Recently, Marvel Comics has actually been in the news for its comic books instead of for its movies. There is a huge event going on in the "Marvel Universe" called "Civil War", which pits longtime friends in the superhero community against each other. The basic premise is that a young superhero group's attempt to apprehend some bad guys (in the pursuit of ratings for a reality TV show) resulted in the deaths of over 600 civilians, most of them children.
The backlash to this event was the creation of the "Superhero Registration Act", which meant that anyone who wanted to put on spandex and fight crime had to register with the government and work for a sanctioned security organization. One of the problems with this act is that if you had any super-powers, it amounted to a draft. Half the superhero community is going along with it and half is against it and is now on the run. This saga is unfolding in not just one comic book title called Civil War, but in over a dozen other monthly titles, showing the wide-ranging effects of this legislation.
This entire storyline is obviously a reaction to what is currently going on in the United States with the war on terror. Comments from Marvel editors and writers before the story began was that it would be an even-handed portrayal of both sides of the issue. However, the story has been replete with phrases like "unregistered combatants", comparisons of the regsitration act to slavery, and portrayals of (so far) everyone in government who is behind this act having some dark agenda.
In particular, this month's issue of Cable & Deadpool (one of the monthly titles crossing over into the storyline) really pushed me over the edge. In an exchange between superhero Cable and the President of the United States, Cable (who is fom the future) says that the consequences of the Registration Act will be that years down the line the U.S. will turn into a totalitarian state and that there will be a world-wide civil war.
The President's response? "Well, you're talking about something that is fifty years away. Those aren't votes that we have to worry about this November."
So much for any even minor semblance of a "balanced" story. That comment was ludicrous and disgusting and in my opinion is the "jumping the shark" moment in this saga.
So far, no one on the pro-registration side been portrayed in a positive way that actually carries some weight. Tony Stark/Iron Man has been reduced to parroting "It's the law. It's the law." and Reed Richards (of the Fantastic Four) has come across as an ivory tower, clueless-in-regard-to-the-real-world, yutz. That's basically it and it's beyond weak.