Tuesday, January 23, 2024

The Future as Allegory and, "Avengers: Twilight," #1

Some people look at history these days and argue if the Nazis were really bad. It is among the most ignorant debates you could have with Nazis being one of if not the most evil groups seen on Earth. The Red Skull was a fictional Nazi and remains among Marvel's worst villains. A scene in, "Avengers: Twilight," sees an old (now physically as well as chronologically) Steve Rogers witnessing a television station advertising a new documentary about how the Red Skull was possibly not evil and Rogers finds himself disgusted. The comic is set in the future but a lot of, "Avengers: Twilight," could be looked at as an allegory for today, with that scene serving as but a single example of why.

The government always watching for dissent. Overpowered law enforcement abusing their power and preventing the public from taping any criminal abuses. The very folks pushing misinformation claiming their freedom of speech is being stifled when questioned about their beliefs in lies. These themes permeate, "Avengers: Twilight," as it reflects on what happens when a society refuses to consider a difference between heroes or villains and just considers anyone with power dangerous unless they toe the officially accepted line? Steve Rogers and all the other heroes are old in this unclear point of time but we have the son of Tony Stark and Janet Van Dyne--James Stark--and other younger folks given official designation to be heroes and make the powers-that-be look good. We aren't looking at a dystopian future in, "Avengers: Twilight," we are looking at an allegory for the World today, just with some superpowered folks and a few extra decades added on for cosmetic effect.

Speaking of the, "Cosmetics," for every great moment of writing Chip Zdarsky supplies, Daniel Acuna brings the most beautiful artwork. Acuna's visuals of a future overly busy with screens broadcasting ads and videos everywhere is a bit like our interconnected World cranked up to an insane (yet still depressingly plausible) degree. Everything is online, but how much of that so-called everything people are allowed to see of the truth of our World remains a sticking point. Acuna gives us a view of the future that is uncomfortably possible yet just extreme enough to feel distant and uncomfortably foreign. He does a stellar job, in other words.

To return to the politics of all this, arguments have been made that heroes are inherently a fascist concept. A superpowered man or woman emerges on the scene to maintain the status quo and beats up those engaging in questionable acts due to desperation brought about by a broken society. I've never really ascribed to that idea, however. Superman was himself fighting for the, "Little Guy," in his first appearances, beating-up slumlords and promoting equality for all. "Avengers: Twilight," looks at a World where heroes have been relegated to being little more than fascist figureheads, but gives us other superheroes ready to use any power they have to fight against such as corrupt and broken system. It's not a Conservative concept or a Liberal concept, it's a belief in the ideology of freedom for everyone--a dream that should transcend any political leanings.

Chip Zdarsky and Daniel Acuna have created a story about Steve Rogers and other old Avengers fighting against fascism in the future. Through the biggest superpower of all--allegory--it is clear that no matter when this story is set it is an agonizingly recognizable portrayal of our own World we live in today--just minus people in capes. I can't wait to read more issues of, "Avengers: Twilight," and think we've got the start of something really special here.

5 out of 5 Stars.

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