Sorry I’ve been absent the past couple of weeks. Blame it on the taxing business of prepping for the taxing business. Now I’m back. Not back with a vengeance – I’m not the Punisher – back with a comic book to write about: Captain America: Sam Wilson #6 .
I’ve been writing about the adventures of Samtain America, the portmanteau of Sam Wilson and Captain America I created, quite a bit. There’s a good reason for that, Serpent Solutions. As it’s been a couple of weeks since I wrote my last column, let me recap. (Oh, and DC take note. This is what a recap looks like.)
Serpent Solutions is a “legitimate” business made up of the villainous snake-motifed artists formerly known as the Serpent Society. It hired itself out to major corporations to do the dirty work said corporations couldn’t do. Although said operations were well within the corporations’ budgets, they were, well, outside the law. So the corporations hired Serpent Solutions. Serpent Solutions did the dirty work, then sold the results of their illegal operations back to the corporations which needed those illegal things to be done.
Serpent Solutions’ shareholder reports were a little vague on the services it provided for its clients. Fortunately, Captain America: Sam Wilson was more forthcoming. Serpent Solutions developed new patents for major pharmaceutical companies by kidnaping undocumented Mexican immigrants and having Dr. Karlin Malus use those kidnap victims in illegal genetic cross-breeding experiments. Dr. Malus developed new, hybrid species that Serpent Solutions patented those species and sold the patents to big pharma for obscene profits. Big pharma, in turn, planned to turn the new patents into obscener profits.
As sinister schemes go, this one was straight out of The Island of Doctor Moreau. Unfortunately, it was the Marlon Brando version, because this scheme, like that Brando movie, was monumentally stupid. Before I explain why, let me digress into some more of that endangered species, the recap.
One Dr. Malus’s subjects was Joaquin Torres. Dr. Malus cross-bred Torres with Samtain America’s pet falcon, Redwing turning Torres into a winged avenger. (“Eee-urp!”) Torres escaped and scientists of the non-mad variety tried to undo the hybridizing. Unfortunately, back in All-New Captain America# 5, the Nazi vampire Baron Blood bit Redwing so Redwing had a vampiric healing factor, which got gene-spliced into Joaquin. Joaquin’s body healed all attempt to reverse the hybridizing, so his wings are permanent. (If it sounds like I’m making that up as I go along; I’m not. Cap’s writers are.)
The fact that Joaquin escaped and teamed up with Samtain America made Viper, head of Serpent Solutions, none too happy. It also made him quite loquacious. (Okay, the fact that Viper was a former Madison Avenue advertising agency executive turned super villain made him loquacious. Verbosity was in his both his job descriptions.)
In the big fight scene, Viper soliloquized more than if he’d been cross-bred with Hamlet, Macbeth, and Richard III. Viper monologued that Joaquin’s wings were Serpent Solutions’s property. The wings were the “result of [Serpent Solution’s] innovations and patents,” made for them under “a very strict work-for-hire” agreement. Which just proves super villains should be fight scened and not heard. Because nothing Viper said was even remotely correct.
See, kidnapping is illegal; even if the people being kidnapped are coming into the country illegally. Detaining them for the Border Patrol is fine. Kidnapping’s illegal.
Performing unauthorized gene splicing experiments on the people to turn them into people/animal hybrids is also illegal. As Dr. Malus’s medical manipulations happened in New York City, I’m going to go with NY Penal Law § 120.10, Assault in the First Degree. We have kidnapping and assault. There were probably more crimes, but these two are enough for our purposes. (Well, for my purposes, anyway, I’m too damned lazy to look up all the possible other crimes that may have been committed.)
Old court cases such as Riggs v. Palmer, have held that criminals can’t profit from their crimes. New cases do, too. For example, courts prevented convicted wife murderer Scott Peterson from receiving the proceeds of his wife’s life insurance policy. In addition, many states have some sort of Son of Sam law, which say that profits criminals earn from their criminal activities should be paid to the victims instead of the criminals. Under such laws, Joaquin, as the victim, could be entitled to the profits of Serpent Solutions’s crimes, his wings.
In addition, contract law says that a contract for an illegal purpose – such as kidnapping and criminal gene splicing – is not enforceable. So even if Dr. Malus was working under a strict work-for-hire contract, that contract wouldn’t be enforceable. Thus, the fruits of his experimentation would actually be his property, not Serpent Solutions’s. And as he conducted his experiments by way of kidnapping and assault, he wouldn’t be entitled to the profits of his experiments, either. (You were paying attention last paragraph, weren’t you?)
Ditto the big pharmas that hired Serpent Solutions. As aiders and abettors to the crimes, their claims to the patents are just as patently ridiculous, because their methods were patently illegal.
Any way you splice it, those wings belong to Joaquin. Which is a good thing because in Captain America: Sam Wilson #6, Joaquin became the New Falcon to Sam’s Cap. And a falcon without wings is just as bad as a criminal with profits.