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The Dark Phoenix Jones Saga

"We talking about fictional characters here.  Fictional.  Characters.  Am I getting through to you at all?"
--Holden
Jay And Silent Bob Strike Back

Evidence suggests that, as much as I dump on superhero comics in general, on some level, I do like them.  I enjoy the older stories.  I was a Captain America fan as a kid.  Mark Waid's run on The Flash is one of the best ever, as well as his take on the Legion Of Super HeroesThor The Mighty Avenger was actually pretty good.  I love Power Pack.  And let's face it -- Quantum Redshift is the classic superhero paradigm shoehorned into the modern era.  I could see myself writing some stories with the Cap or Batman or Supergirl or something like that.

That said, there is an awareness that these are just stories.  As a kid, I guess I might have wanted to be a superhero.  I don't remember, but it's such a common thing for kids, I'm figuring it has to be in there somewhere.  I used to think about trying to cosplay at cons, but rejected it when I realized my body type does not look good in spandex (just doing my part to Keep America Beautiful).  But that was just a moment of fun.  Hey, look at me, I'm dressed like whoever.  But there's an awareness that it's just pretend.  Maybe it's the logistics -- I understand that superheroes just can't exist in the modern day with cell phone cameras and Google and everything.  Maybe it's awareness -- putting on a costume and being on the side of Right and Justice does not make you invincible.  Dress up like Batman and head to Chicago's South Side and you ain't going to be around in the morning.

The current crop of superhero movies has spawned a real life trend -- real life superheroes.  There's one in Britain calling himself The Statesman.  It only took a day to learn his real identity (and I'm guessing it took a day because most of the people on the chans are stoned half the time).  The frontrunner in this regard is Phoenix Jones.  He's a real life superhero patroling Seattle, WA.  He made news and even got on CNN when his face took a pounding, but he's still out there, being a tough guy.  Folks, I'd rather trust the Guardian Angels, who are taught and trained how to deal with these things without getting arrested or sued than this.

Turns out that not only is Phoenix Jones not an isolated incident, but he's creating a sort of real life version of Marvel's Civil War.  The Wall Street Journal has a report that made my eyes bug out.  I mean, I didn't know it was this extensive.  The plot points:

*  Most real life superheroes deliver food to the homeless or just patrol, calling the police when something goes down.  No need for a costume to do that, but hey, it ain't the strangest thing I've even seen.

*  Phoenix Jones is a loose cannon and I want his badge on my desk...sorry.  Jones gets physical.  He's assaulted drug dealers and been beaten up and shot in the process.  According to Knight Owl, “For the first time, we have someone who agrees with our overall purpose but doesn’t agree with our methods. I suppose it was bound to happen, but it’s definitely a growing pain within the community. Whether intentionally or not, he’s representing the  community now, and that makes some people nervous."

*  Jones was kicked out of the superhero community.  So he founded his own, the Rain City Superheroes.  Other members include Buster Doe, Pitch Black, Blue Sparrow and Ski Man.  Jones told the press, “Handing out food to the homeless is an entirely worthy thing to do, but it’s not what superheroes do. If you’re going to drive a fire truck, people are going to expect you to put out fires. If you dress up like a superhero, people are going to expect you to fight crime… I don’t see the point in handing sandwiches to homeless people in areas in which the homeless are getting abused, attacked, harassed by drug dealers.”

*  Yes, at this point, it does sound like a high schooler's first superhero story.  And no, I'm not entirely sure some of this isn't just made up.

*  In January, the Real Life Superhero group attempted to cooperate with the Rain City Superheroes, going out on patrols together.  But that didn't last long.

*  Zetaman of RLS took it to his blog, saying, “all of us are afraid of one day someone is going to get killed and it’ll be all over… I don’t need this kind of macho crap in my life and I don’t need to prove myself to anyone, least of all to Phoenix Jones and his Rain City Superhero Movement.”

Oh, great.  Nerd war at 12 o'clock.  And they actually can cause physical harm.

Maybe I should go back to denying I like superheroes.

Comments

ying_ko_4
Feb. 25th, 2011 04:27 pm (UTC)
You're making this up, right? Now way this is real...right? Please tell me this is a bad movie idea....

Please....?
sinetimore
Feb. 26th, 2011 03:23 am (UTC)
I quote the immortal Cecil Adams....

"Hey, we're ALWAYS serious here. It's REALITY that's the joke!"
ozma914
Feb. 26th, 2011 10:13 am (UTC)
Not the least bit surprising. So many of us fantasize about the possibility of putting on a mask, going out, and making a real, direct difference in your communities -- in a society this diverse, sooner or later someone's going to take that step over the reality line and try it for real. I believe the show "Hill Street Blues" did a storyline about this way back in the 80's. It didn't end well.
sinetimore
Feb. 26th, 2011 02:19 pm (UTC)
Oh, yes. Unfortunately, a lot of superhero stories (especially titles by Rob Liefeld) are largely adolescent power fantasies, not stories. It's part of what made the original Death Wish so chilling for me -- I could see it happening. So seeing someone deciding to act them out in real life is sad but not surprising.

The only bright side is the majority of people have their heads on straight. The aftermath of the Arizona Massacre is a good example, where armed citizens kept their cool and things didn't turn into Dodge City. In other words, the worst case scenario everyone fears never happened. It's just a few bad apples that have to be worried about. Unfortunately, those few bad apples can do a lot of damage before they are found and removed.
ozma914
Feb. 27th, 2011 06:51 am (UTC)
There will always be bad apples ... in one form or another ...

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