Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Superhuman Registration Act

Okay, let's start at the beginning.

The Superhuman Registration Act (which I'll call SRA from now on) gets rushed through when Nitro blows up a school when the New Warriors are attacking him. It would have been better if there were some sort of build up to this. If it had been shown in previous issues of New Avengers or something that the government had been trying to get the SRA into force for a while now then this event could have been used to help push this through.

But the idea that the public suddenly go against superheroes because a villain destroys a school and kills many people seems forced. I mean supervillains have been doing (or threatening to do) this for years now. Even heroes have endangered the public in the past. A founding member of the Avengers has created artificial life, which has gone on to kill small countries for goodness sake.

It all seems so sudden and comes out of nowhere.

The idea of registering has been likened to doctors and airline pilots having to register. Which is fine if this was a Superhero Registration Act. But it's not. It's not registering those with a certain vocation or employment. It's not trying to register those that actively set out to hunt down the bad guys. No, it wants everyone with any sort of superhuman abilities to register. For many superheroes, their powers came about accidentally and they cannot give up those powers. So it's not like they've got a choice.

This seems more similar to registering a person because they're some sort of minority (black, gay, blond, deaf, etc) albeit that having powers is potentially more dangerous to others than, say, having red hair. Overall, it doesn't seem to sit very well with me.

Mark Millar has said, "People thought they were dangerous, but they didn't want a ban. What they wanted was superheroes paid by the federal government like cops and open to the same kind of scrutiny" and ended with "nobody, as far as I'm aware, has done this before". But heroes paid by the government and open to the same scrutiny have been done before. The Avengers themselves have been subject to the US government's rules and regulations and have had a liaison to the United States National Security Council demanding changes to the team. The government has directly employed other superheroes. The only "new" bit is being forced to work for the government.

But I'll continue that another day...

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