Only a left-winger can take a comic book character that was first introduced in 1964 and turn it into a comment on George Zimmerman. But that is exactly what happened at the left-wing Internet rag Salon.com.
Salon’s Scott Eric Kaufman, in fact, used his whole piece to make a strange argument that the new Internet-based version of the Marvel comic character is at once like George Zimmerman, yet not a commentary on today’s world–even though he thinks it should be. Maybe.
Early in his review, Kaufman complains that the way the comic character enacts his TV justice, is “extrajudicial” and “dangerously close to George Zimmerman territory.”
This is a bit of an absurd comparison to make. After all, isn’t every comic book hero a vigilante that could be compared to George Zimmerman at some level or so? Seriously, what comic hero isn’t the sort that takes security, or justice, or retribution, or what have you, into his own hands?
The use of Zimmerman here is simply an effort to be controversial and is not in any way a legitimate point to make unless you are going to launch into a condemnation of all comic book characters. And this Kaufman doesn’t do.
Kaufman then goes on a confusing tour ping-ponging from the thought that super hero shows are a cop out if they don’t comment on current events–like the current issue of cops shooting unarmed civilians–to accepting that they don’t. Much of what he put in his review seems like pointless filler, especially the several paragraphs wasted over quoting the University of Missouri’s Andrew Hoberek, but Kaufman does finally make an interesting point at the very end of his article, one he too briefly touched on above.
“But what makes “Daredevil” compelling television is, I think, more the critique it levies at a Hollywood industry obsessed with destroying the world…. and utterly uninterested in what it is required to rebuild it,” he wrote.
As I noted, Kaufman too briefly alludes to this point earlier in the piece when he said, “all of the shows Marvel will be producing with Netflix take place in this same small slice of the Marvel cinematic universe–and all of them address the human cost of having your city host a Hollywood action sequence.”
After that Kaufman didn’t really get to his point until the end and it is an interesting point, indeed.
These shows are going to address what happens in the city that was destroyed by an alien invasion but prevented by Joss Whedon’s Avengers film. These shows will address the mess that the Avengers left and will detail how the city and its residents will recover from it.
This is a very interesting and ambitious premise that is entirely contained in the Marvel story line. And it isn’t a commentary on today’s current events. It is a story. A tale meant to bring enjoyment and diversion, not social commentary.
In the end, I can’t tell if Kaufman accepts this as the final word on the Marvel story plan in general and “Daredevil” in particular or if he’s mad that the show is refusing to comment on today’s “problems” between cops and the public.