Rick Remender; a writer for whom I have growing affection for his work with Doctor Voodoo, Avenger of the Supernatural, Uncanny X-Force and Secret Avengers; seems to have really trodden in it, in an almost perfect reverse of what I would call the Orson Scott Card Effect.
In the conclusion to Uncanny Avengers #5, Havok stepped forward and made an impassioned speech against the bigotry that mutants face, saying that mutant was the ‘M-word’, divisive among people who were when all is said and done, all humans. Humans defined not by their blood and their genes, but by their choices and their actions.
To throw this writer’s own views into the mix, surely the measure of a man is his actions (insert non-gender specific terms here)? Yet, there were many commentators on the internet that took exception to this, believing that Havok was preaching a denial of minority identity, and thus throwing out a philosophy of assimilation rather than integration. Worse still, these views were attributed to be Remender’s own, rather than just one of his characters.
Firstly, balderdash! Where in Havok’s statement is the urge to deny one’s identity? Surely it is a call to establish one’s identity?
Secondly, how come we are not chastising Remender for the views espoused by the Red Skull? Or any of the other characters Remender has brought to life in his pages? Is not Captain America a symbol of rampant nationalism? (Answer: no, he isn’t, but you could view him that way. Cap is the best of America, what the American Dream promises, not the reality that stands either in that world or ours.)
The whole point over the years since Alex Summer’s introduction to continuity is how, even victim to many of Mister Sinister’s manipulations like his brother, Havok is a completely different person to his brother Scott. Considering how dark the adult Scott has become, this counterpoint is easier to play, but it also involves Alex taking a stand. It is logical.
After all, Scott’s own version of mutant empowerment seems to have gone off the rails somewhat, taking a darker turn striving for power at the expense of others. Xavier’s dream has been abandoned.
These are all fictional constructs. Just as I stated with regards to the Orson Scott Card controversy, we cannot judge a story by the politics of the writer; nor can we truly judge the politics of a writer by the driving philosophies of their characters. Not when they are attempting to craft a world that progresses logically and is fully fleshed out.
Otherwise we would have camps full of writers who have dared write about the darker sides of life. What about the creators of Dexter, huh? That’s a pretty twisted idea.
Of course, Remender’s casual response before he realised the depth and sensitivity of the argument of the now deleted tweet ‘If Havok’s position in UA#5 really upsets you, it’s time to drown yourself [in] hobo piss’ (sic), did little to diffuse the situation.
But if Warren Ellis had said this, I doubt anybody would have batted an eyelid.
Double standards, anybody?