ROUND 3, BATTLE 4
CIVIL WAR #1-3
KORVAC SAGA #1-3
Greetings, comic book fans, today I’m going to be posting in the style of a feminist-type inquisition: I want to take a critical view of the maleness represented in Marvel, namely, the first three issues of Korvac Saga and Civil War. I want to see if, or even how, the image-perfect maleness affects the kinds of stories being told by comic books. What kinds of stories are being told about these macho men, and what does it say about us?
It is hard to find a comic book character that isn’t genetically perfect. And male superheros represent this facet of hyper macho achievement. They are the pinnacle of what it means to be male, viral and alpha. The good ones are always quick to take charge, stand up for what’s right, and fight. Marvel’s super heroes boast an honor system that is ingrained in their very muscle fibers. Their physical form represents that of the ideal male form:
Those these characters are tough, viral and strong, there is an undercurrent of a world being torn apart by patriarchal ego and a thirst for power. There are also implications for interpersonal relationships, most importantly of which is that true loyalty can only exist between two male warriors.
The main conflicts of both Marvel’s Korvac Saga (I-III) and Civil War (I-III) feature a nation or a collection of nations being split apart by two superheros who are ideologically at odds with one another. A disagreement between two alpha males is the heart of both these stories. The results are the same. A mighty chasm of disagreement that only gets bridged to commence fighting.
Two genetically perfect alpha males find themselves on opposite ends of a constructed code of honor. The two Barons in Korvac Saga, and Steve Rogers and Tony Stark in Civil War. There is one importance difference in the two. In Civil War, Rogers and Stark are equally matched. They find in each other a worthy adversary. The feud between these results a bloody war that divides the U.S and has a death toll of over 15 million people. The fighting began over the issue of superhero registration. And neither hero can negotiate terms if it means disrupting the fabric of his honor code. So they go on fighting, splitting up families, cutting off millions of people from resources like food and shelter, all to spite one another. In this war, each player finds purpose: an outlet for an identity that will not compromise. These guys need each other, to fight one another because battle is all either of these war-dogs understands. These are the two most dangerous men in America.
The relationship between two warriors is all that would seem to matter. Rogers and Stark are a perfect match to exercise their power hungry nature. That’s a bond cauterized in fire. Korvac Saga has its own spin on the kinds of relationship that can exist between two male superheros. The very first issue of Korvac Saga opens with Korvac and his loving, beautiful, big-titted wife eating breakfast.
The comic represents this as a very romantic and supportive couple. However, things take a turn for the shitty when she turns into a fucking monster and starts attacking Avengers.
What happens to her next is what happens to everyone who attacks Avengers: she got the hurt put down on her. Hard. All with her husband right next to her. This character died because she wasn’t a male with a relevant enough relationship to a male. There are two other characters who are basically the generals to the two armies that work for Kovac and his rival Baron. They happen to be old battle buddies, themselves.
The two discuss being on same page and reminisce about old times. Their names are Mar-vell, the Avengers leader and Vance, the leader of the Guardians. Mar-vell gets the same “madness” that made Kovac’s wife a berserk monster. Vance attempts to protect his friend just as his own people start to put the hurt down on him, even fighting them to protect him.
By protecting Marvel, Vance puts his reputation and his life on the line. He does it because Mar-vell is his friend. The bards used to write sonnets about that kind of loyalty and devotion. Korvac’s wife had no such friend. Not even her husband in the the next seat. The same husband that, it turns out, can restore a person from “the madness:”
That exclusively male friendship is everywhere in superhero stories. It is an unshakable bond that’s formed over many years of fighting alongside one another. Here it is in Civil War:
That’s Peter Parker behind Rogers, who literally abandoned his family on the other side of a militarized zone to go fight alongside Steve Rogers for what is essentially legislation. That is some serious bros-before-hoes game Parker has goin’ on. Is that the ultimate relationship for a hyper-alpha male superhero? What does it say about the fact that this bastion of maleness can only connect with his peers?
The more interesting questions are being raised in Civil War. Civil War is an in depth look at two egos that have almost surpassed each man’s need to be right. Korvac Saga is at war with the very fabric of its existence.