Now with full transcripts! -- Episode 182: Checks and balances? Betrayal of trust? Faith restored? Our heads are spinning! (Avengers #13 Part 2) -- February 1964
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In this episode:
Mike and Ed discuss the ending of martial law and the innocence of the Avengers. They were framed by Count Nefaria, but the events showed just how poorly the country was prepared for our heroes turning on us. And why were we fooled to begin with? Shouldn’t there be some method of double-checking when a hero declares war to make sure it really is the hero? We live in a world of mind control, and magical and technological illusions. Some sort of back-up plan should be in place. Why wasn’t it? Also: After causing a national state of emergency, why is Count Nefaria being deported rather than charged with the crimes he committed in this country? Do all Counts get diplomatic immunity? Even when they cause the Avengers to battle the U.S. Air Force?
Behind the comic:
This is the first appearance of Count Nefaria. He will soon battle the X-Men and Iron Man in a solo outing. Eventually, he dies due to his experiments, but is resurrected to join the Legion of the Unliving. While he never achieved iconic status, he is active in the Marvel Universe to this day.
In this issue:
The Avengers have successfully stymied American crime, and the Maggia is unhappy about it. Their secret leader is Count Nefaria, the most powerful crime lord on earth. He is also the wealthiest European nobleman. He decides to move to America, having his castle rebuild brick by brick in America. He meets with the Avengers and basically creates holograms of them. He sends thr hologram Avengers into the real world and has them basically declare war on the US. The US responds by declaring the Avengers enemies of the state. This all happens while the Avengers are basically kept in suspended animation. They are released from suspended animation and are attacked by American troops. They respond by battling the armed forces, only to find that they are public enemy number one. The Avengers eventually figure out what has happened and they confront Count Nefaria and defeat him. Count Nefaria is deported, and the Avengers are left with one of their own, the Wasp, having been struck down.
Assumed before the next episode:
People are happy the Avengers did not try to take over America, but they are not exactly comfortable with the idea that they could probably take on the combined U.S. armed forces.
This episode takes place:
After some major P.R. on behalf of the Avengers, the former, wrongfully accused, enemies of the state.
Full transcript of the episode:
Edward: All right, Mike. It was not mind control. It was not the chameleon doing an impression of them. But, the Avengers are not actually trying to take over America. It was all a false alarm.
Michael: What an alarm. False alarm though. I mean there was conflict between the Avengers and the American military
Edward: Correct. So the confrontation that happened in New Jersey where the Avengers fought the Air Force, that was the real Avengers fighting the real Air Force. They took down the planes. The Avengers, the real Avengers actually did go into hiding. They were at large. The prior where the Avengers actually threatened the Pentagon, the thing that started the incident that started all of this where the Avengers threatened America's democracy and tried to dismiss the Pentagon. Those were not the real Avengers
Michael: is what we're being told. And it's just, but it's. I don't know. There's mistakes and then there's mistakes, right? like, I mean, so if there wasn't mind control and this wasn't, imposters, if this is just a misunderstanding, it's quite the misunderstanding. Cuz it's like if, the Grand Admiral, the Navy has a misunder, there's a misunderstanding about where their loyalties lie and the Navy goes to, gets into a scrap with the rest of the armed forces cuz the adventures are basically part of our armed forces. And it just , it just seems like something you have to be sure about and, you know, and it's like, especially given they have high security clearances.
They're granted extraordinary powers. Masked vigilantes, that have effectively turned into an arm of a division of our government. And the idea that you just assume that they turned against you based on a misunderstanding. I dunno. It was blowing my mind, Ed.
Edward: It's clear that, that we jumped the gun, right. To be clear this is Count Nefario, who is the, richest nobleman in Europe has admitted to causing all these problems. And what he did is he created some sort of electro images of the Avengers. An illusion effectively, that apparently had the ability to be seen and heard. And he sent these illusions at the Pentagon and made this whole thing start. But I guess the first question is why do we believe that? Why were we fooled by these illusions? is there not some sort of double check, double checking mechanism to be like, Oh, you know what? Captain America just said that he's declaring war in America. Let's call Captain America and make sure that this is the real guy. This is, we're sure about this. like what's the. Hey, Captain, before you declare war on US Captain America please tell us the code that we've given you to verify that you actually are Captain America. What if an illusion of the president comes in and says like, I want to fire a nuclear weapon. We have nuclear codes that he has to type in. So we can't get fooled by a president impersonator. Why are we being fooled by a Captain America Impersonation?
Michael: Well, maybe this shows a bit of the naivety on the American military and government that they didn't have those built in redundancies or, backups or fail safes. Right. I'm sure that the American intelligence agencies are always checking to make sure that there aren't any slip-ups with people in high ranking authority, the American military and, government. That's the point of intelligence gathering operations to make sure you're not surprised. And I guess what this shows is that maybe there isn't, there wasn't that level of intelligence operations within the Avengers, which we know is, well, it's only five people. there's more to them than that. I mean, especially given their connections with Star Corp. So maybe it's just shows the naivety
And then the next step is interesting competence. I think there's gonna be a crackdown. Well, there should be. There should be. Like, there has to be where you have to make sure. Sorry, but you, It's that the adventures themselves are gonna be like, under greater scrutiny and, they'll know it now because it's for their own benefit as much as anyone else too.
Edward: I wonder how much of it was that, first of all, we didn't have the processes in place and we need to have those processes in place. We live in a world where mind control exists, where Mastermind is a criminal that the Xmen shared with us that can create these illusions.
We, knew that, the ability to create, We didn't know about Campari's illusions, but we knew that there were villains out there that had the ability to create illusions. We needed to have, measures in place so we're not fooled by them. I also wonder how much of it was That people kind of just believed it without question, as soon as Avengers turned on us, it wasn't a matter of like, this is not possible. It was, Oh, this is happening. Let's deal with it. Like it feels when the top heroes in your country turn against you. Maybe we shouldn't have just like taken it at face value.
Michael: I think, ready fire aim is not a good approach to dealing with people who have, you know, been rightly without it for being heroes. I mean, it was shockingly last time we were speaking about this, you know, we were, well, we were in shock, because we couldn't believe what was happening. And I think to be fair to us, it did seem that it was happening because you wouldn't assume that the American military would go to go to war with the ventures over a misunderstanding. So it is quite shocking. It's something that has to, that we have to, I'd imagine there's gonna be congressional hearings in this for years.
Edward: A few other things that are worth talking about. So, number two is, when we last spoke, we talked about why weren't the Fantastic four and the X-Men called in to deal with this. Mm-hmm. , I think we've, we've found out now that they were actually specifically asked to step down. Like they, they basically were told to stay back and let the military handle it. And I, I. Number one, whether that, Well, first of all, was, was that a good idea in not, or should they have done that or should the process be in place that the other heroes take charge when that happens? Or number two is were there suspicions already that the Avengers kind of weren't the enemy here and that's why they held back the Fantastic Four as we'll use them if we need them, but let's just keep things under control and not start a superhero war until we're really, really sure that these guys are actually the problem.
Michael: I don't know because my thinking was just that if the intelligence operations with respect to the Avengers are so piss poor, then I'd imagine they would be similarly, ine. For the fantastic for the Xmen, such that I don't think the military could really trust what they were seeing or what, or their, their past relationships. So my thing is they wouldn't bring them in because they didn't wanna compound the problem the way we were talking about it in our last broadcast, but who knows? I mean, what's sort of interesting is that there doesn't seem to be any kind of countermeasures set up for the avenger. because we didn't see that in the field. We didn't see, how Dr. Blake had created that Andrea that could effectively respond to Thor. But I didn't hear about that being put into the field.
Edward: It just, what you're saying is that this was kind of like, If the Avengers or the Fantastic Four, the X-Men did turn against our country for real, this was the dry run on how we would respond.
And like, I dunno, the grade is not a D minus. Do we give them an F? Yeah,
Michael: It's terrible. It's terrible. And so, and I think I wouldn't probably chance bringing in other superpower people that might not be on your side. This is a huge deal. It's should shock the world into preparing countermeasures to combat the potential. Of the Avengers turning on us, in a democracy where we're set up with checks and balances, just doesn't seem to be any, for superpowered individuals still, and we've been talking about this for a long time, but there should be.
Edward: And if anything I think makes it, it makes it worse because now imagine military recruitment is never easy, right? Recruiting kids to go and join the militaries is hard. You're asking them to potentially sacrifice their life for the country, but now they, number one is you can be called up if you, even if you're a reservist, they were called up in this situation where right reservists are rarely called up in this country. And so they were called up and then they're called to do, they're called up and asked to fight a mythical God. Like, like, like you're, you're talking some, some 18 year old kid and we're saying, Hey, here, here, take this rifle and you are gonna have to fight the God of Thunder. It's one thing to go up against,, Vietcong, or humans. It's another thing to fight a Giant Man.
Michael: I know you're gonna fight somebody that can shrink the size of an ant and then grow to the size of, an elephant, in a matter of seconds. Or you might fight against, one of the greatest American heroes, Captain America, like an expert in hand, hand combat that to help bring down the Nazis. I mean, it's a lot. What we're really circling around is the fact that. We have in our emergency preparedness, we get a failing grade. And what's gonna happen now at Imagine is that there's gonna be investigations into why. And I think that all superheroes, no matter. Their past service are gonna be under greater scrutiny, and I would even suggest possibly greater control. At the same time, there's gonna be, a greater investment into countermeasures to combat them. Even though it turns out that it wasn't the emergency. We thought it was, it still wasn't very good. It's not good for anybody it turns out.
Edward: And meanwhile, the guy who caused all this is Count Nefario. He's not being charged. He's being deported, but what he did caused, Well, it could have been worse. Right? The battle between the Avengers and the Air Force that happened that was caused because of his, actions. No one was, killed. But million dollar fighter jets were destroyed. And they could have been if it had been successful, if the Air Force had successfully killed Captain America, this guy would be directly responsible for that and we're just deporting him back to Europe
Michael: Well, don't ignore the fact that he potentially destabilized the world order…
Edward: …with no consequences. It was just last week that we talked about, Bruce Banner being charged with treason. They charged the Avengers with treason. Now those, both, those charges, all those charges have been pulled away. I guess we can't charge them with, treason if they're not American, so I guess we can't charge count nefario with treason. But what's the equivalent of treason for someone who's not American? It's not being deported. It's, what? He's an enemy combatant now. Like shouldn't we put him into prison?
Michael: I don't think he's, a diplomat or something. He's a rich European and I think a rich
Edward: He's a count, He's a noble. Do all nobles get diplomatic immunity?
Michael: No, they don't. And so he committed crimes in America. So, sending him back to Europe is not what should happen. He should have been arrested. Maybe though, Maybe the American government was just sweeping us under the rug, because there's the reasons we've been discussing that. It was such a catastrophic intelligence military. Political failure, they just wanna forget about it. they wanna just move past it as if we should, which we shouldn't. I mean, this is so bad. He's clearly an enemy of America. We don't know the reason why he did this, but I can't imagine it's because he's got our best interest at heart . So why don't, we shouldn't, shouldn't there be, he should have been arrested or should have been a trial and there should be a further investigation. It's, pretty tough. But we'll see. tough day I guess, but we'll see. Cuz it's interesting for us, cuz we have a show about this, but you know,
Edward: Never a dull moment Mike. Never a dull moment.