Filipino and Chinese Marvel superheroes clash in territorial dispute

Photo: @gregpak/Twitter
Photo: @gregpak/Twitter

Things just got real.

Filmmaker and Marvel comic book writer Greg Pak shared a preview on Friday of War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas #1 and it all seemed a little too real. In it, Wave, the Filipina superheroine from Cebu, clashes in a territorial dispute with Chinese superheroine Aero.

In the first panel, Pearl Pangan aka Wave, who has water-based powers, can be seen rushing to investigate a disturbance 5,000 miles outside Philippine waters.

“There’s something wrong… something in the water,” she says.

Lei Ling aka Chinese superheroine Aero, who controls air, also rushes to the disturbance. That’s when the two confront one another.

“Wave, your territory’s the Philippine Sea. What are you doing here?” Aero asks Wave.

Wave hits back by saying: “Who are you to ask, Aero? These aren’t Chinese waters.”

The two get interrupted when an underwater explosion knocks them both down. A fiery villain can be seen in the last panel of the preview.

The brief exchange between the superheroes echoes the dispute — one resolved in the Philippines’ favor at the Hague back in 2016 — between the two countries over maritime territory.

Despite the dispute, President Rodrigo Duterte’s government is generally perceived to have pro-China policies. He even announced an economic and military split from the United States, one of its oldest allies, to align himself ideologically with China.

Some critics have assailed the government for this, especially because Duterte has consistently refused to enforce the 2016 ruling that invalidated China’s claim over the West Philippine Sea.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration invalidated China’s claim to the West Philippine Sea in July 2016. It also affirmed Manila’s sovereign rights in some areas being claimed by China. But it seems that China still rejects the arbitral ruling and has prohibited Filipino fishermen from fishing and interfering in oil exploration activities in the area, CNN Philippines reported.

Some netizens have reacted to Wave and Aero’s encounter and praised the fictional Filipino superhero and Marvel for standing up for Filipinos.

Twitter user @BAMerr0r wrote: “[S]he said fuck our government! respect for MY president, our defender, pearl pangan/wave.”

TV reporter Jeff Canoy wrote: “Pearl Pangan. AKA Wave. The first Pinay superhero. Protecting our seas. Good job, Marvel.”

“People saying that ‘Wave’ or Marvel is politicizing WPS issue. Bitch? Marvel comics took inspirations from socio-economic politics,” said @rejilistic.

“[W]ave, the new Filipina marvel superhero, is from Cebu and she’s fighting off the Ch*nese over the west philippine sea I’m so happy over this,” said @harcissistic.

The War of the Realms: New Agents of Atlas Issue No. 1 will debut on May 8, Wednesday.

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