This week we battle it out to see whose favorite super heroine is the best. Maddy brings her favorite DC Superhero Black Canary to the fight against Anya’s favorite Marvel Superhero Scarlet Witch.
Tagged: Scarlet Witch
In the not too distant future we’ll be privy to both Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Overly Long Titles and Captain America: Civility and Zombies. Seemingly, both will deal with complimentary issues pertaining to the culpability of collateral damage surrounding the super-inhabited world. In lesser terms, it’s pretty clear when you level a city (or level half of one, and almost use another as a projectile) someone has to pay. And no, I don’t mean asking Tony or Bruce-Bruce for a spare billion to cover the insurance.
At the core of both movies – and yes, I’m speculating – we’re dealing with the balance of proactive protection versus reactive process improvement. Regulating and regularly checking the populace for gifts is certainly one way to do it. It’s no different, one might postulate, than registering a weapon they own. Iron Man’s stance, as is Mr. Wayne’s, is cemented in fear of the unknown. How are we to protect the ones we love when the man down the street could be a psychopath with a gun or just Mr. Psycho? Forcing the population to divulge their hidden talents by way of polite force might be one way to hedge your bets. Because you don’t know when someone might grow up to be Speedball.
That being said, does creating such a registry or law become a civil liberty issue? In the comics, it’s the basis for Cap’s catharsis. Cry freedom, Mr. Rogers. And to Superman’s point: holding him in check when there’s literally nothing on Earth that can do that is just a waste of resources. The best you can do is trust that Big Blue will keep us safe. Being proactive effectively allows for the proliferation of some unforeseeable doomsday device built to destroy a hero gone wild. And if you build it? Well, it’s inviting someone to fire it – whether Kal-El is cuckoo or not. Better, I suppose, if you make plans to build it after the first building accidentally collapses due to super-fighting? I guess I’m unsure.
The topic is very real when we live in a nation that needs an executive order to help suppress out-of-control gun violence. Could you imagine the field day Fox News would have if New York was actually attacked by invading aliens? I can here the subsequent call of candidate Donald Trump to first “build a wall between dimensions… and make the Chitauri pay for it.” and then “…ban all super powered people from being in our country until we figure it all out”. If not Trump, perhaps a war mongering Chris “The Blob” Christy, Ted “Bomb Them Till They Glow Like Dr. Light” Cruz, or Dr. Ben “Sleepwalker” Carson would chime in with a retort that the destruction of Metropolis occurred not because newly freed political prisoners from the Phantom Zone were exacting revenge for their lost world… but because President Obama didn’t allow the NSA access to General Zod’s Facebook. But I digress.
The truth of the matter is that there’s no right answer. Batman and Iron Man have every right to want to be as informed as possible about the dangers of the world. They are tinkerers and toy-makers of the highest degree. A problem is built to be dismantled, and put back together better; be it your shrapnel-filled heart, or the world at large. So too though is Captain America and Superman’s right to say that our country was built on the ideology of freedom. That a man is innocent until proven guilty. For as much damage that befell Sokovia or Metropolis, there is no blame to be had towards those who tried to protect it. Ultron and Zod pulled the triggers. The heroes merely jumped in the line of fire. They couldn’t help the falling debris. The needs of the many outweighed the needs of the few. Wait, that was Star Trek!
So, whose side will you be on? For me, I’ll be on the side of being entertained. Because my bleeding liberal heart in the real world still longs for the day Scarlet Witch whispers “No more guns.”
MINDING OTHER PEOPLE’S BUSINESS
Now if you or I had said what Detective Erickson said of a previously non-violent person who suddenly snapped and committed a vicious assault in Scarlet Witch #1; “He claims to have no recollection of his actions, which is the first step to an insanity plea;” we would have been correct. But unlike Detective Erickson, you or I don’t live in the Marvel Universe. Or the DC Universe, we don’t even live in the slightly more mundane Dark Circle Universe. We live in the completely mundane Life As We Know It Universe.
The Life As We Know It Universe is a universe where there aren’t mutants, aliens, freaks, supernatural beings, master hypnotists, and Stan knows what else out there that are all capable of mind control. We don’t live in a world where any one of those beings could take over our minds or bodies and force us to things we wouldn’t ordinarily do. (At least, I don’t think there are but I did watch Here Comes Honey Boo Boo once.)
Seriously, if you do a search on the term mind control in the Marvel Comics Wiki, you’ll find eight pages each with sixteen entries and then ninth page with another thirteen entries of characters who exhibit the ability to control minds. And those entries didn’t even include Maynard Tiboldt, who just uses good old-fashioned hypnosis to force others to do his bidding. Or demonic possession https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demonic_possession, walk ins such as Deadman, or other plot devices.
The point being, in the Marvel Universe, where mind control is as prevalent as halitosis in a garlic festival, how does a simple prosecutor ever get a conviction? Even when a perp was caught red-handed, said perp could claim that he or she didn’t want to do it, someone like Kilgrave or Puppet Master took over his or her mind and forced him or her to commit the crime. Would even one hundred eyewitnesses all of whom saw the defendant commit the crime and positively identified the defendant in court be enough to get past the reasonable doubt raised by a literal “The Devil Made Me Do It” defense?
The problem wouldn’t be any better in the DC Universe. The same mind control search in the DC Comics Wiki yields eleven pages of sixteen entries, plus a twelfth page with one entry of mind controllers. If anything, the problem would be even worse there.
And it’s not just mind control. What about shape shifters? Again, you could have one hundred eyewitnesses all say, “We saw D. Fendant kill Mr. Boddy in the Library with the wrench,” and Mr. Fendant could argue it wasn’t him the eyewitnesses saw, it was Mystique or Clayface or a Skrull or a Durlan who changed their appearance to look like Mr. Fendant for their own nefarious reasons. Or going back one step, maybe one of those 198 mind controllers, one hypnotist, assorted demonic possessors, other assorted walkers in, or abundant plot devices we were talking about earlier used their powers to make the eye witnesses think they saw Mr. Fendant, when he had nothing to do with the crime.
Either way, it could shove so much reasonable doubt into the case that it would turn what was once a slam dunk into a hard-to-swallow turducken.
What’s a prosecutor to do?
I don’t know.
Maybe the prosecutor could convince a jury that none of those very possible possibilities had happened. After all, juries in our Life As We Know It Universe are extremely reluctant to accept the insanity defense. The Not Guilty By Reason of Insanity plea is only used in about one percent of all felony trials and fact finders return a verdict of N.G.R.I. in only one-quarter of the cases where the defense is even raised. Maybe juries in the Marvel or DC Universes would be equally reluctant to find a defendant not guilty by reason of mind control, shape shifting, possession, walk in, or other plot device.
Maybe. Or maybe not.
Again, I don’t know.
I do know this: the prevalence of mind controllers and shape shifters in our comic-book universes would make life for the Harvey Dents and Blake Towers of those worlds interesting. But interesting in the “May you live in interesting times” is a curse kind of way.
Oh, I also know something else: I haven’t finished wrapping my Christmas presents yet. Hell, I haven’t finished my Christmas shopping yet. So, while I can to raise the questions and point out the problems, I don’t have enough time to analyze them more fully.
In fact, all I do have time for is to say, “Merry Christmas, everyone.”
So today (Sunday, which is yesterday), Editor Mike sent me a link to a column on The Jewish Daily Forward’s website which asks the question “Do Marvel Movies Have An Anti-Semitic Problem?” – which also happens to be the dumbest article I’ve ever read on their site.
Granted, The Forward – which was born way back in 1867 as a Yiddish language daily newspaper published by dissidents from the Socialist Labor Party – is a left-leaning paper whose heart and soul is the Jewish-American experience, with strong ties to Israel, and its articles are purposely written with that audience as its primary target. And granted, The Forward has not been the only news media outlet that has noted and remarked upon the recent rebirth of overt and increasingly violent anti-Semitism around the globe, especially in Europe. And yes, The Forward should be praised in its unadulterated and unabridged journalism that consistently calls out the perpetrators.
But sometimes the paper looks for boogey-men where no such creatures exist. And in this article, author Susan Mohall is not only trying to lasso the moon but gets critical facts wrong – such as stating that Stan Lee was born in Romania.
Excuse me, Ms. Mohall, but Mr. Lee (born Stanley Martin Lieber) was born on December 28, 1922 in New York City, specifically an apartment house at the corner of West 98th Street and West End Avenue. Our pal Danny Fingeroth, former Marvel Comics editor and writer and author of Disguised as Clark Kent: Jews, Comics, and the Creation of the Superhero and – by the way – co-author of The Stan Lee Universe, confirmed this to Editor Mike.
Susan Mohall apparently takes umbrage at the fact that the Jewish characters of the Marvel movies don’t go around with yellow Stars of David on their clothing identifying them as Jews:
“In the comics, Kitty’s Jewish heritage is extremely important to her. In the movies, her Jewish identity isn’t even mentioned. In “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” which introduces us to Pietro and Wanda – a.k.a. Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch – the omission is even more blatant. The film portrays Wanda as a baby (despite the fact that the two are twins in the comics) and her name is never even mentioned. Quicksilver’s Jewish identity is at least alluded to.
“After rescuing Magneto, Quicksilver implies that Magneto might be his father, but if you don’t already know that, then this moment goes by so quickly that it hardly matters as a relevant part of Quicksilver’s character. Quicksilver’s name was also Westernized from Pietro to Peter in an attempt to erase not only Pietro’s Jewish identity but his Romani identity as well.”
Oh, God, I’m so frustrated and annoyed that I wish that I could write this in all caps!!!! Instead I will use numerous exclamation points to assert my impatience with this idiot!!!!! Susan, my dear woman, the X-Men are mutants!!!! For over 50 years mutants have been Marvel’s superhero stand-ins for every single person who has ever been ostracized from society!!!! Ostracized and abused and tortured and killed for their religion, the color of their skin, their political beliefs, their birthplace!!!!
Ms. Mohall also accuses The Powers That Be behind the Marvel cinematic universe of focusing on Magneto as a Jewish villain:
“The only character in the X-Men franchise whose Jewish identity is ever specifically mentioned and explored is Magneto. In the first X-Men movie we see Magneto being taken away to a concentration camp, and in X-Men: First Class we see Magneto hunting down and killing Nazis. Magneto also uses his own experiences with prejudice as a Jewish man to justify his violent motives. But while Magneto is a well-written and complex character, he is still a villain who murders people and uses his background to justify it. Having another Jewish character to challenge Magneto would have been excellent storytelling. Instead what we get is the erasing of all other characters’ Jewish identities and the only character who is identified as Jewish is our murderous villain.”
Okay here come some more exclamation marks!!!!! My dear Susan, you are beyond words in your ridiculousness!!!! Didn’t you at the least read Exodus?!!!! I’m sorry to have to enlighten you, my dear, but Jews are quite capable of murdering and other quite immoral acts!!!! Please tell me that you have heard of the Irgun!!!! The “paramilitary” organization that splintered away from the Haganah during the Palestinian Mandate (1931 – 1948) and conducted terrorist activities like blowing up the King David Hotel in Jerusalem on July 22, 1946 because it was a base for the British occupation!!!!
You do know that Menachim Begin, signer of the Egyptian-Israeli peace treaty with Anwar Sadat, was a member of the Irgun!!!!! Susan, sweetheart, I guess you never heard of Operation: Wrath of God, in which the Israeli government authorized the Mossad to terminate the perpetrators of the Munich Olympics massacre of Israeli athletes!!!! Steven Spielberg made a movie based on it!!! It’s called Munich!!! I suggest you watch it!!!!
Okay, take a breath, Mindy. Count to 10.
The author also accuses Marvel Studios of “white-washing” HYDRA from its Nazi roots.
“Why is HYDRA’s identity as a Neo-Nazi organization completely sanitized in the movies?…HYDRA originates during World War II as part of the Nazis military. However, Red Skull, the leader of the organization, wants to run things and turns HYDRA into his own terrorist group. But he is never not a Nazi, and HYDRA never abandons Nazi beliefs. From the movies, you would glean that HYDRA just wants totalitarian power. The Nazi part is glossed over. It’s as if the producers are worried about the potential fallout of comparing HYDRA to the Third Reich, which is just so strange, especially since Nazis are the perfect villain. Everyone hates them”
Oh, Susan. I guess you never saw Captain America: The Winter Soldier and you never have watched Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. HYDRA evolved, my dear. It’s gotten smarter, its adapted, it’s gotten smoother – just as our own rat-fuckers learned from Watergate – but it is certainly is still fascist, and it’s certainly not “shy[ing] away from its Nazi roots.”
And, Ms. Susan Mohall, I would certainly be surprised if you have read The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, the 2001 Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Michael Chabon, which tells the (fictionalized) story of the birth of Marvel and the U.S. comics industry, which was 99.9% midwived into life by the sons (and some daughters) of Jewish immigrants.
Including Mr. Stanley Martin Lieber.
And by the way, you forgot to mention Jack Kirby.
Born Jacob Kurtzberg.
Of course, we saw Avengers: Age of Ultron on opening weekend and of course you did too — or else why do you watch a comic geek vlog? But in case you didn’t get to it yet, do that soon and be careful watching our video, because you know….SPOILERS!
What we’ve done this week instead of a classic review is to answer some questions our friends asked us after the movie. If you haven’t been reading the comics and or watched all the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s offerings, you might have had these same questions as well. And if you already know everything there is to know about Marvel, maybe you can kindly (very nicely & respectfully because we are only kids & we can’t be expected to pass the 7th grade AND read & see everything in a time span that started before our parents were even born) expand on our points. We also talk about Avengers: Infinity Wars and our favorite MCU ships (#CaptainCarter #ScarletVision) and the one that sank during Ultron (you gotta watch to find out).
Last week when Marvel announced the all-female team of Avengers, you better believe we were stoked! We studied the A-Force artwork to figure out who everyone was and got right to researching the superheroes we didn’t know. Now, we’re even more excited and can’t wait read Secret Wars in May. In this week’s video we’ll tell you why A-Force is rad, which mutant powers we’d use to make lunch, and our thoughts on the girls not included (namely Maddy’s #2 favorite superhero, The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl). A-Force Assemble, indeed!