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Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Captain America

If you haven't read about developments in the Captain America series and want to read the issue coming out today before reading spoilers, stop now. Otherwise, scroll down.

CNN is reporting that Marvel has killed Captain America off in issue #25 of the current series, a follow-up to the god-awful Civil War storyline that I've refrained from commenting on.


The writer, Ed Brubaker, is very good, and you never know how the storyline is going to shake out, but my initial reaction is pretty negative. In a lot of ways, killing Captain America has more cultural impact than killing Superman. Cap is both cultural icon and American symbol, and his death feels a bit to me like someone demolishing the Statue of Liberty. Steve Rogers has quit before. In fact, he's done it a couple of times. But actually killing him? It doesn't seem right to me. And if it's all a big smokescreen and he's not dead, or comes back right away? That seems wrong, too.

America's struggling with a lot of problems right now. Problems of leadership and corruption. Seems like it needs good symbols now as much as at any time I can think of. Not symbols to hide behind or support with jingoistic fervor, but symbols to rely on, to aspire to. Judging by a hint or two in previous comics, it looks like the Punisher might even take Captain America's place for a while. Or maybe the Winter Soldier (AKA Bucky the resurrected). This isn't the time for the good-hearted, straight-shooting Steve Rogers to be out of the Captain America role. This isn't the time for a gritty "realistic" hero to take up the shield. This is the time for our symbol to be a beacon for what America should be and isn't right now.

Say it ain't so.

1 comment:

Jeff Hebert said...

One word: Ugh.

And to have THE PUNISHER take his place? That's downright blasphemous. The Punisher is in every way the anti-Cap, standing not for the American way but rather the Punisher way. He'll always be the epitome of the villain-as-superhero archetype that turned me off of comics for twenty years.

There's room for anti-heroes in the genre, of course, but Captain America and Superman shouldn't be in their ranks. They're the opposite of anti-heroes; they're supposed to be the pure, unadulterated, wholly good (while still kicking ass) epitome of what a real hero is.

I'm very glad now I've avoided "Civil War". I've yet to read one of these epic, world-redefining, multi-series slugfests since I was too young to know better with "Crisis in Infinite Earths", and I clearly haven't missed much.

This really blows. I love Cap. Feh on Marvel.