How Civil War II Turned Captain Marvel Into a Supervillain

I get what you’re saying, but the real problem is that Marvel was the one thinking about it in “real-world” terms. Had Ulysses’ visions been contained to preventing giant natural disasters like Galactus (and yes, although he is a big dude who wears purple, he has no more intent to do evil than an earthquake does) and/or stopping the biggest, most thoroughly evil supervillains’ plans, things probably would have been fine. Ulysses’ power would basically be a smoke alarm for trouble and evil—detect smoke, stop it before something catches fire. Who could argue with that?

No one, which is why Marvel had to exacerbate the problem so it could have its superheroes punching each other again. The issue had to be morally gray so that Carol and Tony could argue about it, which, as everyone has noticed, basically turned into the plot of Minority Report. So the argument became not just about using Ulysses’ visions to prevent disasters or thwart supervillains’ plans, Captain Marvel used it to imprison people for crimes they hadn’t even thought of committing yet, and that’s messed up.

Let’s go back to the Doctor Doom example: Based on Doom’s long history of being evil, yeah, he probably would eventually build a time machine and attempt to erase the US. But if until he starts actively trying to make the time machine, he has technically not committed a crime—well, not that crime. You would be punishing him for a crime he didn’t commit.

To be fair, Doctor Doom is a poor example, as are most comic book supervillains. They’ve all been evil for decades, so it’s harder to argue that they haven’t already earned life sentences. So imprisoning them for the many crimes they have committed, and their long history of evil, to predict their future behavior is a bit more understandable.


But of course, that’s also not what Captain Marvel was doing. She was imprisoning anyone Ulysses saw committing a crime, regardless of who that person was. She was arresting US citizens, not only without a trial, but again without them having done anything wrong (see above). Best example: Miles Morales, who she wanted to arrest after that vision of him killing Captain America several months in the future. Miles Morales has been a hero 100 percent of the time he’s operated as Ultimate Spider-Man. He’s never done anything like that before, and it’s clear that he had no intention or designs to do it. He was shocked and appalled by the vision as anyone else. But Carol was willing to imprison Miles on the mere possibility he would eventually murder Cap.

This isn’t just morally wrong, it’s stupid. Even if Ulysses’ visions were always 100 percent, inexorably correct—spoiler alert, they aren’t—they don’t give any context about the event. So, as crazy as it sounds, when Miles kills Captain America in the future, there could be some mitigating circumstances—circumstances like, oh, I don’t know, Captain America having been Cosmic Cube-ed into a Hydra agent. All she saw was a vision—nothing else. No motivations, no reasons, no explanations. And she just assumed Miles was guilty anyway.

There’s another reason why this is both idiotic and insidious: Carol assumes that Captain America’s murder is inevitable unless she imprisons Miles. But that makes no sense. Either Cap’s death is certain, in which case imprisoning Miles clearly won’t work because he’ll somehow have to get out in order to kill Cap, or—if the future isn’t certain and Cap’s death can be prevented—then the future can be changed by anything, not just arresting heroes who have done nothing wrong and are not even thinking about doing anything wrong. Either anything is possible or nothing is.

(Also? If everything is inevitable, then no one is really guilty of anything because there is no free will and we’re all locked into fixed loops where everything we do is unavoidable, and thus it’s not our fault.)

So… yeah. Marvel’s the one who made this weird. They love having their heroes fight each other, but it hasn’t figured out a way to gave them do it without turning one of them into a de facto supervillain themselves (exactly like Iron Man was in Civil War I). And for everyone who had been so excited about Carol’s pretty recent resurgence as Captain Marvel and one of Marvel’s biggest heroes, it was equally aggravating and heartbreaking to see her become so, so awful.

via io9


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