MARVEL’s Civil War rocked the industry. There is no doubt about that. It not only changed up the entire MARVEL universe and how the characters were approached, as well as forever altering the relationships between certain characters, but it redefined what it was to be a super hero in that universe, changing them from vigilante’s with powers and a sense of morality, to registered government sanction agents like Police Officers with powers. Now, this idea of monitoring the damage done by hero’s is commonplace to a the public’s reaction to any new hero, not just in MARVEL, but everywhere.
They were not the first to introduce the idea that the people they are protecting may not be appreciative of the means by which they protect them. Watchmen introduced that idea long before, but being a stand alone story, it’s effects were not as great, unless you count Civil War as a product of Watchmen. But now that this idea has taken full hold over the way hero’s are viewed in their respective universes it leaves one wondering why it wasn’t a standard from the start. MARVEL alone has the Punisher running around killing thousands of people, bad guys and mobsters true, but doesn’t that go against the very nature of law and order as set forth by society? The very society he is attempting to uphold and protect no less? And how much collateral damage has Batman or the Hulk caused while fighting their enemies? These people would not have been put up with in the real world.
And what of their enemies? Lex Luthor got elected president of the United States while being the most obvious villain ever. The Joker once, though briefly, was the ambassador for Iran. How many super villains continue to live as their billionaire selves? If these people existed in the real world, with how flamboyantly they go about their business, they would not be in the positions they find themselves in. Alan Moore’s “The Killing Joke” saw a near catatonic James Gordon tell Batman to bring in the Joker by the book despite his paralyzing of his daughter, moving later to have Batman share a laugh with the Joker while offering him help. But who really does that? Who, in their right mind, would allow someone who does those things to live? Furthermore, who would beg to have them brought in correctly? During one crossover, the Punisher comes across the Joker and tries to kill him, only to be thwarted by none other than the Batman himself. Yes. Batman saves the Joker, the culprit of literally hundreds of murders and thousands of crimes, from the Punisher. And let’s be honest, the Punisher is the only realistic super hero. He has no super powers. He is just a well trained guy who uses guns, and really, if these bad guys actually existed and did the things they do in the books, would we have any other choice but to kill them on sight the way he does?
Point being, comics go about things in a highly rediculous manner. Yes, I know, they are comics so that stuff is to be expected. But when we are asked to believe that these characters exist in this world, isn’t it going just a little too far into the realm of ridiculousness to think they wouldn’t kill these super villains? It’s the only logical thing to do when locking them away barely gives a week respite from their murderous antics. All in all, the way super hero’s save the world doesn’t ever really save anybody, it just prolongs the amount of time they have to wait till the villains inevitably kill them.
Which brings me, finally, back to my point with Civil War. This universe rocking effect of the registration act, so wild for a comic hero, is really the most logical and realistic thing is it not? If these super powered people actually existed, would we really allow them to run free the way they do in comics while their nemesis wreak havoc? As Tony Stark says in Civil War, the people are fed up with supers. I am surprised it took them THAT long considering the collateral damage that comes from their super powered slug fests. So in a world where super hero’s exist, the strangest and most unrealistic thing is not THAT they exist, but that the rest of the people didn’t get pissed off sooner. This is finally being caught onto by comic writers and their movie making counter parts too as The Dark Knight finds Bruce Wayne struggling with the idea of enduring the public’s hatred of him, seeing him as the reason for the Joker, and Kick-Ass 2’s use of the plot twist that the president calls for an end to costumed crime fighting. It’s nice to see people acting like people in these stories because in real life, if we saw a man running around dressed as a bat, he’d be in Arkham right next to the Joker while Spiderman and the Hulk would be locked in some secret government lab having tests done on them constantly and Tony Stark would most likely have used his knowledge to keep making guns and money, because out of all the unbelievable stuff I have read in comics, the fact that the public puts up with these seemingly insane vigilantes whose actions barely run the side of good and almost never legal is the most unbelievable.