Iron Man: Civil War by Brian Michael Bendis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
There is always another side of the story.
I read Captain America's Civil War first, and I think I am still sympathetic to his viewpoint. However, I can completely understand Tony's reasons for backing the Superhero Registration Act. He believes that superheroes shouldn't be going off half-cocked, with poor training and little accountability. Part of his view is informed by events in his own past and his guilt about his own alcoholism while he was also wearing the suit of Iron Man. While Stark is troubled by the moral complexities of the situation, he is determined to stay on the path set before him, and not unaware of forces in the government who want to manipulate the uneasy situation and him in their favor. Things are worsened by the fact that his stance has put him at odds with a very good friend who he deeply respects, Captain America. He thinks that Cap is a good man who doesn't understand that while he won't abuse his power, many are less able to avoid that happening.
This graphic novel explores his viewpoint and his conflicted feelings about the situation. I was captivated by this book. Stark's retelling of the King Pyrrhus of Ancient Greece, and the origin of the term 'pyrrhic victory' especially resonated with me, especially in light of the tremendous loss suffered in the aftermath of the Civil War. I felt for Tony and I hurt for him, because he was trying to stand up for what he believed is right.
While I don't want to bring in politics, I do feel that this novel reminded me of some of the battles that are going on in our society over moral issues and laws that have a tremendous impact on the expression and choices people can make. The book shows that many of these issues aren't cut and dried, because they involve human beings, and we are as far from simple as can be imagined.
The artwork is lovely, and I liked that it includes flashbacks to germane incidents that provoked the present Civil War, and that it touches on the resolution of the Civil War which is indeed a Pyrrhic victory.
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