I briefly touch on any sort of politics with superheroes in the first Superpowered book. Working with the second book, it’s dawned on me just how much I’m going to be dealing with the politics of a world teaming with superheroes. The predominant politician I deal with in the second book is an Alabama senator by the name of Richard Walker. Yes, I named him that so that I could have the characters ironically refer to him as “dick”, and I get to make jokes. I may as well be a 12 year old trapped inside a 32 year old body. I’m not going to reveal the nature of this man’s character through this blog (right now at least), but it’s safe to assume a few things based on his name.
So what can you do about superheroes that have run amok? How can you get a handle on a situation that can easily spiral out of control? You legislate them of course! Of course politics and superheroes have been mixed in before. Look no further than Xmen and the never ending desire to register mutants, and then of course the Marvel civil war that caused tons of infighting. I’m sure there’s more, but those are the only ones that occur to me right off hand. What we’re dealing with in the world of Superpowered though, is a world filled to the brim with normal people who absolutely love superheroes. That tends to complicate things.
Humanity was essentially conditioned to love supers before they came to fruition because of comic books and TV shows. They inspired wonder, admiration, and they fulfilled that base desire of vigilante justice that we all have, but never act on. Look no further than http://www.reddit.com/r/justiceporn for proof of that. Just to let you know, there’s no actual porn involved, but it’s full of stories, videos, and pictures that make you go “Hell yeah! Take that you idiot!” So then it becomes how do you balance these humans with god-like powers with the law, and the safety of the rest of us? You pass zoning laws, you pass insurance laws, you pass laws that allow the authorities to use whatever force necessary, you pass laws to limit superheroes from playing professional sports or serving in the military. Much to the chagrin of the United States, the U.N. passed a resolution banning all superheroes from military service, going so far as to declare it a war crime.
Of course you have politicians lining up to pass legislation either for their backers that have financial interest in rampaging supers, or for grieving widows they drag in front of television cameras in order to clamp down on supers just a little bit more. New York has banned people from using superpowers at all within city limits. How can they enforce something like that? Specialized weapons and ammunition that are able to temporarily drain superheroes of their powers. Ironically, someone with super intellect helped to design all of these tools. Despite their amazing abilities, they have unfortunately been relegated to second class citizenship. When the normal population outnumbers the super population by a few million to one, you’re left with no choice but to choke on the rules set before you. Luckily, many supers are able to carve out very comfortable and lucrative lifestyles. Typically those that attempt to break the rules or work outside the letter of the law are quickly snuffed out. The superhero community is rife with various shades of gray, but nothing is so simple as to be black and white, good and evil. Super villains always go extinct shortly after making themselves known. Aside from all the “heroes” that are out for their blood, the general populace is capable of quickly raising an army to put down any rogue supers.
I hope you’ve enjoyed this little bit of insight into the politics around the world of Superpowered! Expect to see a lot more of this in the second book, once I finish it…eventually. I’m doing my best to force my way through a nasty bout of writer’s block mixed with real life things that are causing delays, but I assure you, the second book is definitely in progress.