Comic Vine News

59 Comments

Off My Mind: Should Superhero Teams be Government Sponsored?

Are they better off with funding or should they remain independent?

In a world full of supervillains and supervillain teams, you can never have too many teams of superheroes. We know that the bad guys don't always place nicely together but sometimes they will temporarily band together or there might be an extremely powerful menace out there that could be too much for the single hero. 

Many heroes fight for justice on their own without any fancy gadgets. You would think that these scrappy heroes could easily team up to fight the good fight together. There are advantages to be having a base of operations or some sort of monitoring technology to pinpoint where the big dangers are and where they are most needed. For that to happen, the team will need money. There's also the fact of having credibility with the local law enforcement.

Are teams better off organizing on their own or would things be better and easier if they were sponsored by the government? == TEASER ==

When it comes to government run teams, the first thing that comes to mind is red tape. If a government is paying the bills, they most likely have control over the team. They can determine where the team goes and possibly who gets to be on the team. That sounds like a bunch of crap. 

Teams need to be able to do what they feel is necessary. They should be able to choose who would best fight besides them. Personalities and power differences could easily play a factor in the outcome of supervillain battles.

It sounds like having a team form on their own with their own rules would be best. But there's that money factor. Unless one of the team members is independently wealthy, having a safe and secure base of operations will be difficult to maintain. If a team is independent, they won't have approval by the police and will be seen as a bunch of vigilantes. The last thing a team needs is to be hassled with threats of being arrested or gunfire from gung ho officers when they really need to be focusing on the villains and protecting the innocent.

Alpha Flight is a team run by the Canadian government. In one of the first missions we saw them on, they were ordered to go intercept the X-Men, who were heading to the United States, and bring back Wolverine, who had decided to join the American team. With their involvement during FEAR ITSELF, they will be branded traitors to their country and will be forced to be on the run. The Avengers also had to deal with government bearurocacy. When Henry Gyrich was appointed their government liason, he became a pain in the ass. At least things are a little better these days in dealing with Maria Hill or Victoria Hand.

While being approved by the government could make things easier by giving a team credibility and access to funding and technology, there will of course be a cost. Some teams like the Suicide Squad have very little choice in what they do. The Outsiders became agents of Markovia in order to receive funding. Somehow, the team needs to find an independent way to operate. It'd be great if one of the heroes was loaded or if they knew someone willing to throw some money their way. Having government clearance sounds great but having their hands tied doesn't seem to be worth it. Heroes can overcome big obstacles and finding money for a place to hang out is just a small price when it comes to fulfilling their desire to help the helpless.   
59 Comments
  • 59 results
  • 1
  • 2
Edited by Lurkin

The problem with government sponsored is then they would get caught up in all the red tape of rules and regulations.

Posted by Shadow_Thief

I think having a little of both is a good policy, a sort of checks and balances, if you will. Take Nick Fury's approach, for example. He was the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., which gave him the use of not only those resources, but also allowed him to work with "public" teams such as the Avengers. However, he wasn't above dealing under the table with groups like the X-Men or even the Punisher if he thought that what needed to be done couldn't go through official channels.

Posted by jcj145
@lurkin said:
" The problem with government sponsored is then they would get caught up in all the red tape of rules and regulations. "
Thats true, but I think a government team would be ideal if it was a black ops team. Sort of like a government sponsored X-force. In that sense they would have access to funding, information, and up to date tech. It also allows the government an easy excuse (i.e. "we have no knowledge of any such team") should something go wrong.
Posted by GraveSp

Checkmate seems to run pretty well for a government run super hero team.  Although they are less a team and more like an agency for the DCU UN.  They are kinda like the CIA but with superpowers at least thats my understanding of them


Posted by Iron Apollo

I think for there to be a healthy balance there should be both government sanctioned and non-sanctioned teams. it means that things (villains, crimes, justice) will be attempted to be handled on more levels.

Posted by Soldier zero

As I said in another topic, superheroes spawn from the same considerations that made Sherlock Holmes a private investigator, instead of a member of the police. Being on your own gave the characters a certain degree of discretion about what to do and what not to do.

Lats just take an example, after the umpteenth Doom's plot, Reed Richards went to Latveria and tries to bring down Doom on his own. the F4 are private citizens, not officially recognized officiers, so the U.S. goverment can simply discredit his actions as a personal problem. If the F4 were goverment officiers, the same goverment should decide either to punish Richards or to declare war on Latveria.

Posted by Zaber

wow
Posted by TDK_1997

I don't think superhero teams should be sponsored by the govorment

Posted by EternalBiker

I dont think the goverment should be able to determine the hero's at all !!!    they should be more concerned about the supervillians more
Posted by DoctorTrips

Never. Government sponsored teams are always bad business - it's "Attack Them" or "Do this because you work for us." that's one of the reasons I never liked the idea of the Fifty State Initiative or the revamped Squadron Supreme. Superhero groups shouldn't be tied to the government; work with the government yes, but never for the government. A superhero team should be brought together by a crisis that no one hero can handle alone such as the Avengers with Loki or the Justice League with Starro. Not convened by the Establishment because they think it's necessary.

That's why I'm not big into the idea of Nick Fury recruiting superheroes for the "Avenger Initiative" in the movies - like Captain America said in New Avengers "brought together by fate." (I'm paraphrasing of course). That fate shouldn't be Uncle Sam.

Superhero teams working for the government just doesn't sit right with me. It's like the massive loss of secret identities in Marvel and DC over the last few years; it's not superheroic it's trying to be realistic in a medium that shouldn't have anything to do with overt realism. But that's an argument for another time.

Are superhero teams being government sponsored realistic? Yes.

Is it right? Not ever.

Then again I am a purist when it comes to these matters.

Posted by Billy Batson

why not?

Posted by Eyz

I like having some of them like such, yes, but not all of them!
Not the Avengers! Nor the JL!
Then again, others like Norman's Avengers? Shield?Alpha fight? The BPRD? Alright.

They tend to end up in conflict with their superiors anyway!

Posted by blaakmawf

Not with my tax dollars. I didn't vote for that.

Posted by Dfense75

If super heroes where real I am pretty confident they would help combat their respective governments. I don't think they would appreciate being dragged into oil wars across the world or contribute to lying to their people.
Super heroes would and should be the best of us. In real life we should hold our politicians to the same standard. However they are the exact opposite.

Posted by hitechlolife

I hate the govt sponsored angle! not only is it boring, but every time they cross into international territory it becomes hard to swallow. What gives country X the right to send their dangerous superheros into another country? It was like when Steve Rogers became head of shield and Bendis wrote that he was now 'the world's top cop'.  Now it might make for an interesting story if that weirdness was acknowledged and dealt with, but too often it's just assumed these teams jurisdiction is somehow global.

That said, Peter David's original X-Factor team was great in the way it dealt with being a  Govt sponsored team.

Posted by Joe Venom

To be a superhero you would have to have some sort of funding unless your super-intelligent and live off your inventions, but then why bother being a superhero at all just make weapons for both good and bad. You could always take the Captain Amazing approach for product endorsements

 

Posted by xerox_kitty

A Day At The Office Never Looked This Good...!

When it comes to government sponsored teams, I always think of the old X-Factor. 

 

The sad thing is, as someone who works for a government agency I know that the laughs would be far & few between... while each day would be filled with the cut-backs, budgetary restraints, constantly changing policies, IT infrastructures that don't work and poor management.

 

While the logical & structured part of me says 'There should be some official means to heroing', the rest of me knows too many people who are out of the door once their day has finished.  It's hardly practical heroing to see your saviours walk away just because they've clocked up enough hours that day.  It may be 'official', but it's just another form of mercenary heroism.

Moderator
Edited by johnny_spam

A good example of where the team gets its money is always good storytelling they may not be a superhero team but the superhuman members of Planetary had a storyline all about finding out who the benefactor of the group was.

The government financing superheroes is okay it makes sense that in a world of superhero teams the government would want some say in it and make their own the problem is the same exact tropes eventually get used in the story which includes red tape, government control vs the group control and the storylines where politicians are corrupt they tend to repeat themselves more quickly than if the team was independent.

If superhero teams were real I imagine they would be a mix of Batman Incoporated, The Ultimates and maybe Wildcats with the HALO corporation. It would be a mix of companies the independently wealthy as well as maybe some government oversight may sound scary but if superheroes and villains were real it might be the least important thing on our minds.

Posted by B-Tank

I wouldn't think the goverment shouldn't be able to determine the hero's at all anyways Because the heroes should be helped by their own orgainization & Helping them too.
Posted by Agent9149

to get paid...yes

Posted by AirDave817

So, in addition to the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, West Point, Annapolis and ROTC, we would have government sposnored "vigilantes" or "heroes"?... Who would pretty much fight crime when and where they were told to based on PAC or whatever special interest...There would be hearings to investigate alleged corruption in the system...

 

I don't think S.H.I.E.L.D. is a very fun place to work. I don't think Nick Fury would be a great boss.

 

As much as I like Captain America, he's more of a symbol, and an ideal...like Uncle Sam...

Posted by PhoenixoftheTides

I think they should be; otherwise the line between vigilante justice and justice for the greater good becomes easily blurred (see: Wolverine, Batman, New Avengers).

Edited by Frobin

Why not! There's just one problem ... state or governmental funded teams usually are under the command of the government ... so they are not really superheroes ... or better said: they are just as long superheroes as long as they do not accomplish a (morally or unethical or just bad) command ... if they are commanded to act against humain rights or against their beliefs ... and they take this order ... they are just supersoldiers anymore, but no more heroes!

Seen in Marvel universe during the registration act era ... soldiers can be heroes, but heroes do not take bad orders ... heroes are definitely bound and obligated to some sort of ethical standards or just morals ... they are per definitonem "good guys" (even anti-heroes are bound to some morals, even anti-heroes believe in morals ... they just lost faith in the world or the good in mankind) ...

... so back to topic: Of course "superhero teams" can be funded by the government or the state. 
And both - idealistic heroes and anti-heroes - can, in theory, cooperate with governments and states - as long as they believe that this cooperation serves their values and goals  - but sooner or later they will get in conflict with morals and then they have to decide between being a superhero or a supersoldier!

Posted by howlett76

always thought the avengers inititative comics had the right idea.. personally surprised that the stanford incident didn't get put into play sooner..   capes shouldn't be controlled directly by government thought..     some secondary   self contained team seems the better way to go...  like shield etc..

Posted by reaper2923

Correct me iff I'm wrong but isnt the reason why people become superheroes is becasue the government fails at protecting people. Or you know they have nothing better to do

Posted by RedheadedAtrocitus

This can be both a good and bad idea, and ironically its for the exact same two reasons you mention, legitimacy and money.  On the former of the two issues it is good to have government sanction of a superhero group so that they no longer have the status of vigilante and are seen operating outside of the law.  It could make their job a lot easier and get other government functions (i.e. police forces) to cooperate if superheroes were government agents.  The problem with doing such a thing is, what happens when the superheroes become controlled by a government that has insidious purposes? I mean God forbid The 99 be employed by the repressive regime of President Ahmadinjead in Iran.  Superhero teams then become potential villains.  On the other issue with regard to money, yes, government sanction is good because of the availability of lots and lots of funds, which could help such groups in their pursuit  of justice and righteousness.  Yet on the other hand just as you point out, if they are mostly seeking said sanction, then most superhero groups would go the way of either the Suicide Squad or the Secret Six; becoming essentially government regulators and mercenaries.  After all, though such teams have to be realistic when it comes to financing their missions, should it not also be their duty to do it not for the money, but to do what is right?  In conclusion then, for these two reasons, legitimacy and money can be double edged swords for government sponsorship of superhero groups.  Damned if they do, damned they don't in a way.

Posted by dewboy01


damned the governments! they don't care about what superhoes do, to them their nothing but weapons for more politics and taxes! they want to turn superhoes nothing more but blood thirsty killing machines. Superheores, aren't made or born without the decision at heart, but governments will never own them, EVER!! they rather die than be someone's bitches.We superheroes don't belong to the government, we blong to the people's hopes and dreams, of freedom and tyranny.

 

So the government can go chew on that!!

Posted by Kairan1979

I can only repeat what I've told in similar topic: superheroes shouldn't be controlled by the government. Or it's a question of time before they turn into supersoldiers, or mercenaries, or superpowered secret agents. But they won't be heroes!

Edited by EquitasInvictus

Having anything government-sponsored is always a tightrope. The biggest issue is that the superheroes would be resigning a level of autonomy to the government, potentially restricting the level of heroism they might have intended to accomplish. 


Then there's the worst case scenario of having superheroes involved in the grimy field of politics. At some point of being used as political tools, could they even be considered heroes anymore?

I'd say privatized funding for superheroes is the lesser evil, here.

Posted by Golden Cod
@xerox-kitty said:
"
A Day At The Office Never Looked This Good...!

When it comes to government sponsored teams, I always think of the old X-Factor. 

 

The sad thing is, as someone who works for a government agency I know that the laughs would be far & few between... while each day would be filled with the cut-backs, budgetary restraints, constantly changing policies, IT infrastructures that don't work and poor management.

 

While the logical & structured part of me says 'There should be some official means to heroing', the rest of me knows too many people who are out of the door once their day has finished.  It's hardly practical heroing to see your saviours walk away just because they've clocked up enough hours that day.  It may be 'official', but it's just another form of mercenary heroism.

"
Ooooh I like the points you make.   I can almost see a satirical comic book about a super team that ends up fighting bureaucracy more then it fights villains.   It needs to be written if it hasn't already.
Posted by Moonleming

 http://lawandthemultiverse.com/2010/11/30/is-batman-a-state-actor/

Interprets many comic book legal issues.  Very fun stuff.

Posted by Out_of_Space

A real superhero or superhero team should never get paid.

Edited by weapon154

Remember what happened last time with the government?
Posted by Herx

I think i've posted an answer to a topic like this before, and i still remain the same. Goverments and their agendas change over the course of years. So if one goverment did decide to sponcer a team and then let the team do it's usual heroing it dosen't necessarly mean that the next goverment will do the same. It could end up being a case of them demanding the heroes to do something that they usualy wouln't do or threten to be cut off from the funding and losing all of their equiptment and bases ( not to mention thir secret identities going pulic, which would most likely end up making the heroes lives worse ). And also, sometimes, the villains who need to be taken down work inside the goverment ( president Luthor anyone? ).
Also there's the problem of a goverment interpritatiotn ( as well as ignorance ) about a situation. If i remember correctly it was becasue of such reasons that the JSA were made to disband in the 50's becasue the goverment refused to belive that there was an organization / nation out in the world more advanced than the US, and made it look like the JSA were making up the whole story t cover their tracks that they were possible enemy spies.
So yeh, red tape and ignorance dont really work well with super-hero groups.

Posted by Coldbrand

No.

Posted by fbdarkangel

Bake Sales and Car Washes! Always the way to go!

Posted by Doctor!!!!!


Of course they should, you don't want to be locked up by them.


 

 


 

Posted by WadeWilson

well..obviously NO

Posted by They Killed Cap!

I think this is the most realistic place you would find a superhero team. But seeing as the government cant manage anything without messing it I don't think it would be a good idea,
Posted by mikeclark1982

do not forget about x-factor. they began as a front as a mutant extermination unit only to be rescuers of mutants, and then pimped out to the us government. 

Posted by bjmorga

I have no strong opinion either way, but it sure as hell would be fun to read some tea bagger go off on this in the read world.

Posted by DKing_CiCADA

I would want to fight for my beliefs not for the government, sure you would have money and benefits, but whats a hero without challenges 

Posted by Manchine

Personally I think both are great.
Posted by NightFang
@Doctor!!!!! said:
"Of course they should, you don't want to be locked up by them.

"

When they can look up the Doctor, then the heroes really don't have a choice.  
Posted by Xaviersx

Government would form there own teams.  Depending on the government they can force form a team.  In a free (democratic) country not suffering from paranoia about superheroes, they can sponsor their own supertroopers just like any branch of the military and/or law enforcement.  They shoulder that responsibility as well.  They break it or want it,  eminent  domain it . . .  

As for non-government (private) teams, again depends on the society where it forms.  It could be heroes and anti-government or pro, so conflict will be borne out of the circumstances.  The team is responsible for its successes and failures, so hopefully at least a private sponsor (businesses or billionaires) or team member (reckless billionaire)  can foot the team and legal bills.

Posted by PowerHerc


No. 

The government is a combination of bought-and-paid-for politicians and entrenched bureaucrats who lack the necessary guts, morality and altruism to ever control superpowered people.  Any power the government could ever have over superheroes/superhero teams would inevitably be abused in the name of "the greater good," "national security," or some other such supposed emergency situation, but in reality the powers-that-be would be using them to promote their own agendas, look out for their cronies or some other form of self-serving B.S. 

This is how they currently use the military, the FBI and the CIA; so why would superheroes/superhero teams be any different?  They wouldn't be any different.  They'd just be the latest, and potentially, most powerful tool for the government to use however they want.

Posted by Serpent

Government and politics has no place in being a hero.

Posted by guardiandevil801

not a good idea
Posted by JonesDeini
@Soldier zero said:
" As I said in another topic, superheroes spawn from the same considerations that made Sherlock Holmes a private investigator, instead of a member of the police. Being on your own gave the characters a certain degree of discretion about what to do and what not to do.Lats just take an example, after the umpteenth Doom's plot, Reed Richards went to Latveria and tries to bring down Doom on his own. the F4 are private citizens, not officially recognized officiers, so the U.S. goverment can simply discredit his actions as a personal problem. If the F4 were goverment officiers, the same goverment should decide either to punish Richards or to declare war on Latveria. "
Yup, I say the world needs both to function. You need the controlled heroes to ease the publics minds and the vigilantes to get the real dirty work done. 
Posted by DarkShadows

Governments+Heroes= Big no, no.

  • 59 results
  • 1
  • 2