Monday, June 24, 2013

Great Comics You May Have Missed: The Order


Marvel's Civil War event and its aftermath was problematic on a number of levels.  I'll probably get into all of that in a future post, but for now I'd like to focus on one of the really great things to come out of it:  The Order.  At the end of Civil War, every state had its own government sponsored super team, and California's was the Order.  What made them different from the typical teams was that each team member had powers that were given to them through a process that was designed in such a way that the folks running the program could flip a switch and take their powers away again.

The members of the Order normally had their powers for a year, and then they had to give them up.  If they were caught using their powers improperly, or doing things that could cause a loss of control (drinking to excess, drug use, etc.), they would have their powers stripped and a new person would replace them on the team with a new set of powers.  The core cast was a mixture of people from all walks of life, each with their own reason to want to be on the team.

Everyone on the team was a volunteer, which made it a really interesting idea from the start.  In comics, people that gained their powers voluntarily are very rare, primarily for story reasons, and those who do are usually cast as villains.  Civil War, in the beginning, was supposed to be about the conflict between personal freedom and civil duty, and The Order did a far better job of examining the issue than the main story ever did.  More importantly, it's a great, entertaining book, full of action, humor, and great dialog.  It unfortunately only lasted 10 issues, as Marvel told Matt Fraction he could either continue writing The Order or take over on Iron Man, and he understandably chose the latter, but the characters from the core team still show up from time to time elsewhere.  It's probably in my top ten of new books from the last decade, and it's cheap on Comixology right now.
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