Civil War Marvels Snapshots #1
Getting inside the ethical struggle of a fascist does less to humanize the rare ones who do right but instead demonizes the support structure that lets so many do wrong.
This ground level issue takes a look back at the dust-up over the Superhuman Registration Act that pitted Captain America against Iron Man over the idea that superpowered people must be regulated. Like every Marvel incarnation of legislation to control the extrahuman, things come down to militarized law enforcement putting forth neo-fascist tactics against the most vulnerable corner cases.
Writer Saladin Ahmed offers up a story about Clyde Dobronski, a middling agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. who feels a need to level the playing field. From his undistinguished youth, he felt uneasy about gods and monsters making capricious decisions, and most people having to deal with the aftermath. When Speedball and the New Warriors had their explosive clash with supervillain Nitro on national TV, Dobronski was radicalized to step up his calling and rein in the excesses of power. Only facing down Captain America after the famous J. Michael Straczynski adaptation of Mark Twain's "Letter From Earth" shook Dobronski's zeal.
On the other side of the coin is Yusuf Abbas, a Muslim teen from Toledo with "minor elemental powers" who was inspired by, of course, Captain America. When the Nitro incident occurred, Abbas faced the long shadow of a nation's anger, going along to get along and captured by Dobronski. Each ends up confronting the other's perspective as an even younger child faces incarceration.
The artwork from Ryan Kelly, Rachelle Rosenberg, and Vic Sabino does a lot with this flashback heavy difference of opinion, carrying the weight of rebellion-inducing Cap appearances and crowded family scenes. Rosenberg's coloring could be said to be dour, but the subject matter matches the tone. Therein remains the true story that doesn't get unpacked. Angry, frustrated people acting out against perceived threats from a minority don't just disappear when a symbolic victory is achieved, be it in courts, at the Electoral College, or at the end of a crossover. That anger still wells up in strangers behind you at the store, watching people cross in traffic, and while Doblonski wrestled with the dissonance between his values and his frustration, it's a much less complex discussion.
The story lurking underneath this issue is bigger and more vexing than the inconclusive tale told on the pages, and it might be interesting to see where Abbas and Doblonski ended up, knowing that Maria Hill, Captain America, and others who fought against each other never faced any lasting consequences. No, this issue didn't enlighten or entertain; it just deferred. RATING: MEH.
By Saladin Ahmed, Ryan KellyIn the heart of the Civil War event, a human story unfolds. A S.H.I.E.L.D. agent, doing his best to do the job with honor – but is that possible anymore? A young, low-level super hero, trying to help his neighbors – but that's not even legal any more. The two come together in a story that'll test their commitment, ideals, hopes and dreams, by Hugo-Award-winning writer Saladin Ahmed (Miles Morales: Spider-Man, The Magnificent Ms. Marvel) and artist Ryan Kelley (Lucifer, Stranger Things). Featuring Captain America, Giant-Man, Maria Hill and more.