Monday, June 18, 2007
Marvel Universe Civil War
The Marvel comics storyline House of M has Wanda/Scatlett Witch changed reality in a fit of temper tantrum. When things rightened itself, reality was not installed. In the new reality, all mutants have lost their powers in a story arc called Decimation. Now just when things are coming back to normal, or as normal as they can get in the Marvel universe, a civil war occurs.
Four New Warriors, who are young superheroes and are also reality television stars decide to boost their television rating by attempting to apprend a quartet of superpowered villians on real live television. In the fight, which was telecasted live, one of the villians named Nitro blow up part of the city of Stamford and a school! Hundreds of adults and children died. Millions in the United States watched the live telecast. The public outcry against the superheroes was intense. The President tried to defuse the situation by passing a Superhuman Registration Act which made it compulsory for all superheroes to register, reveal their secret identities, and undergo training to control their powers. The one behind this is Iron Man/Anthony Stark who wants to control the superhero community. The Act will involve superheroes revealing their secret identities and thus endengering their families. Captain American led the revolt aginst the Act. Remembering the lessons of the Second World War, "first come registration, then comes the camps.." or even worse, be compelled to serve as combat troops. This is an astonishing change in the outlook of Captain America who used to say that "my country, right or wrong." Here he said that it is right to fight an unjust law in his own country.
The superheroes communities are divided into two camps. The government declared those who refused to registered as outlaws and authorised that they be brought in by whatever means and imprisoned.
Hence there was a general melee as good guys and former allies fought each other. Of course the superheroes villians made full use of the situation. The series ends when Captain American was apprehended, and was assassinated! Iron Man became director of S.H.I.E.L.D. a multinational force composed of superheroes, thus making Captain America's fears prophectic!
It was the comic book event of 2006/2007. What makes it interesting is that in a way it is a social commentary of the Homeland Security Act in the United States after 9/11. Homeland Security are given increasing powers including the power to register persons of Middle Eastern origin and detention without trial (like Malaysia's ISA). First comes registration and then come the camps stuck in my mind. Registration is discrimation; whether by race, religion, or gender. This information can be used against them anytime. In Nazi Germany the Jews and undesirables (like gypsies etc) were forced to register and we know what happened to them. In Malaysia, one wonders why students have to write their religion on their exam answer scripts.
In all of this it is the country's Constitution versus national security. Natural security seems to win most of the time. People support it without regards to consequences or morality of what they are doing. In 1942, the President of the United States signed executive order 9066 which precipated one of the largest controlled migration in history. In fear of a "Japanese invasion", over 110,000 Americans of Japanese descent were incarcerated in 10 wartime communities or camps under the Wartime Relcoation Authority. Over half are children. They left behind millions of dollars worth of properities. To be fair, their camps or relocation centers, those spartan properties, provide free food, lodging, medical care, clothing allowances, education and all basic necessities. Freedom always come with a price tag.