In comic books, there are certain topics about superheroes that aren’t written about much, or that come up only rarely. A really good comic book reader can read between the lines for little clues and find at least some of the answers, and sometimes a rejected scene or a limited edition book also helps.
Man of Steel, the first film to come out in the early days of the creation of DC’s cinematic universe, ended with a huge battle between Superman and the main villain, General Zod, and Metropolis was almost completely leveled. The next film in that series, Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice, explains in a short but effective way the destructiveness and amount of harm to normal people that is caused by a fight between a superhero and a supervillain.
But really, in pretty much all comic books, animated films, and live action movies, they don’t mention the havoc that battles wreak. After almost every big fight, parts of New York in particular are completely devastated, but in the next issue or in another comic series, there is no trace of that destruction.
In 1988, Marvel was the first to deal with this problem when they mentioned the Damage Control team in the Marvel Age Annual. Damage Control appears over the years in limited edition stories. To explain briefly, the company that Tony Stark (Iron Man) and Wilson Fisk (Kingpin) started together is tasked with returning cities to their original state after they are left in ruins by superheroes and supervillains. The company’s headquarters are in one of New York’s most famous buildings, the Flatiron Building. Of course, Stark and Fisk’s partnership ends and the company changes hands, but its founding principles remain the same.
Attentive viewers know that Damage Control is discussed in the beginning of Spiderman: Homecoming. At the end of the Avengers movie, to rebuild the city after the New York war, the government creates a new cabinet ministry with Tony Stark. As a result of this new cabinet, Adrian Toomes loses his job and becomes Spiderman’s enemy, the Vulture.
This company is responsible for repairing cities and cleaning up the damage caused by supervillains especially in New York, but they rebuild other cities as well. After they’re done, the company stays in the hands of politicians. The interesting thing about this is that before the last US presidential election, Marvel published a four-part comic book series called Vote Loki, where Loki promises the people of New York that their lives will return to normal following the devastation that remained after the New York war. Nisa Contreras, a little girl at the time of the war, grows up to become a journalist at the Daily Bugle and reveals how this promise wasn’t kept and how the politicians profited from the whole thing.
LokiIn short, Damage Control fulfilled its duty and returned the city to its original state, but the residents’ lives were never the same. Corrupt politicians are the reason for this.
These days in Turkey, especially when looking at Istanbul and all of the urban renewal projects, you might think there was some recent catastrophe, just like in the comic books. From the bottom up, the entire city is being turned into concrete, and there is no place that isn’t covered in a layer of dust.
On a lot of streets in Istanbul, the residents have gotten used to big trucks and construction equipment. Even in Çağatay Yaşmut’s book Doktor Ceyda’yı Kim Öldürdü? (Who Killed Doctor Ceyda?) and Ferzan Özpetek’s film İstanbul Kırmızısı (Red Istanbul), the construction frenzy is part of the background of both stories.
There are a lot of elements of urban renewal that resemble the events in Vote Loki. Apartment buildings that have been condemned by the municipality are either rebuilt by private contractors or by the state housing authority. The homeowners in buildings slated for renewal are given monthly rent until the new buildings are done. If the building is ever completed, the owners can then move into their new apartments. However, following the last economic crises, a lot of this construction was never finished and the private contractors cut off the rent payments.
The owners of buildings taken over by the housing authority are lucky; they are given houses that they are obliged move into. Let’s say your house is in a nice part of town—you’ll be able to move to a brand new development on the other side of the city. In most cases, this is the government’s doing because they move their own voters into neighborhoods where opposition voters mostly live, which helps them win local elections.
While Istanbul is turning into one giant construction zone, one thing no one is thinking about is earthquakes. In the history of the city, scientists have said many times that a massive earthquake is on the way. If that happened, Damage Control could clean up the ruins of Istanbul really quickly, except they’re a fictional organization. Most of the 496 earthquake gathering points have been turned into shopping malls. Right now, for the 17 million people living in Istanbul, there are just 77 gathering points.
New construction isn’t only happening in Istanbul—it’s all over the country. In Diyarbakır’s Sur district, they are building villas on the plots where houses were destroyed stone by stone by security forces.
These villas are really expensive and completely unsuited to Sur’s historic feel, and no one knows who’s going to move into them.
Istanbul experienced a similar situation a few years ago with the Roma citizens living in Sulukule. Founded as part of Byzantium in the 10th century, Sulukule was one of the oldest Roma-inhabited places in the world. It’s believed that 3,500 Roma lived in the 1,000 houses there.
After razing their homes in the name of urban renewal, the government built luxury buildings, but the Roma couldn’t afford to move into the expensive flats. The former Roma neighborhood of Sulukule is now mostly occupied by foreigners. Taken out of their homes and erased from history, young Roma in particular are pretty angry about this.
Turkey is in the process of destroying a lot of places. This destruction isn’t because of a fight between superpowers—it’s a result of bad policies. Unfortunately, when the dust settles and the devastation is evident, there’s no Damage Control team to come in and quickly fix it back up.
On the contrary, it’ll be years before such an effort can even begin!
سایت تابناک از انتشار نظرات حاوی توهین و افترا و نوشته شده با حروف لاتین (فینگیلیش) معذور است.