ONE of my favourite comic book arcs over the past few years has been Marvel’s Civil War II. A follow-up from the first, since made into a film, this story once again pits superheroes against each other.
What’s of interest in the narrative is the reason that they are fighting. Given the recent horrific terrorist attacks in Britain, many will find Civil War II has a relevance today.
Warning, upcoming spoilers!
Civil War II pits Carol Denvers, aka Captain Marvel, against Tony Stark, better known as Iron Man. When the Avengers learn of a new InHuman by the name of Ulysses Cain, who has the ability to see the future before it happens, battle lines are drawn.
Iron Man believes Ulysses should not be deployed to arrest villains before they commit crimes — he sees it as protecting the future. His reasoning is that you would end up locking up innocent people, who for a split second think about doing something evil but never actually go through with it.
But Captain Marvel disagrees. If the Avengers have the power to avert disasters before they happen, then the world would be a safer place and they would be doing their duty to the public. For her, it is about changing the future before it happens.
At first, stopping the likes of Thanos and other supervillains before they are able to destroy the world is simple — Iron Man v Captain Marvel isn’t that much of a contest.
But when the latter’s plan to stop Thanos ends up with War Machine being killed, Iron Man decides that nobody should be using Ulysses’s powers.
Things get complicated further when Bruce Banner is seen in a vision Hulking up and killing the Avengers. Captain Marvel goes to arrest him, with the help of the heroes on her side but Iron Man argues that this has gone too far — the point of the Avengers is to stop the villains and not the heroes.
Where do they draw the line? When will good, innocent people start getting detained for things they didn’t know they are going to do?
Or when will bad people get arrested before they do bad things? That’s when recent terrorist attacks, particularly the one in Manchester, come to mind.
Since the public found out that the bomber was known to police and government, questions have been asked as to why he was not apprehended before he killed 23 innocent people.
If the powers that be have the ability to arrest terrorists before they commit their atrocities, would that not benefit everyone? Once the plan has been put in place and the authorities have been alerted, are they not guilty of planning to commit a crime?
There are plenty of examples where the police have arrested people for terror-related offences.
But what about people who have not committed a crime in their lives but in a few weeks, months or even years go on to do something horrific? At what point should they be arrested?
Civil War II is an interesting read and I highly recommend it if you want to engage with the intricacies of Iron Man and Captain Marvel’s arguments and how the story ends.
But life isn’t as simple as a comic book. In the real world, how preventative should the police and government be when it comes to terrorist crime?
Does it infringe on humans’ rights when people are arrested, charged and detained on such pretexts?
Such fiction raises plenty of troubling questions like these, some of which we are still struggling to resolve in reality.
• Kadeem Simmonds is the Morning Star’s award-winning sports editor.