Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.

2006-07-13

Civil War: Whose side are you on?

I'm way behind on my comics reading (I still haven't cracked DC's Infinite Crisis miniseries) but I have been following another "groundbreaking", "nothing will ever be the same!" event: Marvel's Civil War.

The basic set-up for Civil War is that two groups of super-powered individuals got into your typical battle in Stamford, CT. However, this fight became anything but typical when a school was blown up, killing more than 600 civilians, many of them children. Overnight, attitudes towards superheroes change. Anyone who wears a mask isn't trusted; how can you take responsibility for your actions, good or bad, if you don't reveal who you are? Congress takes action, and passes a Superhero Registration Act. All superheroes must reveal their true identities, register with the government, and go through ethics training. If a superhero refuses, they are considered a criminal--and anyone who helps a superhero conceal their identity is an acessory.

By the end of issue 2, we've seen the superheroes of the Marvel Universe split into two camps: those for registration, led by Tony Stark, aka Iron Man, and those opposed to registration, with Captain America leading the way. Probably the most talked-about development so far is Spider-Man's unmasking. While most fans are fairly skeptical about whether this plot twist will have any impact for the future of Spider-Man, the bigger issue still remains.

When a conflict exists betweens personal liberties and national security, where do you draw the line?

Civil War is a great example of how comics can comment more on current issues and events than the most high-minded and respected publications. I'm very eager to see how the writers of Civil War reach a conclusion--if any--to the debate that's confronted the United States.

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