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Monday, March 12, 2007

Marvel-ous accountability...

I have not read a Super-Hero comic for decades, and while I confess to wasting my time at a Spider-Man or Batman or Superman movie over the past two decades or so, I have done so with low expectations and little enthusiasm. (I did sit through the latest Bond flick, but I guess that does not really count.... Pretty boring; great chase scenes, to a point, but the torture scenario got me a bit disgusted....).

But with all that said, I am a bit curious regarding what I am hearing about a general plot hatched by the folks at Marvel Comics involving a group of its super heroic characters. The fantasy world spilled over into the culture news and satirical entertainment recently as the Civil War series put out by Marvel led to the assassination of one of its characters, Captain America ("bio" here). The New York Times covered the story with an Arts section obit; The Colbert Report devoted a segment to it; even NPR got into the act with coverage on Morning Edition and on On the Media. As both NPR stories indicate, the originator of the character is in mourning -- "sitting shiva" (or "shivee" as they would say in Chicago).

OK -- so why am I bring this up in my blog?

As it happens, at the center of this Civil War is a law: "the Superhuman Registration Act, intending to register all super-powered beings as living weapons of mass destruction and requiring all costumed heroes to unmask themselves before the government and subject themselves to federally mandated standards." In short, it required all super heroes to register with authorities so they can be held "to account" for their actions. What seemed to bring this on was an incident in which one super hero, Nitro, set off a massive explosion killing many innocent by-standers in Stamford, CT. The legislation split the super hero community, resulting in the "civil war" and leading to the death of Captain America.

So, now you know....

Beyond the first incredulous roll of my eyes when I heard about this, this might in fact be the opportunity I need to actually add some pedagogy to my efforts to get people to reflect on the concept of accountability.

Or maybe it is just another example of how either our fantasy life has deteriorated or how our real life has become literally comical....


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