Monday, October 02, 2006

A rare appearance of the Chair Leg of Truth, before it became a registered trademark of Warren Ellis.

OK, so that's a desk leg. Close enough. And I really do prefer Beast in Avengers.

When Jim Shooter was first writing editorials for the New Universe books, one thing he mentioned was a world where the difference between a hero making a triumphant save, and a horrific plane crash; could be decided by something as simple as deciding to sleep in ten minutes. (I know I read a lot of those books, and right now I honestly can't recall anyone saving anyone from anything.)

So there's two extremes: the hero has an obligation to help, and to help to the best of his ability all the time always. You used to see this all the time in Spider-Man: Spidey arrives too late to help, some traumatized/mean-spirited onlooker gives him the hassle, and Spidey swings away hating himself even more. On the one hand, it's completely understandable: if the fire department arrived too late to save your home, you probably wouldn't tell them, "Good try! Nice hustle!" On the other hand, hopefully you wouldn't curse or blackball the fire department until they were run out of town, or put on a costume and start trying to kill them.

Anyway, whenever the government gets involved in a superhero story, I have to agree with the Beast: you will take whatever help I choose to offer you, and you will be happy to have it. In return, I will do the best I can. And no one sue anyone. Over in She-Hulk, there's an argument that an unlicensed super-hero would be like an unlicensed e.m.t.: probably causing more damage than good. And that may be the case sometimes, if there were seventeen different ambulances racing to the scene of an accident. The rest of the time, when you're lying in the street, bleeding and helpless, anybody's help would be greatly appreciated. Hopefully. I say that, yet if you got really pisspoor unlicensed help, it might be a different story. And then what if the licensed assist is shoddy as well, or worse?

From Avengers #190, "Heart of Stone" Written by Steven Grant, penciled by John Byrne, inks by Dan Green.

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