Sunday, March 11, 2007

Captain America Is Dead! Long Live Captain America!

Captain America is dead.
Yeah, right.
Issue #25 of Marvel Comics' fourth relaunch of its Captain America series in the past decade features the assassination of Steve Rogers, the super-heroic personification of patriotism, as he is to stand trial for defying the U.S. government in the course of the publisher's latest ill-considered, universe-changing, company wide crossever non-event known as Civil War.
I don't believe it.
A long history of heroes dying and being subsequently resurrected has left me a bit cynical. In an attempt to placate old cranks like me, Marvel's Editor-in-Chief Joe Quesada is quoted on CNN as saying that he has instructed all his writers that a character's death should "mean something," by which I presume he is attempting to assure us that this is a permanent change and not just a short term publicity stunt. Of course, he goes on to say that a character's resurrection should also "mean something," which doesn't exactly slam the door shut on Rogers someday popping up alive and well again.
While the "death" of Superman was blatantly a grab to increase sales, as well as delay the inevitable wedding of Supes and Lois Lane to coincide with the same event on the then current TV series Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman, and Kal-El was never meant to stay dead, most writers and editors who craft stories in which heroes are killed off generally truly intend that the character shall remain dead henceforth. However, as in the recent case of the Hal Jordan version of the hero Green Lantern, writers and editors who follow them will inevitably give in to the whining of the aging fanboys who make up the vast majority of comic book readers these days and bring the deceased heroes back to life.
Meanwhile, it's a pretty sure bet that even without Steve Rogers to wear the star spangle chain mail, the Captain America identity will continue with a new, or at least different, character picking up Cap's mighty shield. I'll bet it's going to be Bucky Barnes, Cap's sidekick from the 1940's who was retroactively killed off by Stan Lee when he returned Cap to active duty after a decade of lingering in limbo with 1964's Avengers #4 and who has been, I am given to understand, recently revived himself. I find it somewhat ironic that for many years, the semi-official position of Marvel concerning the death of heroes was "Only Bucky stays dead." Now that that commandment has been broken and the Buckster breathes once more, it probably won't be too long before his former mentor returns to the ranks of the living.
One other thing that bothers me about Cap being offed is the way Marvel is doing it. Having the so-called symbol of America gunned down by a Jack Ruby wanna-be on the steps of a courthouse is about as lame as having Superman beaten to death by some random monster coming out of nowhere rather than meeting his end at the hands of one of his longtime nemeses such as Lex Luthor or Braniac. Somewhere the Red Skull must be having one hell of a hissy fit. Which, of course, is all the more reason to eventually bring back Cap and kill him off proper-like next time.
It also bothers me that the mainstream media outlets, not just the panting fanboy sycophants who dominate the comics industry press, always buy into the hype whenever one of the major comics publishers decides to give their sales a temporary bump by killing off a character. Dozens of news outlets the world over from CNN to the BBC and Newsweek have covered this story as if a.) it matters to anyone other than those aging fanboys I mentioned earlier or b.) Cap, or at least Steve Rogers, was actually going to stay dead, which I guarantee you will not happen.
Of course, this is the same American news media that accepted uncritically every last one of Bush and Cheney's seemingly endless succession of bogus justifications for invading Iraq, parroting each new lie even as the previous one was exposed as false.


Max said...

Ah, Captain America... "Comic Justice!"

Guess what? There's a new sheriff in town.

Ray "!!" Tomczak said...

I've seen the first Colbert clip. Funny stuff. The other I'll have to check out later. Right now, I'm, as usual, doing my blogging at the Whetstone library and I don't have my headphones with me. Thanks for the comment,max..and thanks for reading...