Thursday, August 03, 2006

Justice, Civil War Style

(Spoilers to Fantiastic Four #539 and Wolverine #44 follow.)

Ben Grimm's defining moment in Marvel's Civil War is depicted in Fantastic Four #539, with The Thing finally expressing his opposition to the Registration Act. But, since he just can't bring himself to defy the US government, he decides to leave the country.

The comic-book-irony quotient is especially rich, here, with Ben forced to leave the country for which he has just professed his deep love.

Sure, this is a bit of a cop out. But one of Ben's Yancy Street homies has just been killed in the struggle between the pro- and anti-registration forces, and, given the circumstances, he's entitled to revel in a pox on both your houses moment.

Now, I didn't have a big problem with the way that Ben actually failed to choose sides. (Though, weren't we promised that everyone would have to choose sides?) What did bother me in the issue was that during the time that The Thing is stating his views, everyone just stands around and listens to him. Cap, Iron Man, Daredevil, Ms. Marvel, She Hulk, motionlessly standing and listening.

I mean, I don't believe for a minute that Iron Man would just drop everything and listen to The Thing's tormented speechifying while Captain America, Daredevil, Luke Cage the Cloak and Dagger were all within arm's reach. The framing of this scene struck me as out of place.

These criticisms aside, though, it does seem to me that the nature of Marvel's crossover event is making it easier for writers to integrate it into their individual titles than it was for DC creators to do during Infinite Crisis. I actually get the sense that my reading of individual titles is constructively feeding into my understanding of the main issues of Civil War, which certainly wasn't the case with Infinite Crisis.

In his title, Wolverine continues to extract a pound of flesh from Nitro's genocidal hide, and it's pleasing to see that someone considers the villain, rather than the New Warriors, as responsible for the Stamford tragedy.

And while readers are reminded that who benefits? is always a crucial question to keep in mind, there was an even nicer "reveal" in the issue, one that answered a question that came to my mind when I read Civil War #1.

I was pleased to learn that Namorita's people are indeed interested in bringing the person responsible for her death to justice. Because, even with her bad skin and poor impulse control, Namorita was still member of the Atlantean royal house.

I'm definitely happy to see that namor wants to dole out some justice for his cousin. And I would like for Wolverine to be smart enough to know that Atlantean justice will be a lot harder on Nitro than American courts.

I'm envisioning sea anemones, cookiecutter sharks, maybe sea cucumbers, combining their talents to provide a long, painful, and tastefully off-panel death.
That'd be justice, indeed!
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