If I were in charge of Mitt Romney’s strategy, I would be making much more of a campaign issue out of the Siege of Asgard.
No matter which side of the aisle you favor, there is no question that President Obama has had a rough first term. Look at the record: he comes into office in the middle of a Skrull invasion, only to have S.H.I.E.L.D. completely disintegrate on his watch. He gives the green light to H.A.M.M.E.R., of all things. Then, right as he has to start campaigning for a second term, neo-Nazi death machines fall out of the sky and obliterate the capitol right out from under him (thus providing countless jobs in the construction and manufacturing sector, on the bright side. There is no unemployment in the Marvel Universe if you can hold a hammer.)
As attack ad visuals go, you can’t do much better than the smoking rubble of the Capitol Rotunda.
It’s the Siege of Asgard that would be tough to get around, though. As I was rereading the series over the weekend, I could almost hear the speech. “This is a president who dissolved the greatest anti-terrorism force the world has ever known and replaced Tony Stark with a sociopathic serial killer. Are we to believe that Norman Osborn assembled the entire Initiative to go to war with gods in Oklahoma without the president’s knowledge? Either this president didn’t know what was going on with his own superheroes, or he knew but did nothing, and ladies and gentlemen, I can’t decide which is worse. What did the president know about Broxton, and when did he know it?”
The poor guy wouldn’t stand a chance. His wife wouldn’t vote for him.
I’m not even going to get into the Skrullers, that group of nuts who are still convinced the president wasn’t born here because he’s a shape-shifting alien. You can’t run for dog catcher anymore without being accused of being a Skrull by somebody.
I think Rick Perry cost himself the election by making an issue out of prosecuting the Thing. He had a point– we just watched this guy destroy the Lower East Side with a giant, mystical hammer, and two weeks later he’s just hanging out like it never happened?– but people just didn’t want to be reminded of that whole thing anymore.
In the end, this election is going to go to whoever remembers that old campaign adage: “It’s the economy and the rampant Hulk attacks, stupid.”
…All right. That’s enough of that for a while.
Seriously, though: I would not be able to function in the Marvel Universe. Everyone in the country would have PTSD all the time. The Skrulls alone would have someone on your street stabbing somebody twice a week. They would have to put Xanax in the tap water. You think you have Event Fatigue? How do think that guy who just had Colossus throw his car at a dude feels? He’s going to be on the phone with All State for the rest of the month.
On the other hand, maybe after the first twenty times the world ends, you start to regard it the way Floridians react to hurricanes. You just board up the windows and shrug. You’d almost have to become jaded to purple men in their underpants shooting ray guns. If you freaked out and hid under the bed every time it happened, you’d never get anything done. Those groceries aren’t going to buy themselves.
This is an aspect of Brian Bendis’ Avengers books that I appreciate, and I hope he starts spending more time on what is for the moment a “B” storyline at best. Lately (really only in the background so far) people have started protesting the Avengers and turning against them. And who can blame them? After all this crazy nonsense goes down around them, do they ever explain to anybody what just happened? You’d think Tony Stark could go on Piers Morgan or something every once in a while and say, “Oh, those were mystical Norse death hammers. Gods are real things, by the way. You know Valkyrie? She’s dealing with them right now… Yeah, I’m surprised it’s taking this long myself. Anyway, we’re on it.”
Ten years ago, the story of a presidential campaign in the Marvel Universe would have been a great, fun book. The climate’s not right for it anymore; the Marvel that took those kind of chances on quirk doesn’t really exist anymore, and the readership has gotten too full of paranoia and acrimony when it comes to even the faintest whiff of politics in their books. Still, as you read your books this week, I would ask you to spend a moment of silence recognizing the real heroes of the Marvel Universe, the normal men and women who live in there, putting up with all this spandex bullshit for our amusement. No one will have a harder time at the ballot box than they will.
Jim Mroczkowski is sure that every kid has gotten the lecture from their parents a hundred times: “College is for suckers. The real money is in plumbing and electrical work in Manhattan, specifically in the ten blocks surrounding Avengers Tower.”