It’s part of Marvel’s stupid “Civil War” series, which takes on terrorism and Arab dictatorship by having superheroes fight amongst themselves over a government anti-secret-identity law. Captain America naturally leads the dissenters, thereby validating left-leaning nerd fantasies about who the real patriots are and the Resistance they’re all sure they’re part of.

And just as naturally, he’s marked for death:

[Marvel Editor-in-Chief Joe] Quesada said he wanted to readers find [sic] their own meaning in Cap’s end.

“There is a lot to be read in there. But I’m not one who is going to tell people, this is what you should read into it, because I could look into it and read several different types of messages,” he told CNN.

The head writer, Mark Millar, wrote an alternate-history graphic novel in 2003 that imagined what Superman would have been like if he had crash-landed in the Soviet Union instead of Smallville. No joke. From an interview in 2004:

I was fortunate enough to have pitched this idea in a period when America still believed in freedom of speech. This isn’t a slight at the publishers in any way because they gave me no resistance whatsoever, but it’s clear that something like this would be a harder sell in the perpetual state of war and fear that’s been engineered in the States by the un-elected junta sitting in the Oval Office…

Like the Bush administration, Superman absolutely believes he’s doing the right thing when he steamrollers over all these weaker states and enforces a global ideology on the human population. However, we as the reader get nervous at the blurred lines between his utopia and the totalitarian state we see in the book, and which we seem to be heading for in real life as the US constitution is torn up before our eyes.

Interviewed yesterday by UPI for why Marvel would kill off a beloved character, here’s what another “Civil War” writer had to say. Consider this your quote of the day:

Series writer Ed Brubaker, 40, said he wanted to explore what the hero meant to the country.

“What I found is that all the really hardcore left-wing fans want Cap to be standing out on and giving speeches on the street corner against the Bush administration and all the really right-wing (fans) all want him to be over in the streets of Baghdad, punching out Saddam,” Brubaker said.

He will not be missed.

Exit question: What are the odds that Cap’s assassin will turn out to be a hitman commissioned by a president with strangely chimp-like features?

Update: Via Niko K., we need a lot less Millar and a lot more Miller: “Patriotism, I now believe, isn’t some sentimental, old, conceit. It’s self-preservation. I believe patriotism is central to a nation’s survival.”