Like almost every other human being on the planet, T&P staffers saw much-anticipated Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War this weekend and were left with a number of lingering military questions regarding the tactics, strategy, and organizational structure that define Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
Marvel true believers, be warned: Some (minor and inconsequential) plot-spoilers and serious comic book nerdery ahead.
- How much back pay does America owe its Captain? As of 2016, Steve Rogers was due about $4.6 million (adjusted for inflation), but do they still owe him anything now that he’s AWOL?
- If James Barnes’ family received death gratuity payments when he was “killed” fighting Hydra in Europe in 1945, do his surviving relatives have to recoup the government (and with interest)?
- Does Congress require a new Authorization for the Use of Military Force to deploy U.S. military personnel like Lt. Col. James Rhodes (War Machine) in defense of the planet? Or does the whole ‘Infinity’ thing implicitly claim the 2001 AUMF as its basis?
- Why the hell are those Avengers who signed the Sokovia Accords reporting to Secretary of State Thaddeus ‘Thunderbolt’ Ross and not the Secretary of Defense? Are the Avengers like U.S. Africa Command, with a joint DoD-State HQ? The chain of command is deeply unclear here.
- What exactly is the current organizational relationship between the Avengers and the UN and the U.S.? The Ultimates (the spiritual inspiration for the cinematic portrayal of the Avengers) were clearly a U.S.-chartered agency (formerly) operating under the auspices of S.H.I.E.L.D. Even with the Sokovia Accords, this just seems like some ambiguous Justice League bullsh*t.
- Would S.H.I.E.L.D’s budget or have been affected by sequestration? How about the Joint Terrorism Task Force that Everett Ross spearheads in Captain America: Civil War? Is this why nobody shows up to help out the Wakandan security forces?
- How much have S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers cost the American taxpayer in terms of baseline operational funding (and excluding collateral damage, which is handled by the Department of Damage Control after The Avengers)? And is it more or less expensive than the cost of rescuing Matt Damon?
- Do Cap and Bucky have to check in their shield and metal arm to the armory for inspection at the end of an op? Sam Wilson sure was worried about Joint Task Force personnel rocking his wings during Captain America: Civil War. How does one even pick up a certification to examine Wakandan vibranium?
- Would the Hulk technically fall under the Department of Energy considering he’s a radioactive asset?
- Isn’t this the second time that the Scarlet Witch has abandoned her post guarding a strategic asset after bailing on the vibranium core when Quicksilver dies in Age of Ultron? So much for good order and discipline.
- Why is it that it’s always the U.S. military personnel on the Avengers squad in Wakanda (Sam Wilson and James Rhodes, the latter of which is technically a Marine in the comics) end up playing CAS? After his injury in Civil War, wouldn’t Rhodey much prefer to play armor from a safe distance?
- Did the Department of State have an embassy on Asgard? If so, who maintains security? S.H.I.E.L.D personnel or U.S. Marines?
- Are the Avengers covered by TriCare? When they get out, are they eligible for VA benefits? Sam Wilson certainly did while working for the VA during Captain America: Winter Soldier.
- Are the Guardians of the Galaxy technically private military contractors? Relatedly, does Groot’s, uh, hands-on combat style violate the Geneva Conventions?
- Who actually has operational command during the Wakanda battle: Cap or Black Panther?
- Wouldn’t Lt. Col. James Rhodes (War Machine) outrank “Captain” Steve Rogers, and therefore be in charge of the Avengers? Or is “Cap” more of a billet?
- Is Stormbreaker a WMD?
- Why has the Army not put Captain America up for a Medal of Honor yet?
- When do the brave combatants of the Infinity War get their parade?
What’s your burning question from Avengers: Infinity War? Share it in the comments below.