George Bush vs. Spider-Man

By
December 29th, 2006

Is Spider-Man's next super-villain going to be George Bush?

Spider-Man crashed into a newscast this month to criticize government policy on secret detentions. Granted this took place in a comic book — but it was clearly addressing specific policies of the Bush administration.

American politicians have already launched a preemptive strike on Spider-Man. For years conservatives have been justifying foreign imperialism by invoking the famous words of his kindly uncle Ben — that "with great power comes great responsibility." (Senators currently invoking the wisdom of Spider-Man comic books include Republican Deputy Whip Jim Demint, and Sam Brownback, whose web page still argues that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction.) This month someone writing for Marvel Comics had apparently had enough. Specifically, contributing writer J. Michael Straczynski.



Straczynski — also the creator of Babylon 5 — crafted a story where Spider-Man reconsiders similarly controversial government actions in an alternate war on terror. Straczynski has been a frequent critic of the Bush administration, posting to internet newsgroups for years. And Marvel's characters were already bristling in a story about government roundups of anyone deemed too powerful and dangerous. So a showdown was probably inevitable.

In Straczynski's story, Spider-Man lays out a remarkably clear case against the government's secret detention program. The costumed superhero tackles the abstract good of a national identity while speaking simply, in what could easily be considered a plot to turn the youth of our nation against the President. Providing the ultimate "What if..." confrontation, we've taken Spider-Man's speech opposing the policies and given him a super-sized debating opponent — another simple speaker armed with equally powerful speech writers. In the spirit of comic book confrontations, we're pitting Spider-Man's challenging November arguments against a September speech by President Bush.

It's clobbering time! 'Nuff said! And for any politician thinking about politically exploiting the World Trade Center attacks, here's some advice. If you mess with New York City, you mess with Spider-Man.

People of New York, I've — well, I've got a confession to make. I was wrong. I made a mistake. I've seen the very concept of justice destroyed.
We had to wage an unprecedented war against an enemy unlike any we had fought before. I directed our government's senior national security officials to do everything in their power, within our laws, to prevent another attack. But another reason the terrorists have not succeeded is because our government has changed its policies — and given our military, intelligence, and law enforcement personnel the tools they need to fight this enemy.
I've seen heroes and bad guys alike — dangerous guys, no mistake, but still born in this country for the most part — denied due process and imprisoned, potentially for the rest of their lives, without a trial, without evidence.
They live quietly among their victims; they conspire in secret, and then they strike without warning. In this new war, the most important source of information on where the terrorists are hiding and what they are planning is the terrorists, themselves... This is intelligence that cannot be found any other place. And our security depends on getting this kind of information. To win the war on terror, we must be able to detain, question, and, when appropriate, prosecute terrorists captured here in America, and on the battlefields around the world.
They're held in inhumane conditions in a place called the negative zone. The negative zone is... Well, it's a lot like New Jersey. But...with fewer off-ramps.
The International Committee of the Red Cross is being advised of their detention, and will have the opportunity to meet with them... America has no interest in being the world's jailer. But one of the reasons we have not been able to close Guantanamo is that many countries have refused to take back their nationals held at the facility. Other countries have not provided adequate assurances that...they will not return to the battlefield, as more than a dozen people released from Guantanamo already have.
We all want to be safe. We all want to know we can go to bed at night and have a good chance of waking up without somebody in a costume blowing up the building. But there's a point where the end doesn't justify the means, if the means require us to give up not just our identities, but who and what we are as a country.
Like the struggles of the last century, today's war on terror is, above all, a struggle for freedom and liberty. The adversaries are different, but the stakes in this war are the same: We're fighting for our way of life, and our ability to live in freedom. We're fighting for the cause of humanity, against those who seek to impose the darkness of tyranny and terror upon the entire world. And we're fighting for a peaceful future for our children and our grandchildren.
When does the country we're living in stop being the country we were born in? Some people say the most important thing in the world is that we should be safe. But I was brought up to belive that some things are worth dying for. If the cost of the silence is the soul of the country... If the cost of tacit support is that we lose the very things that make this nation the greatest in human history — then the price is too high.
We have a right under the laws of war, and we have an obligation to the American people, to detain these enemies and stop them from rejoining the battle!
I cannot, in good conscience, continue to support this act as it has been created and enforced. I was wrong. And from this day on, I will do everything within my power to oppose the act and anyone attempting to intimidate and arrest those who also oppose the act, in the cause of freedom.
You heard him. Bring him in.


See Also:
Neil Gaiman has lost his clothes
The Ten Worst Spider-Man Tie-Ins
Is It Fascism Yet?



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2 Responses to “George Bush vs. Spider-Man”

  1. Overmind Says:

    Being a fan that used to read Spider-man before JMS was on it for a few years, I have to say J Michael Stacynski is the worst SPide-rman writer with any sort of clout that has every been on the book. His main schtick with Spider-man is basically ‘I’m going to change Spider-man’ He’s basically changed him so much he’s pretty much unrecognizable except in name and sometimes he wears his costume. It’s just Bloody awful. Did you know Spider-man had magic powers? I sure didn’t.

    That finally been said, JMS also compared Prison 42 to the HOUAAs, where people were questioned then some people lost their jobs because they were allegedly connected with communism. Not very fair ofcourse, but its something that has been rehashed as early as last year with Clooney’s tired whining about it in monochromatic filmic glory. Not really a comparison to locking people up without a trial. Civil War is embarring to many comic fans including myself. Certainly, a good writer could atleast find a better comparison than a bunch of actors and screenwriters in the fifties losing their jobs over something. Maybe the Japenese detainment in the 1940s. Now that’s closer.

  2. JBX Says:

    shame Venom symbiote isnt real then Gov wouldnt have a choice to worry bout us or not it unstoppabaple even nukes cant kill venom, hed get hit and would be like what was that, then the gov would run like hell xd ya know im right

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