2006 Year in Review Part 1

Discuss your thoughts on the articles written by J.R. Fettinger from the www.spideykicksbutt.com website.

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2006 Year in Review Part 1

Postby MadGoblin » Sat Dec 15, 2007 9:19 pm

Talk about a long time in coming - I still have a lot of catching up to do, but let's go ahead and get started with

Spider-Man 2006 Year in Review Part 1

This week, we're diving headlong into the Marvel Universe Civil War
Last edited by MadGoblin on Mon Jan 21, 2008 8:44 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby BD » Sun Dec 16, 2007 12:52 am

Another great article JR. My favorite line was

# No dinner,
# No wine,
# No sex; and
# No kids


One thing I think we need to take into account for the behavior of the heroes is the need for action to happen in the stories. A conversation between Cap and Hill wouldn't make very interesting reading. However, an escape out of a helicarrier will entertain. I think a very "In character" thing that we forget about these "icons" is their need to rough it up. In the Marvel Universe a fight breaks out every five or ten minutes. The last fight I was in was the 6th grade.

Looking forward to part two and your take on the T-bolts and Norman. I really like Thunderbolts, and I wish it'd come out on time.
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Postby Thanos6 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:29 am

JR, if you weren't married and straight, I'd kiss you. I agree with pretty much everything you say (well, maybe not Sheehan and Chavez; but this isn't really the place to discuss that), and this is from someone who plans to vote for Dennis Kucinich. :)

I believe that many intellectuals from both sides of the political spectrum have something of a fascist streak in them, but not always a deliberately malevolent one. Intellectuals tend to want order, not chaos, and sometimes seem to prefer the certainty of authoritarianism over the uncertainty of democracy.


Hell, that's how I am. Ever read Gruenwald's original Squadron Supreme miniseries, the groundbreaking one? Well, I was on Hyperion's side. (Until they used the Behavior-Modification machine. Free will must be sacrosanct)

Ohh, and off-topic a bit, did you get my e-mail?
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Postby CrazyChris » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:38 am

Hey, I've really enjoyed these three instalments since the hiatus, even more so than the ones from earlier. I think you've plain got better at writting. Not that you were bad by any means before, but these recent essays have been extremely entertaining and readable. Good work.

You seem to get pretty emotional about Civil War (I think I first saw the foam forming in the cornor of your mouth around the point where you called Maria Hill and overcompensating dyke). That's not a bad thing because raw anger makes articles more fun to read, but I think your comming down on Civil War a little harder than it deserves. I can't wait to see what you have to say about Civil War parts 5-7, which were bad!

I think there can be a middle ground between pure 60s suspention of disbelief and the so-called "logical conclusion" of out and out realism. There's no reason why the Marvel Universe should limit itself to one extreme or the other. Marvel injected a small amount of "realism" into the comic universe to create a provocative story, but it still very much operated on Comic Book logic. Kind of like what Brad said, these characters exist to get into fights and they'll act in whatever way that leads to that end. I don't want characters to act completely rediculously for the sake of having a fight (like when Peter beat Tony up before asking him for a loan -- that's too much), but I can accept that Captain America would go underground instead of working within the system. The system had already failed at that point.

I don't think Tony was written too inconsistently between Amazing and Civil War. He was both fascist and tortured in each series, and the only difference was which aspect was emphasized. Tony showed how conflicted he was in Amazing when he talked about how he hated being a jailor, and he was shown to go to far for the sake of order in Civil War by authorizing the formation of the Thunderbolts and trying to trap everyone in the Negative Zone.

I can accept that Captain America would criticize Spider-Man for unmasking when he encouraged it before because he wasn't thinking clearly. It seemed like he was getting defensive and needed something to snap back with. I can't accept the inconsistency with how JMS wrote him, however. Did JMS and Millar communicate at all during the last couple of months? Why was Cap lecturing about the river of the truth one minute and surrendering to public opinion a couple Marvel-hours later? That ending ruined Civil War for me.
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Postby MadGoblin » Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:06 am

BD wrote:One thing I think we need to take into account for the behavior of the heroes is the need for action to happen in the stories. A conversation between Cap and Hill wouldn't make very interesting reading. However, an escape out of a helicarrier will entertain. I think a very "In character" thing that we forget about these "icons" is their need to rough it up. In the Marvel Universe a fight breaks out every five or ten minutes. The last fight I was in was the 6th grade.

Looking forward to part two and your take on the T-bolts and Norman. I really like Thunderbolts, and I wish it'd come out on time.


Well, considering that the "Lincoln Douglas Debate" graphic novel is just languishing on the shelves, I agree with the need for action, but this simply made no sense. It wouldn't have happened. The President himself would have summoned Captain America in for a discussion. And I do think that Cap would have run for President rather than start this whole mess. It stretched my suspension of disbelief past the breaking point.

Thanos6 wrote: I agree with pretty much everything you say (well, maybe not Sheehan and Chavez; but this isn't really the place to discuss that), and this is from someone who plans to vote for Dennis Kucinich.


God help you. And this from a guy who has voted Libertarian before.

Thanos6 wrote: Ever read Gruenwald's original Squadron Supreme miniseries, the groundbreaking one? Well, I was on Hyperion's side. (Until they used the Behavior-Modification machine. Free will must be sacrosanct)


No, but the more I hear about Mark Gruenwald, the more I wonder just how much Marvel lost when he died.

Thanos6 wrote: Ohh, and off-topic a bit, did you get my e-mail?


Yes - but I just haven't gotten around to answering my e-mail for the last few days. I was on the road again this last week for work.


CrazyChris wrote:I think you've plain got better at writting. Not that you were bad by any means before....


Nice save. But the truth is probably the sheer amount of editing. It's no exaggeration that these last three articles have been among the hardest to write, and have been re-written and re-edited numerous times because of the complexity and volatility of the subject matter.

CrazyChris wrote:You seem to get pretty emotional about Civil War (I think I first saw the foam forming in the cornor of your mouth around the point where you called Maria Hill and overcompensating dyke). That's not a bad thing because raw anger makes articles more fun to read, but I think your comming down on Civil War a little harder than it deserves. I can't wait to see what you have to say about Civil War parts 5-7, which were bad!


You should have seen an earlier draft - it was a scorcher. I toned down the invective quite a bit.


CrazyChris wrote:I think there can be a middle ground between pure 60s suspention of disbelief and the so-called "logical conclusion" of out and out realism. There's no reason why the Marvel Universe should limit itself to one extreme or the other. Marvel injected a small amount of "realism" into the comic universe to create a provocative story, but it still very much operated on Comic Book logic. Kind of like what Brad said, these characters exist to get into fights and they'll act in whatever way that leads to that end.


But when they start acting out of character to get to that end - that's what bugs me - particularly when the end is not determined by where the characters take the story, which is how storytelling is supposed to work - but by where editorial fiat does.

CrazyChris wrote:I can accept that Captain America would go underground instead of working within the system. The system had already failed at that point.


But in many ways - Cap is the living embodiment of the system - and by virtue of who he is he can change it. However, he chose not to - but I think the writers realize that he could have, which is why the totally contrived set up in the helicarrier. Again, if I were the President, and I heard that Maria Hill had acted this way, I'd have shot her myself, and then gone on TV and begged Cap to come back with no recriminations.

CrazyChris wrote:I don't think Tony was written too inconsistently between Amazing and Civil War. He was both fascist and tortured in each series, and the only difference was which aspect was emphasized. Tony showed how conflicted he was in Amazing when he talked about how he hated being a jailor, and he was shown to go to far for the sake of order in Civil War by authorizing the formation of the Thunderbolts and trying to trap everyone in the Negative Zone.

I can accept that Captain America would criticize Spider-Man for unmasking when he encouraged it before because he wasn't thinking clearly. It seemed like he was getting defensive and needed something to snap back with. I can't accept the inconsistency with how JMS wrote him, however. Did JMS and Millar communicate at all during the last couple of months? Why was Cap lecturing about the river of the truth one minute and surrendering to public opinion a couple Marvel-hours later? That ending ruined Civil War for me.


All good points, but I think the next part will address them better than any response on the board would. A couple of more weeks..
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Postby Thanos6 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:27 am

MadGoblin wrote:No, but the more I hear about Mark Gruenwald, the more I wonder just how much Marvel lost when he died.


Its soul. It lost its very soul. If he hadn't been cremated, by now he would have risen from the grave and strangled Quesada, Bendis, and Miller.
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Postby CrazyChris » Sun Dec 16, 2007 3:53 am

But in many ways - Cap is the living embodiment of the system - and by virtue of who he is he can change it. However, he chose not to - but I think the writers realize that he could have, which is why the totally contrived set up in the helicarrier. Again, if I were the President, and I heard that Maria Hill had acted this way, I'd have shot her myself, and then gone on TV and begged Cap to come back with no recriminations.


I've always seen Cap as representing a certain set of values rather than the political system. If the system yields a result that is not in line with those values, then I'd expect him to put his values first. He'd prefer to work within the democratic process, but it's hard to do that with agents shooting darts at you. And the government not begging Cap to come back with no recriminations isn't unrealistic if this is supposed to be Bush 43. Our current president isn't known for begging for help when he thinks he's right. The "with us or against us" mentality is pretty spot on in my opinion.
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Postby SheriffOfCoffeeTown » Sun Dec 16, 2007 4:25 am

I totally agree with your assessment on the "logic" of Civil War. We, as readers, were perfectly willing to accept that the government wouldn't be so involved with the superhero community in the Marvel U. We accepted it for going on fifty years. Of course, Marvel can change the "rules" of their universe whenever they want, but I think the SHRA has created an albatross for future stories. A dead albatross, not the live one that brought good luck.

The SHRA, and its logical consequences, can't just be ignored, now. It's there; the rules of the game have been altered. And now every single Marvel U story set in the US has to acknowledge and deal with it in one way or another. And Spider-Man's marriage is the genie that needs to go back in its bottle?

What's really problematic, as you pointed out, is how introducing this real world logic goes against the very nature of the MU. In the real world, if there were super-powered vigilantes taking the law into their own hands, I would expect the government to do something about it. I don't expect a lot from the government in general, but at the bare minimum, I expect them to protect the citizens of the country. I'd be on board for the SHRA before a school blew up; I'd be on board with it before the first co-ed got tossed off a bridge.

(I do think, however, that mutant registration is a different issue, for the simple fact that mutants don't chose to be so, whereas super heroes and vigilantes clearly do. Of course, the X-Men themselves muddy these waters.)

But that brings up two problems: First, am I the only one who doesn't know what the SHRA actually specifies? Shouldn't there be an actual bill version for use in the Marvel offices? If there is, I can't find one.

Second, a lot of the more despicable actions on the Pro-Reg side don't seem to be logical consequences of asking superheroes to register. Where's the "recruiting homocidal maniac" clause, or the "reveal your secret identity on live TV" amendment, or the ever-popular "build a cyborg clone" rider?

(Honestly, the Negative Zone prison doesn't bother me that much. In fact, it's a perfectly acceptable idea according to classic MU logic. It's the perfect place to hold guys who would laugh at regular prisons.)

I think Marvel tacked most of these ideas on to force the readers to support the Anti-Reg side, because that's clearly supposed to be the "right" side. So, the Pro-Reg side have to be demonized to avoid having readers agree with them.

Frankly, it didn't work. I'm more interested in Iron Man now than I've ever been.

But aside from the debate on how Iron Man and Mr. Fantastic are being portrayed, I think Cap is the one who got a real hatchet job taken to him.

He's telling the American people, who supported this law in large numbers, that they don't know what's good for them, and they shouldn't try to change a status quo they find undesirable. He's arguing for the powerful against the people, as it were.

Gah, this whole thing was a mess on many levels.
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Postby Thanos6 » Sun Dec 16, 2007 1:36 pm

CrazyChris wrote:
But in many ways - Cap is the living embodiment of the system - and by virtue of who he is he can change it. However, he chose not to - but I think the writers realize that he could have, which is why the totally contrived set up in the helicarrier. Again, if I were the President, and I heard that Maria Hill had acted this way, I'd have shot her myself, and then gone on TV and begged Cap to come back with no recriminations.


I've always seen Cap as representing a certain set of values rather than the political system. If the system yields a result that is not in line with those values, then I'd expect him to put his values first. He'd prefer to work within the democratic process, but it's hard to do that with agents shooting darts at you. And the government not begging Cap to come back with no recriminations isn't unrealistic if this is supposed to be Bush 43. Our current president isn't known for begging for help when he thinks he's right. The "with us or against us" mentality is pretty spot on in my opinion.


Yeah, Cap's quit at least two times when the government/people have let him down.
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Postby SheriffOfCoffeeTown » Tue Dec 18, 2007 5:43 am

Something else about the SHRA that's been bugging me. We're all familiar, to one degree or another, with the Mutant Registration Act that occasionally plagues the X-books. I mentioned earlier that logically speaking, the difference between it and the SHRA is that the SHRA specifically targets those who make a choice to engage in super heroic and vigilante behavior. (At least, if I understand it correctly, which is hard to do with no actual SHRA bill in existence for the reader to judge...) "Choice" is the key word there, because the Mutant Registration Act targets people who are born a certain way, and therefore have no choice in possessing their abilities.

So, from a logical perspective, what the SHRA proposes is legally and ethically much more sound than the MRA, which is discriminatory.

Having admitted that, why hasn't the MRA been passed yet in the Marvel U? I'm not saying it would be ethical or just to pass such an act, but how many times have the various X-foes caused death and destruction on a huge level? Didn't Xorn or Magneto or whoever Marvel decided he was take control of New York City a few years back?

I'm sure a much more knowledgable X-fan could provide a more detailed summary of how close to Armageddon a mutant enemy has taken us, but I have the vague idea it's been pretty close. Onslaught, anyone?

If Stanford is "all" that is required to push the SHRA into law (using "all" loosely), why hasn't the MRA been passed after similar circumstances in the X-books? Of course, it's as MadGoblin noted: now there are casualties, now when Banner hulks out, people die. But in this case, it's not just a retcon of what came before, it's an out and out logical contradiction.

Notably, none of this really applies to the X-films, where there have been only two notable mutant attacks on the general public, both orchestrated by the same terrorist.

Also notably, the fact that anyone anywhere still thinks using Sentinel robots, to enforce a MRA or for other purposes, is a good idea defies all logic. The damn things either get broken apart like Tinker Toys by the X-Men, or turn on their masters and try to enslave mankind.

With the recent de-population of the mutants of the world, I doubt that reviving the MRA is on anyone's agenda. Still, when it is inevitably put back on the table, it will be an incredibly tough sell for it not to pass in the post-Civil War MU.
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Postby CrazyChris » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:26 am

The SHRA is NOT a choice. If you have powers, you MUST register. That's why they tried to arrest Luke Cage the day the law was passed even though he was just sitting at home, being civilly disobedient. I'm pretty sure an individual may choose whether or not they actually serve as a SHIELD-sponsored super hero, but everyone with powers has to at least put their name in the government's database. So the SHRA contains every provision that the MRA would and then some, and it applies to a greater number of people.
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Postby SheriffOfCoffeeTown » Tue Dec 18, 2007 6:54 am

CrazyChris wrote:The SHRA is NOT a choice. If you have powers, you MUST register.


And how is it known that the individuals have powers? Because they've publicly used them in super heroics. Luke Cage can't say that he's not a super hero.
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Postby CrazyChris » Tue Dec 18, 2007 7:10 am

Yes, but Luke Cage at that point had only engaged in Super Heroics before the SHRA made that illegal, so arresting him on day one for choices he made before the law was past is unconstitutional; it's an ex post facto law.

But that's moot anyway because anyone who has powers has to register whether or not they have ever used their powers to fight crime. Remember, the H in SHRA officially stands for "Human", not "Hero". If you are a super human, you must register.
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Postby MsMarvel1 » Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:12 pm

The books were pretty inconsistent about the whole mandatory vs. not mandatory, though. Like, in "New Avengers", Carol and Tony tell Jessica Jones she has to register even though she's retired, but in one of the early Frontline issues, Firestar is just able to up and quit.

And as to the new bit in the article: Hah! I actually tried to read all the Civil War issues until I had to move and couldn't buy them anymore. (And since then I've moved AGAIN -- sigh.) That little excursion reminded me why I hate X-men crossovers ... and Niceza's Thunderbolts. (Sorry, Thanos.)
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Postby Venom65437 » Tue Dec 18, 2007 4:12 pm

MG... now that you teased it. Lets see the uncensored director's cut!!! :D
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