Tuesday, March 13, 2007


So the question is, which is more in free-fall – the Current GOP Administration or the Marvel Universe? I mention the idea that whenever I think either one has hit bottom, the floor opens up and we go spinning further down the rabbit hole.

Over in the political world, we have the Veep's Chief of Staff guilty for four counts of perjury, obstruction, and lying. We have revelations that after sending troops into combat without enough battle armor, we are now not taking care of them when they're wounded. We have revelations that the Fish and Wildlife Service is being leaned one to downplay the fact that the olar-cap-ay is elting-may. We have the FBI abusing the PATRIOT Act after swearing they never would do something like that (suprise!). We have the revelations that the government pitched a number of Attorney Generals out the door because they wouldn't play ball with the administration politically.

And this was just last week. Oh, and to top it all off, one of the lead bloodhounds going after the previous administration for illicit sex admitted that while he was doing so, he was having illicit sex. And he's running for president.

Yet given all of the above, last Wednesday, the NY Daily Post put on their front page the "Death" of Captain America, and everyone shrugged and said it must be a slow news day.

Now, the Masters of the Marvel Universe seem to occupy the same general sphere as the planners in the White House- deploring the "Reality Based" world and declaring that they define what reality is. Now, in a shared creative universe such as Marvel, this is ACTUALLY TRUE. They DO have the power to determine the reality of their characters. Not that they've been doing real well with it.

Last time you tuned in, two weeks back, the Civil War was over, and the smart guys (Led by Tony (Iron Man) Stark) won because Captain America surrendered. The next two weeks, in a real world, would be made up with dealing with repercussions and continued conflict. Here? Not so much. The dead-enders go into hiding. Everyone pulls together under the new regime, and Tony suddenly is in charge of SHIELD, Nick Fury's old organization of super-spies.

In the next week, it was revealed that our friend Tony was manipulating control-nanites to force the original Green Goblin to shoot the Atlantean ambassador (a plot line in one of the supporting books), therefore creating a threat from the Atlanteans which the heroes can unify behind. A couple reporters find this out, and bring down the house of cards.

Hah! I kid! In the reality-defining world, the reporters confronted Tony, and told him they were going to keep quiet about it, since it was for the greater good. Go, fourth estate! I wonder how they would have felt about Tony if they knew he's pulled this stunt before, getting the Titanium Man to attack Congress to underscore the dangers of superhumans.

OK, so another week passes and now Cap is shot. For those who didn't get past the headlines, he was winged by a sniper while on the courthouse steps for a highly publicized (verging on show-) trial. Then in the confusion, with all the media cameras running, Cap's girlfriend, a SHIELD agent, runs up and pumps five slugs in his gut. OK, so she was hypnotized by some of Cap's enemies, but still, this is a PR disaster for SHIELD.

In fact, that may be what they're talking about in a promo book called the Initiative, which is supposed to be the NEXT big thing. Spider-Woman runs into Ms. Marvel (They come out of the same 80's Clairmont era, so they bond, even though they were on different sides). SW accuses Tony of killing Cap. Ms M says no, Cap's alive, and being kept on life support elsewhere. Outside continuity, the powers that be have declared Ms. Marvel to be lying, which further reduces any good feeling about her. But I think this story was written before the ending of Civil War was determined, when the very likely chance existed of Cap getting killed in final conflict with Tony (Which sort of explains the fairly lame ending the highly-touted series had). However, you go to war with the reality you have, and Ms. Marvel is tossed under the bus to support that reality.

Fine, so in the same week Tony reorgs the Avengers, which consists entirely of easily-manipulated bricks (Sentry, Wonder Man, Ares) and women Tony has slept with (Ms. Marvel, Black Widow, and Wasp). So Tony is showing the same reasonable decision-making capability that has carried him so far (By the way, what number on Reed Richard's Hundred Great Ideas was shooting the symbol of the USA?). But at the end of that issue, Tony's armor is taken over (again), and morphed inside out (apparently killing Iron Man in the process) and a new female Ultron takes over. Mind you, the last time Ultron showed up, another hero (Vision) died, so this conclusion is not out of the question.

Of course, the apparent Iron Man death will be explained away (but it is nicely drawn by a brilliant artist, Frank Cho), but it underscores the impermanence of death in the Marvel Universe- Cap was presumed dead since the end of WWII, and has died a few times since – he's always gotten better. Ditto Iron Man. Green Goblin? He was dead for a long time, but is back. Vision? Dead, back again. Spider-Man? Dead, and recently, too. So there is no prob that Captain America will be back in some form.

And even if they hold the line, and state that the Steve Rogers/Captain America is dead, dead dead, that will only hold as long as those in charge declare it to be so, In a consensus reality, such declarations last as long as those making the declarations are in power. In my capacity as a licensee with Marvel, long ago, I was assured (and sometimes ordered) that certain characters and incidents would never appear again, and should not even being addressed (Random example? - Gwen's Clone). All have since appeared again, as the great wheel rotates and different people come into power. So all this will change yet again.

And that may be the case on the national level as well.

More later,