THE LAW IS A ASS #321: THOR AND ROXXON BREAK THE ICE
I suppose Marvel decided to call its evil super-corporation Roxxon, because the name sounded like real-life super-corporation Exxon, but not so close that it would get them sued, and because, back in 1974, the Comics Code wouldn’t have let Marvel call it Roxxoff. And now, having gone for the cheap laugh, let’s move on to a discussion of Roxxon and Thor: God of Thunder# 19.
Roxxon’s history is as checkered as a table cloth in an Italian restaurant. And twice as dirty. It’s reputed that back in the day, when it was called Republic Oil, Roxxon had Tony Stark’s parents killed. Its scientific R & D subsidiary, The Brand Corporation, routinely creates super villains to fight for Roxxon’s interests through such socially uplifting tactics as industrial sabotage. It covered up the disaster when a technology it was developing to beam solar power by microwave transmission went out of control and killed all 200 people in Allantown, Iowa. It tried to find alternative energy sources by kidnaping and studying super heroes. It hired the super villain Flag-Smasher to engage in a murder plot at the United Nations. And that’s just what I learned from Wikipedia. Imagine what I could have found out if I’d had the time to read all of Roxxon’s prior appearances in the comic books.
Anyway, Roxxon was clearly not the poster child for the Good Neighbor Policy. Then it was purchased by the Kronas Corporation.
Kronas was a front organization for the Red Skull, when he was inhabiting the body of former KBG general Aleksander Lukin. Its goal was destroying the democratic capitalist system in general and the United States in particular. And it had ties to terrorist organizations that were being investigated by the United States government. I can’t imagine that era in Roxxon’s history did much for its public perception.
But now, as we learned in Thor: God of Thunder # 19, Roxxon was the “all-new” Roxxon Energy Corporation. It was, once again, its own master and not under the control of the Kronas Corporation. According to its new CEO, Dario Agger, Roxxon was trying to establish itself as a new and benevolent super-corporation. After all, “Roxxon is the world’s wealthiest and most powerful super-corporation. If we don’t know what’s best for the people of this planet, then … who does?” I haven’t heard such uplifting words of public conscience since General Bullmoose.
Roxxon’s first step in its program to prove its benevolence to the world was to supply the planet with much needed drinking water by mining icebergs on Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter, and exporting them back to Earth. Water mined on a moon of Jupiter and shipped back to Earth for human consumption? Assuming the government didn’t immediately quarantine the aqua Eurpoa until it could verify that it didn’t contain lethal alien toxins – assuming Roxxon could actually sell it to the world – well what was that going to cost? That stuff would make Kona Nigari Water look like plain old Evian by comparison.
Now we long-time Marvel readers have learned not to trust Roxxon or its previous CEOs. So it’s understandable that we’re skeptical of Mr. Agger and whatever his agenda for Roxxon truly is. Especially when you consider Agger’s nickname in business school was “The Minotaur” and the cover to the comic shows an actual Minotaur on it. I took English, I studied foreshadowing and that can’t be good.
Moreover, we’re not alone in not trusting Mr. Agger. Neither does Rosalind Solomon, an environmental field agent for S.H.I.E.L.D. Difference being, while we suspect Agger and Roxxon are up to no good – mostly because we haven’t had a chance to read Thor: God of Thunder# 20 yet – Ms. Solomon is quite vocal about her suspicions. “If Roxxon gets caught breaking the law, they simply pay to have the laws changed.”
You know, Roz, Roxxon may be good at being bad, but it’s not that good.
There are many things Roxxon could do with its lots of money to avoid being convicted of the crimes it commits. It could bribe juries to find them not guilty. It could bribe prosecutors or members of the Justice Department not to bring charges. It could bribe judges to rule key evidence was not admissible. It could even become such a super-duper super-corporation that the Justice Department would deem it “Too big to jail.” The one thing it couldn’t do, and hope for any degree of success, would be to bribe lawmakers to change the laws, after they’ve already broken them. Because it doesn’t matter what happens to the laws after you break them.
If you do something that, at the time you did it, was illegal, you broke the law. It doesn’t matter that the law gets changed after you broke it. If it was against the law, you can be prosecuted. If the law got changed after you broke it and what you did is no longer a crime now, you still broke the law. And you can still be prosecuted.
People in Colorado who were convicted of possessing marijuana in October of 2012, didn’t suddenly become non-criminals in November of 2012, when the state voted to decriminalize possession of marijuana. Oh sure, Colorado’s governor might pardon the people who were convicted before the law changed. After all, if Colorado doesn’t deem that behavior to be criminal any longer, pardoning prior offenders would be both a good-will gesture and a way of easing prison overcrowding. But absent something like that, the people convicted before November, 2012 would still be convicted criminals.
In the same way, if Roxxon gets caught breaking some law and pays to have said law changed after it got caught breaking that law, it still broke that law. It can still be prosecuted.
In stating that Roxxon gets away with things, because it pays to have the laws changed after it gets caught breaking those laws, Agent Solomon was showing the same sort of legal acumen demonstrated by the biblical king with whom she shares a name. You know, the guy whose greatest legal triumph was ruling that a baby claimed by two different women should be cut in two because, he assumed, only the false claimant would consent and say, “Yes, I’ll take half a dead baby, please.”
I have to wonder where Agent Solomon was coming from, and what she’d seen before showing up in Broxton, to bring her to say such a thing, though.
SHIELD’s an international operation, after all…
James, as a lifelong San Diego rdseient and attendee of Comic-Con for 10 years, I feel that I must point out that what you’re suggesting would kill the con. Yes, it’s become extremely crowded and perhaps too Hollywood-centric, but Comic-Con was never JUST about comics. It has always included science fiction and fantasy works from any medium. It would be impossible to draw the line at this point and say this can be at Comic-Con, and that can’t. Furthermore, selling tickets for individual panels would also be a bad idea and a huge problem for poor bastards like me (unless they completely eliminated the registration cost, but that will never happen if anything, it’s going to continue increasing). I would not pay money to go to each panel, even if I was guaranteed a seat. Yes, there are problems with the con that get worse every year, and no, I don’t know how to solve them, but what you’re suggesting would be completely unprecedented. I don’t think that Comic-Con needs to be essentially destroyed and remade.