Letters : Staff : 2007 : To the Staff 24/05/2007

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Date: May 24, 2007
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From ofozzybear

I have to disagree with the article on Tony being right. Though as much as I hate the war-mongering Republicanism he flat-out represents, I have to tip my hat to how Tony has been portrayed (since Civil War concluded) as a vulnerable and unsure character who's finally letting the weight of what occured in Civil War sink in: what he did, what people working for him are still doing behind his back, the fact he's slowly losing control when there's no purpose for anyone TO control, etc.

Cap's death proved who was right. Tony is gradually realizing he made mistakes, that it wasn't worth it, that doesn't just apply to Cap. Cap himself gave up when he saw the damage; I doubt Tony would have done the same thing, not with his extremist attitudes.

Given Civil War was always supposed to be a very heavily advertised prologue to World War Hulk, we all know payback is coming...and you don't leave a liberal laying. Hulk will take out the teeth, Cap will pick up the pieces and restore individuality to one and all.

What kind of price comes with it is the reason we all buy comics isn't it?

It's rare in comics to see characters portrayed consistently across books. Compare, for example, the black-suited yet happy-go-lucky Spider-man of NEW AVENGERS with the black-suited yet seething and violent Spider-man of AMAZING. So it is with Tony Stark. Depending on which book you read, he's either convinced that he always did the right thing (CIVIL WAR) or haunted by his misdeeds (FRONT LINE). Similarly, since Civil War, he's become either deeply uneasy about his new role as head of SHIELD (THE CONFESSION) or blithely self- satisfied about it (MIGHTY AVENGERS); an effective military commander (AVENGERS: THE INITIATIVE) or an ineffective one (IRON MAN). I'm sure in the upcoming FALLEN SON: IRON MAN we'll get yet another gloss on his character.

So I have to conclude the jury is still out on whether Stark is having the same sort of epiphany that Rogers did. The question your letter raises, however, is whether Rogers' epiphany proves he was right. I don't agree. Rogers' feelings don't speak to the debate between the two men about the proper relationship between law and freedom: Cap was wrong on the arguments and Iron Man was right, irrespective of how either man feels about each other.

I will agree that Cap's epiphany speaks well of his character. Some readers have complained that having Captain America surrender is a violation of his fundamental concept. Captain America, these people say, is in essence the man who never gives up. I think this criticism is way off of the mark. If Captain America does indeed have an unalterable core, it consists of those qualities Americans like most about themselves: perseverance, yes, but also strong commitments to liberty, justice, and truth. Look at the U.S. Bill of Rights: the very first Amendment to the Constitution enshrines a commitment to the search for truth, to the endless questioning of received ideas. Cap didn't give up because he was afraid or because he thought he couldn't win. Indeed he surrendered on the cusp of victory, with Iron Man at his mercy. He gave up because he suddenly realized that he was wrong and Iron Man was right. To embrace defeat because victory would mean victory for an error is not only noble, it is consistent with that virtue that Americans claim to revere most of all. So Cap's surrender was not only praiseworthy, especially because it meant mortifying his own instinct to never give up, but it was also consistent with his essential nature as the embodiment of the U.S.A.

P.S. Do you really think that Tony Stark is a liberal? Maybe in the nineteenth- century sense; he certainly insists upon the rule of law. But in the twenty- first-century sense, he strikes me as being quite conservative: he

* is a plutocrat who became rich off of government contracts;

* is comfortable with big government spending provided it is funneled to the military and justice sectors;

* seems to see law, order, and security as the key policy issues of the day; and

* has no scruple about restricting individual liberties, often drastically, in the pursuit of thwarting terrorists and criminals.

I don't know about war-mongering Republicanism, but he certainly strikes me as being neo-conservative.