The past day has been interesting. The United States government has given the military the ability to arrest and detain any American citizen suspected of terrorism. No trial.
American citizens held without trial for being a suspected threat to the existing order. Read that again.
It got me thinking about an essay from Captain America and Whiteness: The Dilemma of the Superhero about the interesting history of the government passing laws against vigilante actions in the pages of comics and the heroes who resist capitulating to such legislation (the whole reason they exist is because the government has failed to provide adequate resources in fighting criminality). The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, and Marvel's Civil War story line all deal with the government passing laws outlawing vigilantism (those who challenge the state monopoly on violence).
|A scene from G.I. Retaliation|
I picked up GI Joe: The Worst of Cobra Commander and learned that the origins of Cobra were from a mild-mannered American upset with big government! (p. 88). The eventual Cobra Commander launches his political party (which eventually becomes a terrorist organization) with this speech in Springfield, Illinois with these words:
War is an extension of politics and politics is an extension of economics! If the government says an honest man can't work as much as he wants to and earn as much as he wants to -- it's wrong! And we have a right to fight back if we want to!Wait a second... is Cobra a right-wing populist movement? Could Cobra be the motivation behind the Tea Party Movement? It should be noted that G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero - from which this graphic novel is collected - was published back in the 1980s.
Anyways, it's always interesting what a little intellectual curiosity will help you uncover. Who knew that the origins of Cobra (the comic, not the cartoon or the 2009 movie) would be a right-wing populist movement?
Let's get to the essay at hand, which is on the interesting tradition of beloved superheroes like Batman and Captain America fighting back when the government decides to enact laws that target those who dare challenge the state monopoly on violence.
Just like the Voldermort was Right piece, SBPDL will occasionally publish articles that dare ask why the so-called villains in a movie are wrong. At some point soon, an article stating Why the Empire from Star Wars is Right will be published. Tomorrow, an article detailing why Bane Must Break the Bat: Why the Dark Knight Rises Must End With the League of Shadows Winning will be published.
Yes, this site is still SBPDL. But you have to add some variety every now and then. The Atlanta/Walking Dead piece will be published soon too.
Now, in honor of those superheroes who participate in true civil disobedience, let's take a quick look at the healthy tradition of masked heroes fighting to save America from itself.
|Civil War: Captain America sides with the people|
Commander Hill: This proposal goes to a vote in two weeks’ time and could be law in as little as a month. But we can’t go in half-cocked. We’re already developing an anti-superhuman response unit here. But we need to make sure the Avengers are on ourside and that you’re out there leading the Avengers.
Thomas Jane was originally cast in the role of The Comedian and we have learned that he was deemed too white to star opposite Sylvester Stallone in a 2012 action film.
Ruling the city is an effete liberal elite that offers the few remaining good people of
|The Dark Knight Returns: Bruce Wayne raises an army to fight the true enemy|
In The Dark Knight Returns, the ultimate villain – in the eyes of the government - is Batman himself, and it is the United States Government that orders Superman to ultimately stop Bruce Wayne in his quest to rid
Juxtaposed in the comic panels during Superman’s destruction of the Soviet Union’s military, is Batman trying to thrwart the Joker from killing hundreds in
Superman: We almost threw a party when you retired. Do you remember why you retired, Bruce? No—just ok at you—you’d do it agin- and like a murderer, you’d cover it up again. Nothing matters to you – except your holy war.
Batman and Captain America, plus the characters in Watchmen dare challenge the state monopoly on violence.
The Dark Knight Returns – like the Civil War story – deals with the extraordinary illegal lengths that heroes go to combating crime and the decisions they must make when confronted with a government ultimatum to come and either work for them or be hunted down by those who do. Either or with us, or against us.
|The Punisher: The 21st Century Captain America?|
That man is Frank Castle, a character whose actions don’t belong in a world where men can move buildings with their minds and shot lasers from their eyes.