Friday, January 20, 2012

I can't decide if beating a snitch is torture or not...

From the recent Secret Avengers #21, "Final Level" Written by Warren Ellis, pencils by Stuart Immonen, inks by Wade Von Grawbadger. Steve Rogers, Captain America, seems to turn over three suspects to Black Widow and Moon Knight for torture. The Widow shoots one with her sting, and MK stabs a guy through the hand before threatening to skin his face; which gets the mole to confess, since she had planned on saving her unknowing friends.

Is this what Ellis thinks of America, or is it a misstep in a pretty good book up to now? (This being his last of a six issue run.) I do think when he's out of his Captain America uniform, Steve has a little more leeway for dirt: he can do things he never would as a symbol. But while I don't think Steve would be in for waterboarding or hooking someone's genitals to a car battery; I know I've seen him at least threaten to get rough before. (In an old Mark Gruenwald issue, Cap tells a terrorist he'll break his wrist, but the terrorist doesn't buy it.) So, I tend to read this as Steve talking tougher than he would actually go through with, or allow to happen.

Beast and War Machine both stay humane here, though: Beast refusing to kill, and War Machine offering aid before opening fire. Even excluding the subtext of torture, this issue isn't the best of Ellis's run, but the single issues will make a good trade.


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Dale Bagwell said...

Good question here Goo; I personally think Cap himself wouldn't, although there's no telling what he might have had to do during the war. Otherwise, yeah he's pretty much is seemingly okay with other people doing the whole torture thing, well at least with teammates he can trust.

As for Ellis, do you even have to ask, as of course that he is what he thinks of America, and after the Bush Administration, I can't blame him.