In the wake of consciousness between what is right and what is wrong due to Marvel’s blockbuster entry to the 2016 box office, Captain America: Civil War, fans, critics and everyone in between have weighed in on who is right and why. In Captain America vs. Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology, these debates are all fleshed out in a series of essays.
Edited and material contributed by Travis Langley with a foreword by Stan Lee, different writers and professionals were pulled in to explore the morality and ideals behind the sides. In Mark Millar’s Civil War comic, Steve Rogers defends the right for superheroes to maintain their identities without registering to the Superhero Act. Opposing him due to tragic events by a novice superhero team, Iron Man counters that it is safer for everyone if the government regulates superheroes. Similarly, the movie, if you haven’t seen it yet, does not stray too far off premise from these basics. In the movie, Captain America doesn’t want to sign the Sokovia Accords, the movies variation on the registration act, while Iron Man pulls for it, bearing the guilt of negligence.
Many of the topics in the book delve deeper into the comic lore. For instance, take the chapter titled, ‘Trauma Shapes a Superhero,’ this chapter explores Tony’s self-destructive nature. Iron Man is considered a hero, but we also recognize he has his foibles, such as alcoholism and womanizing. As Janina Scarlet and Jenna Busch point out, Tony’s problems run deeper, and connect to his post-traumatic stress. Not only from the loss of his parents, but due to the events he went through to become Iron Man. What the book does wonderfully is explain PTSD and other complex mental disorders in a concise and respectful manner.
The version of Tony in the MCU also bears the scars of PTSD, but like so many sufferers of the illness, he is often left to his own devices. In Iron Man 3, we continually see the effects this has on him and how even the closest people to him chide and mock his behavior. Pepper Potts and Rhodey both dismiss his self-destructive and irate behavior. There are lingering effects to this when Tony is submitted to Wanda’s dream in Avengers: Age of Ultron, she taps into his nightmare of being the root of everyone’s death, which helps set in motion his decision to go forward with the Ultron project despite Dr. Banner’s insistence that the idea is too underdeveloped.
Throughout the three central topics of the book, and ten chapters, psychology is applied to how we perceive heroes, how we determine who is a hero and why Steve and Tony can both be heroes despite vastly different stances. Whether you’re deeply invested in the workings of human psyche or enjoy exploration into storytelling and motives, Captain America vs. Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology will be of interest. While the book taps in to the comic book version and movie adaptation of the Marvel lore, it does miss out on explaining the factors in the cinematic Civil War. Of course, this book did hit stores on May 17, 2016. However, with the knowledge inferred and disseminated throughout these essays, it doesn’t take much for the reader to apply it to the latest canon Marvel addition, making it an enticing and interactive read. It offers readers a new and critical way to view comic book content.
In society, art is often classified as highbrow or lowbrow. Highbrow art is synonymous with intellect, meaning the art or culture is of some pedigree. The opposite, lowbrow, often applies to pop culture or art that has mass appeal, which is what comics have always been categorized in. Books such as this one challenge this status quo, arguing that art created for mass appeal can be viewed with analytical and intellectual lens. It’s an important step in taking a genre that is so beloved and giving attention to the importance and significance it has on so many lives. What becomes clear in reading this book is that our heroes, both real and conceived in literature, have an impact on us, just as much as our beliefs shape that view.
Additionally, the book is a great guide for navigating the political factions between Captain America vs. Iron Man, and how audiences align with principles associated to both causes.
This book is wonderfully fascinating and helps shine a whole new light on comics, and the critical implications of these stories. You are even treated to a forward written by Stan Lee and his view on the deeper meanings of comic book characters. If you’re looking to delve deeper into the mythos, crack this open immediately.
The book can be purchased on Amazon or in bookstores.