Yes, I'm leaving town. Again. As you may have surmised, I am not ecstatic about this, but I'm a sap, and let my conscience guilt me into agreeing to help the family again. At least this means I get to see Iron Man with Alex, so it isn't entirely crap. So before I depart for the Land of Sporadic Blogging, a meandering post. It's a metaphor for me using back roads to get where I'm going, because it's ostensibly more peaceful, except I eventually get tired of driving and slide into "Fuck this, I'm going 70 in a 55 zone" mode (which just means I'm driving like every other person in Missouri, so insert joke of your choice about Missourians being desperate to escape). Or it's just representative of my inability to get to the point.
I've been thinking about Marvel's Superhuman Registration Act. Yeah, that whole thing is passe, Skrulls are the big thing now, but I don't care about that. It seems as though there's two ways the Act could work, but they seem mutually exclusive. naturally, Marvel has decided they aren't, and has placed both options in play. On the one hand, the Act could apply to any person that wants to fight crime, but not be an actual cop or fed or whatever. You want to wear costumes, you sign up with SHIELD, go through their training program, get assigned to some place and there you are. (Brief aside: Do you think SHIELD has placed super-teams in other countries, a worldwide version of the Fifty States Initiative? SHIELD is supposed to be an U.N. agency these days, not a U.S. one, so it would make sense, to the extent any of this does.) This option would exclude people with powers, but no desire to do the hero thing, like Cloud 9.
That's more of a "Superhero Registration Act", but that really seemed to be the issue at hand, so that doesn't seem like a bad thing. The other option would be a more truly "Superhuman Registration Act", and it would apply to anyone classified as superhuman. Of course, Reed Richards noted (during the Simonson FF) that "superhuman" is rather difficult to define, and that's true. Is it required you have some sort of visible ability that "normal" people wouldn't have? So would that mean people like Echo, Hawkeye (both of them), Tony Stark (and would his classification change with the Extremis) and Frank Castle are exempt? None of them have powers.
All of that lead me to a different question: Are Iron Fist and Dr. Strange superhuman? Or maybe "superpowered" is a better term. They both have these extraordinary abilities, but they're learned skills, in that sense not much different from Hawkeye's archery skills. Danny Rand went through a grueling set of trials, but as we've seen, so have many others. Likewise, Dr. Strange isn't the first Sorcerer Supreme, and he won't be the last. You could look at either of their skill sets as being the equivalent of a diploma. They went somewhere that taught specific skills, took the coursework required, and and now they have these abilities which demonstrate their qualifications in those particular disciplines. I'm sure Danny could teach lots of people to kick ass like him (even if he couldn't teach them to make their like like a thing of iron), and if a snobby surgeon can learn magic, I imagine there's any number of other people that could as well.
I think this came from me reading through my Rurouni Kenshin volumes again, because you frequently see people doing things in that series that normal people probably couldn't. Characters outrun horses, block bullets fired from point blank range with the hilt of their sword, disintegrate boulders larger than sumo wrestlers with a single punch, and on and on. But there aren't any radioactive spider bites, weird mutant genes, or rocket from another world involved. The characters simply worked their tails off to get that freaking good at what they do. So theoretically, anyone could do that, if they're willing to put in the time. So does it qualify as "superhuman" when it's the result of a lot of hard work?
Alright, I've gotta run. Now where did I put my donut seat cushion?