Monday, September 25, 2006

Civil War

I've been reading Mark Millar's much-hyped, much-discussed, much-delayed, much-criticized Civil War series and wanted to raise a few quick points. First, I like it. I don't love it - I recognize that it has problems - but I like it. I liked the Spider-Man revealing his identity bit, liked how it worked within the story, and I liked how they handled the build-up to it in Amazing. What I haven't liked as much is the extremity of the rift between superheroes. I find myself wondering if they should have named it Civil Disagreement, because the War part is feeling forced. Even with all of the build-up, the "Road to Civil War" stuff, the Illuminati special, the tie-ins - even with all of that storytelling weight and verbiage this still feels rushed. or, more specifically, the ease and quickness with which the sides have resorted to such epic violence feels forced. But at the same time, these are superhero comics, and the notion that everything becomes very quickly about violence has certain fairness about it.

But the one thing that I've actually liked, that so many others have mocked, the thing that's spurred this post, is the depiction of the relationship between Iron Man and Captain America. I keep reading fans and critics mocking the notion that such long-time friends, long-time crime-fighting partners, would come to blows like this. And yet to me it feels pretty right. I've hardly read the entire runs of The Avengers, Iron Man, or Captain America, and yet I always had the feeling that - while they were friends, and did respect each other - Iron Man and Captain America have always had opposing views. And we've seen those differences come to a head before.

In the "Armor Wars" saga that ran in Iron Man many years back, the two Avengers fought when Iron Man, in an effort to destroy purloined armor tech from a host of bad guys, also went after the Vault-guarding Guardians, with Captain America, in his then-current guise of The Captain, fighting against him. And in the Avengers saga "Galactic Storm" some years later, we again saw a rift formed in the Avengers rank over the question of what to do with the genocidal Kree Supreme Intelligence - kill him or not, with Iron Man and Cap leading the opposing factions. So this notion of Iron Man and Captain America coming to blows over different philosophies is not new - it's an organic development in a long-evolving relationship. And some of the recently released fourth issue's flaws (a clone of Thor? Really?) aside, it's to see that evolution continue and (for the time) resolve somehow that has me looking forward to issue five.

Until Whenever

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