[Disclaimer: this blog post is focused on the Civil War comic series]
Marvel’s highly anticipated film Captain America: Civil War is only a few months away. Comic fans everywhere are probably the most excited since this 2007 series is regarded as one of the most popular stories within Marvel’s comic history. However if you have not read the comics then you will probably miss the hidden message within the storyline.
By now you might have heard the plot to the story but in case you have not, here is the TL;DR version. This whole event started after a group of heroes name The New Warriors, cornered a self-destructing villain that caused the deaths of hundreds of people. Following this event Congress quickly passed a bill that called for every super powered individual to register. Iron Man and the pro registration heroes believe those with superpowers need to be held accountable for their actions by registering their identities and to be regulated by the government. Captain America and his team believe that personal freedom is much more important and that a hero’s personal life/identity needs to be maintained a secret in order to protect those around them.
It is very easy for us to fall into choosing one side, Mac Vs PC, Alliance Vs Horde, the list can go on. I recently made a new friend who told me that she supports Tony because it logically makes sense, and that is completely fine. I sided with the Captain because he believes it is more important to protect everyone’s natural rights. As Doctor Strange put it, “There is no right or wrong in this debate. It is simply a matter of perspective…” Can you easily give up a portion of your freedom and hand it to someone else in exchange for safety and security? Or are protecting individual rights more important? Naturally we all (yes even the fictional people) want to live in a safer world but, if placed in the situation, can we really expect ourselves to give up a portion of our rights? Unfortunately in both Marvel’s world and in our own, tragic events are always bound to happen and no magic force is going to keep us completely protected.
To some of you this scenario might sound somewhat familiar. In the not so distant past our country decided to move forward and install the PATRIOT ACT. Consider this act as Tony Stark and as much as our personal rights became limited we believed it had protected us. Others would say that we have lost our civil liberties to a group that has abused the power. Civil War’s hidden message reflects on the soul of our country right after the attacks on 9/11 to just a few years after it had passed through Congress. In Civil War we were represented through Peter Parker AKA Spider-Man. Within the side stories to Civil War (specifically issues #534-536 of the Amazing Spider-Man) Peter already struggles with the concept that this war is about what is “legal” and what is “illegal”. Later on he discovers that those captured by Tony’s team are jailed without due process until they register and give up their secret identity. So do these ends justify the means? Should we ever give up the values that make us who we are in exchange for what we believe to be right? Well, that would depend on your perspective.
What makes Peter Parker a good personifier for the American people is that he is very much an average person. Besides having the proportional strength of a spider, Peter attempted to live a very normal life, which is quite a luxury if you were a superhero. He truly believed that the movement would help protect the country but he soon saw what was being done behind the scenes. That being said, as much as some of us sided with the PATRIOT ACT we took notice when the government began to abuse the power. Spider-Man was not afraid to admit that his decision was wrong even if it meant going against what is perceived to be right.
Civil War’s tagline asks you, “Whose side are you on?” when in reality it should ask you “What do value the most?”. Marvel will soon launch a sequel to this epic war titled Civil War: Part II this Spring and once again difficult decisions will be made and you can expect nothing to be the same afterwords.