Marvel Comics Civil War
So far in the Civil War we've
seen Captain America at his best and possibly worst occasionally.
He's been beaten by his old friend the Iron Man and saw tragedy, but
continues to keep up the good fight for freedom in the Marvel
The cause of the Civil War,
the death of school children after a villain named Nitro literally
explodes during a battle with the New Warriors. This event creates
public uproar leading to the Super-human Registration Act which
enforced the mandatory registration of super powered individuals
with the government. Failure to comply meant being imprisoned in the
Negative Zone in an inescapable prison. Iron Man and Reed Richards
of the Fantastic Four stand by the Act fighting against heroes
like Captain America who oppose the Act.
Spider-Man sided with
Iron Man against Cap, but later realized he was on the wrong side
and went public with his decision to go against the Registration
We all know that sometimes the
worst times can bring out the best in us, and the Civil War has
allowed us to see a glimpse of Captain America's fighting spirit and
sense of right and wrong.
The most revealing and
inspirational moment from Cap I've found so far in the Civil War
storyline comes not from Captain America's book, but Amazing
Spider-Man # 537.
On a rooftop, (Where else do
superheroes talk?) Spider-Man points out to Cap that most of America
has Cap down as a traitor. Spidey then just wants to know how Cap
deals with it.
Cap turns away and says, "I
remember the first time I really understood what it was to be an
American...What it was to be a patriot."
"I was just a kid...A million
years ago, it seems sometimes. Maybe twelve. I was reading Mark
And he wrote something that
struck me right down to my core...something so powerful, so true,
that it changed my life. I memorized it so I could repeat it to
myself, over and over across the years. He wrote --'In a republic,
who is the country?
Is it the government which is for
the moment in the saddle? Why, the government is merely a temporary
servant: it cannot be its prerogative to determine what is right and
what is wrong, and decide who is a patriot and who isn't. It's
function is to obey orders, not originate them.
Who, then is the country? Is it
the newspaper? Is it the pulpit? Why, these are mere parts of the
country, not the whole of it, they have not command, they have
only their little share in the command.
In a monarchy, the king and his
family are the country: In a republic it is the common voice
of the people each of you, for himself, by himself and on his own
responsibility, must speak.
It is a solemn and weighty
responsibility, and not lightly to be flung aside at the bullying of
pulpit, press, government, or the empty catchphrases of
Each must for himself alone
decide what is right and what is wrong, and which course is
patriotic and which isn't. You cannot shirk this and be a man.
To decide it against your
convictions is to be an unqualified and inexcusable traitor, both to
yourself and to your country, let men label you as they may.
If you alone of all the nation
shall decide one way, and that way be the right way according to
your convictions of the right, you have your duty by yourself and by
your country. Hold up your head. You have nothing to be ashamed
Cap continues, "Doesn't matter
what the press says. Doesn't matter what the politicians or the mobs
say. Doesn't matter if the whole country decides that something
wrong is something right.
This nation was founded on one
principle above all else: The requirement that we stand up for what
we believe, no matter the odds or the consequences.
When the mob and the press and
the whole world tell you to move, your job is to plant yourself like
a tree besides the river of truth, and tell the whole world--
--No you move."
I guess I'm getting old and
sentimental, but I swear sitting there reading a Spider-Man comic
book of all things, I felt like I could almost shed a tear.
This is what heroes are all about
whether real or imagined, the ability to inspire.