This Magazine Kills Fascists: ‘Secret Wars’ And The Hubris Of The Sore Winner
This Magazine Kills Fascists looks at times that comic books and superheroes have dealt with tyrannical, corrupt and outright fascist world leaders — not because we think we can find a solution, but because art can provide inspiration in the face of oppression.
Secret Wars by Jonathan Hickman, Esad Ribic and Ive Svorcina is about as fantastical and traditionally superheroic a story as we're likely to cover in this column. However, when you break it apart and look at the pieces, there's a certain parallel to the state of the world as it stands today that's interesting to note, and it reminds us that men with the most power are usually the sorest losers, even when they think they've won.
There's a lot of backstory and worldbuilding behind Secret Wars that I could go into, but suffice to say it takes place in world where Doctor Doom is capital-g God. After all of his plans, all of his defeats, and all of his failures, he has finally managed to take over a chunk of reality following a multiversal cataclysm and proclaim himself the supreme ruler... and he's bored.
Doom realizes that being in power over everything means that you actually have to govern, and even with the power of a God at his disposal, Doom finds that he can't do everything he wants --- and this is a man who turned the Human Torch into the sun. He wanted the world in the palm of his hand, but that just means having to listen to his subordinates squabble among themselves and spend more time than he'd like rooting out insurrection.
When survivors from the previous reality arrive and realize what has happened, they start chipping away at his power, and its almost comical how quickly it slips away. As soon as Doom shows any sorts of weakness, his allies strike against him, and the people flock to the mysterious Prophet who leads them in a revolution.
When confronted with a real leader like Reed Richards, Doom lashes out, but is ultimately humbled, and he admits that Reed would have done a much better job in his place. Men like Doctor Doom are essentially children throwing a tantrum --- and that tantrum can be destructive --- and there are few things children like less than being told "no."
What we can learn from Secret Wars is that challenging power and keeping the pressure on works, and while authoritarians might think that being in power is enough, they can quickly find out just how far that power stretches.
The fight back can be grueling, but persistence is key, because it will inspire those who need it and scare those who fear it. When they warn you off, when they tell you no; persist.
There are a number of worthy causes that all need help, support and donations now more than ever. If you can, please consider donating to any of the following institutions:
- American Civil Liberties Union
- Planned Parenthood
- The Trevor Project
- Trans Lifeline
- Standing Rock
- Council on American-Islamic Relations
- National Immigration Law Center
- Bend The Arc
- The American Association of People With Disabilities
- The National Alliance To End Homelessness
- The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence
- The National Park Foundation
For post-election resources, Holy F— The Election is a great starting point. The website uses some strong language.