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Discussion in 'The Marvel Animation Forum' started by RoyalRubble, Nov 20, 2016.
Real talk, I would want superheroes registered if they were real.
Might as well join the discussion, I'm open to voluntary registration but sure as heck not full time registration, especially after having read the original Civil War comic and the stories afterwards.
Quoting "Real World" is a straw-man argument - in the real world, we also can't have superheroes. Even if the Hulk existed, most of his effects couldn't happen - the lifting and throwing of cars, for example. Whatever he would grab would crumple and break, as the material doesn't have the structural integrity.
In the real world, the governments would likely execute heroes and villains alike (if they could exist, which they can't), out of fear.
In the real world, the Fantastic Four - assuming the government didn't shoot it out of the sky for performing an illegal space launch - would have returned to Earth as radioactive corpses.
So much for the real World as an argument for superhero fiction.
That said, when we talk about actions, plot points, plot holes, etc., within a superhero continuity wherein we suspend disbelief, there are two things to look at:
* Reasonableness - When B follows A, is B a reasonable reaction - or at least reasonable within the context of the Fourth Wall, and
* Continuity - If the Avengers (just to pick on them for an example) are able to fly quinjets (or whatever) around the United States, one has to assume that the government has either (a) made a policy exception for heroes, or (b) issued them cease and desist orders. So when a government agency contacts the Avengers and says "You need to co-operate with us or we will ground your quinjets, and hold Stark International liable for one million dollars per violation", its a reasonable plot point. When the government has let heroes operate because of the practical side-effect of the world being repeatedly saved, it is then unreasonable (see "Reasonableness") for the government to tie their hands to the point where they cannot save the world.
Ultimately (pun not intended), we have to ask the question - Does this serve the narrative? If the narrative is based on bad plot points which take five minutes by a bunch of laymen fanboys to pick apart into irrelevancy, then it doesn't serve the narrative.
Unless you don't care about the quality of the writing, because you are pandering to the 5-15 year old market and assume a certain amount of unsophisticated taste, or you get paid the same whether you turn in good writing or bad writing, or you decide to save the good writing for your non-work-for-hire work. That is the difference between a hack writer, and a good writer. Most professional writers are capable of good writing. Few have the integrity to consistently turn in their best work.
"Real World" logic aside, you make some pretty valid arguments. Now back to my input.
Colateral damage in both destruction of property and civilian casualties are a major concern, so there should be accountability for it; but what we must remember though is that the upbringing of superheroes does not mean an escalation in damage, after all if not for heroes like the Avengers, The X-Men, The Justice League or whatever, the bad guys would pretty much succeed in invading cities or planets, or manipulating societies under their own fascistic foundations. Superheroes don't try to cause problems, they try to counter them, they are a response to opposing threats to society.
Yes there are risks and dilemmas, and again they should be accounted for, but that does not put characters like Superman or Captain America in the wrong, these are characters who use their powers and abilities to try and help people and fight crime; granted they may not always succeed but at least they can hold their own accountability for their actions, even at costs of self sacrifice that others wouldn't even think of doing.
At leas from a meta perspective, Superheroes, from either Marvel or DC, in their respective prime or mainstream continuities exist for a reason, because they want to help people and make the world a much better place; and they serve as moral and political counters to characters who are misguided, criminal insane, or generally sadistic, and are practically as powerful in their own rights, hence being outside the control of normal law enforcement, otherwise there wouldn't be a need for superheroes in the first place.
Stories like the original Civil War, take the concept of moral ambiguity and political conflict, and go the wrong way with it; instead of taking characters and shedding new moral light on their viewpoints, be they heroes, or government agents, they just make them look just as bad as the villains.
I think we're putting way more creative thought into this issue then the show writers are, or even the comic did .
But good discussion nonetheless .
Real world arguments aside, even in the worlds of superhero stories, there's still arguably nothing legal about what superheroes do. As Batman pointed out in Dark Knight Returns, "we've always been criminals," and Batman is right. Generally superheroes act on an extralegal level where the government basically turns a blind eye to their activities or ignores the dangers of their existence because it serves the greater good. But what they are doing is still by its definition illegal.
People might like Spider-Man, but Spider-Man is still a vigilante. Vigilantism is illegal.
I care about the quality of writing, but there's really nothing legal about superheroes and what they are allowed to do, whether they save the world or not. Not to mention constantly violating the rights of criminals on a regular basis. Even if they are criminals, they still have human rights, which the heroes consistently violate.
I doubt the cartoons care about examining the legality of what Superheroes do and the consequences of giving them such independence or taking it away from them, especially with how much of a strawman Marsh (who's ostensibly meant to be on the side of holding Superheroes accountable or having them work more closely with the government) is.
If it ends up playing into the Civil War arc, the writers probably just needed some kind of excuse or reason to pit the heroes against one another and went with the basic impetus of the comic Civil War without any nuance, build-up, or real justification.
And even the level of autonomy Superheroes have can be inconsistent or negligible depending on how you look at it. I mean, Batman can call himself a criminal, but he also works with the police on a regular basis and usually works within any parameters Gordon sets, otherwise they wouldn't have any kind of
The Avengers, in the comics, have usually had a government liaison so that they don't have to rush into things without government approval or no legal backing.
Obviously Superheroes work, to some degree, outside the law, but they also work to uphold it through what they do and generally only work outside of it to the extent they do because they're more effective that way.
I'm well are of this. My point is this. It's part of the suspension of disbelief of these stories. But it's still a logical fallacy that exists.
Marsh isn't really a strawman. People act like the Avengers have never had to deal with authority figures and government officials before, which they have. And their characterizations aren't that far off from people like Marsh.
This is another logical fallacy of superhero comics and stories. That their autonomy is inconsistent and negligible. Then other times writers want to basically acknowledge that what they are doing is morally or legally questionable.
Yes. Usually, but not always. Even if they work to uphold it, they are still not sworn civil servants or sanctioned officials under any government.
Well, I can see where you're coming from. Of course the Avengers had to deal with relations with the Government, and sometimes it never went peacefully; but at least there are examples that shed light into those kinds of debates and that the government is not trying to be mean for the sake of being mean.
The proper mindset to these sort of conflicts between two equally valid factions should be, "both sides are right and both sides are wrong." however with Truman, AA went with the extreme of, "He's wrong, he's obviously wrong, he's a jerk and an idiot and you should definitely hate him."
I don't know, they seem to be trying to make Marsh into a Henry Gyrich stand-in but I think even Gyrich was more reasonable or less one-note then Marsh is .
And The Avengers have had a fair few liaisons over the years, some more tumultuous then others, but generally they don't make having a government liaison seem like a bad idea like Marsh does (or Ross in the movies). Even their working relationship with Fury is better by comparison .
That we know about. Far as we know, there might just be some law in the universes that sanction the vigilantism of Superheroes to some degree, and I think in certain contexts/continuities they've acted as fully-sanctioned government agents or officers of the law.
Of course there are, but they are specifically spelled out. In One-Punch Man, the superheroes have to register with a governing body. And they are all ranked by grade.
Unclear as to what "Of course they are..." refers to, but I would like to note that lack of explicit call-out in no way is proof of non-existence, any more than (for example) your lack of knowledge of my RL publishing credits in no way erases their existence (not that I expect you - or anyone else - to have that knowledge, just an example).
This is especially true in serial fiction, where writers regularly mine such gaps for their own storylines.
I'm not sure why that's the way it *SHOULD* be in terms of narrative. Maybe you want it to be, but that's not necessarily the way it should or has to be.
None of this is really disproval of the lack of legality of superheroes or vigilantes in the Marvel Universe. My intent is not to prove non-existence. But there is a fallacy in questioning the legality of a narrative plot point such as the Super Powers Registration Act and then not also questioning the legality of the authority and autonomy superheroes have.