The Mix

Marvel Comics takes on homeland security

Maybe superheroes can help?
Marvel comics is taking on politics with its new series called Civil War, “which can only be described as a gutsy comic-book series focusing on the whole debate over homeland security and tighter government controls in the name of public safety,” according to The Globe and Mail. The series was released Wednesday:
The seven-issue series once again puts superheroes right back in the thick of real-world news, just as DC Comics has Batman battling al-Qaeda in a soon-to-appear comic and Marvel's X-Men continue to explore themes of public intolerance and discrimination.
It also recalls the plotline during the Watergate years when Captain America's alterego, disillusioned by White House politics, stopped donning the patriotic costume.
But with Civil War, hero is pitted against hero in the choice of whether or not to side with the government, as issues ranging from a Guantanamo-like prison camp for superheroes, embedded reporters and the power of media all play in the mix.
The story essentially revolves around issues of civil liberties versus homeland security. In the fictional world, superheroes are supposed to register with the government as human weapons of mass destruction, but not all of them want to cozy up to the government in this way.

Marvel Comics says it is not trying to take sides or be partisan, but is simply exploring the issues and allowing readers to decide what they think. But, of course, that leaves one big question up in the air: Which side wins? Guess I’ll have to start reading the comics to find out.
Maria Luisa Tucker is a staff writer at AlterNet and associate editor of the Columbia Journal of American Studies.
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