary of Defense by this administration? He shouldn’t have many warm fuzzies about them