Are people in the Marvel Universe stupider and more violent?

Discussion in 'Marvel Comics' started by Elijya, Apr 12, 2006.

  1. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    this goes for the DC universe, as well

    Putting aside all the actual supervillains and just concentrating on the human element - doesn't it seem like normal people are more likely to commit crimes in the comic universes?

    Take our own world: sure we have crime, and we have gangs and what not, but it's relatively rare compared to what we see in comics.

    In your own personal life, how many major crimes have you been a witness to? In a major metropolitan area, how many major crimes take place in a day? From watching the local news every night, and I'd estimate maybe an average of four or five instances every day. This covers things like rapes, murders, gang shootings, robberies, and other things. A rough estimate, maybe it's a little higher, but ten instances tops, I would think, on average. (I'm basing this on the Philadelphia local news. New York is a much larger place, I realize)

    Now you jump into the Marvel universe, where 99% of the activity we see is concentrated in New York. The 616 New York is patrolled by DOZENS of superheroes, which one would think would act as a deterrent. And yet, crime is high enough to keep these heroes busy on a regular basis. Also consider that the heroes stop or capture many of these criminals. Sure, a fair number can slip through loopholes and not be convicted, but they can't all be dumb enough to go back to their criminal endevors only to get the crap kicked out of them by Spider-Man again the next week, and so on and so on.

    The Punisher is the real conundrum, because unlike most Marvel vigilantes, he chiefly deals with the human criminal element. And he doesn't just capture them, he executes them, eliminating the possibility of them returning. Yet, if you were to add up all of the Punisher's victims since his initial appearence, you would be well into the four digits. And again, most of them in the New York. Most of these are organized crime associates. In our own world, what are the estimates of the populations organized crime groups in a major city? I have no idea, but I would think maybe a few hundred, at most.

    And the appeal of being a mob boss in real life is that the organization has money they can bribe officials with or pay for fancy lawyers, and you have buddies who can intimidate witnesses or vouch for you and what no. So basicly, the consequences are lessened.

    But when you put the Punisher in the picture, the consequence is no longer just being arrested and being let out, it's being blown away by a man who has killed hundreds of people in the same line of work, and has never been stopped. How suicidal are you to operate as an organized criminal in New York with that man running around? And that's just ONE of the local vigilantes who might take you down. Nevermind the normal human police who also get their jobs done.


    Let's broaden the scope a little to terrorist organizations: In our world, we have things like Al Queda, who're halfway around the world, and then things like the Klu Klux Klan and maybe some of those nutsos who live on compounds in the middle of nowhere. But in the Marvel Universe, you have AIM, Hydra, the Secret Empire, and more. These organizations are able to recruit hundreds, or maybe even thousands, of henchmen. And these people are not usually foreigners, no, they're Americans. Americans convinced to take down America. How common are those in our world? We get a Timothy McVeigh or a Richard Reid every few years, but they're extremely rare.

    And again, the take-down factor: How many Hydra facilities has Captain America single handedly shut down? How many AIM bases has Shield blown up? And unlike the criminals people like Spider-Man takes down, Hydra or AIM agents taken in by Shield are almost garaunteed to go to jail and spend a long time there. So where do these groups keep getting people? Are there really that many disaffected Americans in the Marvel Universe? Are they just stupider?

    Thoughts? :)
     
  2. Herr Logan

    Herr Logan Registered

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    Deterrence is an ineffective method of crime control.

    :wolverine
     
  3. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    Then why do we have the Death Penalty?
     
  4. Steve Vai

    Steve Vai Registered

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    It's only a comic
     
  5. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    Thank you, that occured to me. :rolleyes:
     
  6. Darthphere

    Darthphere Kneel before 'Drox!

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    I agree, youd think criminals would think twice about robbing a store next to Avengers Tower but they do it anyway. Desperation maybe? Still, its part of the ficiton of comics, the bad guys have to exist because whats the point of having 300 different heroes in new York. You can only have som many Earth shattering villains a week.
     
  7. Steve Vai

    Steve Vai Registered

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    Well thats why :down
     
  8. rjb182

    rjb182 Jedi Gnat

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    I think maybe all that background Gamma radiation is affecting everybody's minds... one day every person on the planet will just completely lose it and Hulk out. And that will be...

    Um, pretty cool actually...
     
  9. bkhedr

    bkhedr Man of Mayhem

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    This is acctually very interesting Elijya. I recently read MARVELS for the first time (anyone who hasnt definately should) and the thing that struck me the most was people's reaction to Mutants in book two.

    Sure the way humans in the MU react to Mutants is very well documented but because MARVELS is so life like it really sunk in a bit more. I would say that people in the MU are definately more prone to violence and wanton acts of stupidity if only for those couple of pages.
     
  10. Herr Logan

    Herr Logan Registered

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    Possibly because people thought that the Death Penalty would be a widely effective deterrent, but it could well be for intelligent reasons.

    I know for a fact that the death penalty ideally serves a purpose that is indisputably effective: it means criminals die, and dead criminals don't hurt anyone.

    If it weren't for the fact that the criminal justice system's inefficacy releases guilty criminals to become recidivists but has a significant (not a large portion, but it's enough) number of wrongfully convicted dead people on its hands, I'd wholeheartedly support the death penalty and there would be absolutely no argument against it. As it is now, I'm torn on it, since one dead innocent is too many (not to mention the suffering that occurs for the wrongfully convicted while he waits for decades for the system to make up its mind and get down to business).

    So yeah, it's absolutely the right thing to do if you've got a violent, dangerous human in custody that you know for certain is guilty, but since the system isn't designed well enough to determine guilt at a perfect rate, it's a flawed and dangerous policy. I wouldn't campaign to get rid of it, but I wouldn't campaign to keep it, either. And not just because I'm lazy and would probably never campaign for anything.

    :wolverine
     
  11. Darthphere

    Darthphere Kneel before 'Drox!

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    I never understood the whole Mutant hating thing. People love Spider-man, he has powers and such, but hate mutants.
     
  12. bkhedr

    bkhedr Man of Mayhem

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    I guess its a fear of being replaced by Mutants (a la house of M) but even that seemed forced and stupid.

    To be honest I think the whole mutant hating thing, while a good idea for a comic book, is really really stupid

    Just goes to show that people in the MU are stupid and violent :)
     
  13. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    Well, Spider-Man isn't so universally loved, but people like Captain America and the Fantastic Four, yeah

    I agree that the mutant scenario is a flawed metaphor given everything else, though, yeah. If the Mutants were in their own little world seperated from the other characters, it could make sense, but when put side by side, it seems hypocritical
     
  14. Mister J

    Mister J Whatever It Takes

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    Interesting. I suppose crime will always exist as long as people feel they don't have enough or are entitled to more. I too, don't believe deterrence theory is that effective. In reality, I imagine few criminals commit crimes because they're bored. It's because they see the opportunity for some form of enrichment and prefer instant gratification instead of attempting to obtain these things through more conventional (and legal) means.

    When you're the actor, it isn't that far-fetched to believe "it won't happen to me", regardless of how reality-based that assumption is. Only the truly moronic, or mentally deficient, commit a crime with the intention of being caught. A pedestrian criminal could easily convince themselves that a superhero has far better things to do than worry about their low-level activities, even if the hero has a reputation for putting a stop to such activity.

    Large scale criminal organizations can be easily viewed to have the same arrogance. Large numbers offer the comfort of safety. If you stock enough foot soldiers and weaponry, you could delude yourself into feeling invincible; Avengers or JLA be damned.

    Why do I feel that Elijya is soliciting us as research for a term paper of sorts? :(
     
  15. Silverstein

    Silverstein Registered

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    I would just like to acknowledge how awesome this thread is. I've been wondering about the same thing for quite some time.

    But maybe it's the heroes themselves that cause the villains. When Spidey started out, I don't think he was fighting villains on a daily basis. I don't even think crime was so high. Americans were a good industrious people, and only the few thugs or super villains were the main threats.

    But after the emergence of many heroes, there were many more villains. And some people are contrary by nature. So it could be that when you have the government,SHIELD, Spider-Man, Captain America and everyone telling you how to act, certain people want to rebel.


    At my school, they say "Do not cut class or get a white card" (A white card is a cut(cutting school) slip....which is an after school detention). And yet how many students have cut this year? How many times? And how many more will happen as the weather gets warmer?

    So take my school and make it New York 616...Don't rob a museum, or Spider-man will stop you. "I need money and I don't care about some *** in red and blue tights!" He beats you up sends you to jail. Okay you'd better not try that again or Daredevil will knock your teeth out, he's not as forgiving as Spidey. "Who cares about Lil'Nicky? I hear the bastard is blind!" He knocks out the guy's teeth, and sends him to jail. Don't you get it Stop while you're ahead? "I got connections in jail, now I'm a mob boss." Okay, well now Punisher is going to shoot you. BLAM!!

    The end of the Freshmen.
     
  16. Silverstein

    Silverstein Registered

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    As for the legions and legions of these people...I would estimate that most of these people would be jail criminals. They're facing years in jail, horrible treatment, gross food, possible anal rapings, and getting killed in their sleep....OR...Cash, women, security, your own weapon, a place to escape to, all the crimes they could ever want to commit to get back at the government that "failed them", and lobster for dinner.

    Hmmm....Choices. In that situation most weak minded people would probablly pick the second choice. Which is becoming a member of some high class, high technology Terrorist organization.


    We should now ask where the organizations get the money for said technology? Could all th thugs and bank robbers be working for one person or something? and all that money goes to fueling an organization?
     
  17. rjb182

    rjb182 Jedi Gnat

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    I guess the idea is that Cap and the FF and Spidey were born as regular humans-- they could be US. Whereas mutants were born "not-us." Anybody can hope (although it'd be a little weird) to someday get bitten by a radioactive spider, just like anybody can hope to be President (although that's weirder)... but you either have the X-gene or you don't.

    Mind you, I always thought the distinction was a little bit silly-- not because people wouldn't really hate mutants, but because they wouldn't really love the altered-humans. Maybe it's my rather weak faith in humanity these days talking, but I think real-life people would probably spit on the Avengers, too...
     
  18. Herr Logan

    Herr Logan Registered

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    Dammit! Why do I feel I've played right into his hands? :O

    :wolverine
     
  19. Savage

    Savage Earth Rocker

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    Actually, it'd probably be worse in real life. I don't think mutants would even stand much of a chance because people would lynch em. One kid playing dodgeball with his friends knocks another kids head clean off, some guy explodes at the DMV destroying the whole place, a singer hits a high note and the sound is so pure that everyone there goes deaf because their eardrums exploded, events like this WOULD cause people to become paranoid and freak.


    As for the criminal activity, yeah it is a bit nutty but so is someone even surviving a gamma bomb. Yes people in the MU are stupider and more violent because that is the only way to keep it running and what MAKES it the Marvel universe...I've always entertained the idea that their world is simply larger than ours actually. Only way to have so many heroes and NOT have them run into each other so often. I mean Spider-man should be swinging by Iron Man like every day and Daredevil and Moon Knight should be waving to each other from across rooftops. Their world has to be bigger for these occurances to be so rare (not to mention meeting a superhero in the first place is probably rare so criminals don't fear it too much and seeing one is still a big deal) and for there to be so many people in the first place that their crime rate is so high.
     
  20. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    you're thinking of Lorendiac
     
  21. Mister J

    Mister J Whatever It Takes

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    That's actually very smart. It parallels the themes of racism and tolerance that the X-Men served as a vehicle for. Mutants were born naturally different (i.e., different race, ethnicity, religion) than the general population (a metaphor for the perceived societal norm).
     
  22. Herr Logan

    Herr Logan Registered

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    Fear and prejudice towards mutants is also a hell of a lot more justified than the kind of prejudice we have in reality (as in, "at all").
    Intellectually, Professor X and the idealists of the X-Men are wrong; not in that they work towards a more peaceful and safe world, but in attributing all mistrust of mutants to blind, irrational racism. If I was a mutant superhero, you can be damn sure I wouldn't trust any other superpowered people unless I checked them out throroughly, and I'd still be wary of them. When you're an adult, there's absolutely no excuse for resorting to violence and overtly hateful behavior just because someone is "different," but if someone has or might have deadly powers, then they are a threat. Mutants are humans, and therefore already the most dangerous animals on the planet.

    Regardless of whether real people are as consistently violent as in the Marvel Universe, they're pretty damn violent. Add superpowers on top of that, and you've got justified fear. What can never, ever be justified from any possible point of view in those comics is when individual or mobs of normal humans persecute and bully mutants when they'd really just be making the problem worse. Having the government abduct and detain mutants can be seen as remotely rational, since they could study them or come to an "understanding" with them (turn them into agents, basically), but mindless lashing out is beyond pathetic. "Rioting" behavior is never, ever justified in any situation, real or imaginary, except when it's an actual diversion used in order to escape, and that's only if the people escaping should be going free.

    A smart person who is afraid of a mutant would keep their mouths shut and their hands to themselves or come up with the means to defend themselves in case things got rough. They can't justify even from their own cowardly point of view, however, trying to harm a child. Yeah, if I saw that kid from 'MARVELS', I'd be creeped out, too, but if I saw someone trying to hurt her, I'd fu<kcing cripple the sum'b1tch, because you don't attack children for any other reason than actual self-defense (and this happens, too, because kids can get their hands on weapons and use them, as we've seen in past years), much less just because they're ugly.

    I think the behavior shown by those rioters is somewhat realistic, because people in general are not rational (hence why deterrence isn't a significantly effective method of crime control). Find the lowest, most mindless piece of human filth we hear about in our lives, and that's the real world analogue for those people in the story.

    :wolverine
     
  23. Elijya

    Elijya Registered

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    what if it's part of an overthrow of a totalitarian government?
     
  24. Herr Logan

    Herr Logan Registered

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    Depends on how organized it is, and how careful people are not to hurt innocent others. Doesn't sound like a typical riot, but if they did it that way, more power to them.

    Of course, if I had my way, we would have a totalitarian government and you'd all behave yourselves and be civil to each other because I damn well said so, and would make sure that every new child born is indoctrinated to behave this way and know the utilitarian reasons why they should. The only significantly effective method of deterrence is educating people to be rational and fear each other equally.

    I'm not even a little bit kidding, but perhaps "authoritarian utilitarian" is a better word.

    :wolverine
     
  25. roach

    roach I am the night

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    This is why Marvel needs to farm it's heroes out to different cities. I think it is easier to get away with a crime in Gotham than Marvel NY. Batman is one guy(yeah he has the others) and doesnt always go after all crime. Marvel NY on the other hand has heroes tripping all over each other. If I was a super criminal I'd set up shop in Chicago or Dallas.
     

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