Monday, June 15, 2009

Comic Observations: Spoiler Alert for Captain America fans!

For those of you Captain America fans that want to keep upcoming story developments a surprise, I should say that you probably don't want to read the following post. 'Kay? you've been warned.

As reported in various places from Comic Book sites like Newsarama to CNN, Steve Rogers will be returning to life and presumably returning as Cap in the upcoming Captain America: Reborn miniseries.

Here's a little back story:

After a fame hungry super team called the New Warriors engage in a reckless battle that results in a 9/11-like event, the country goes bat shit regarding allowing masked people in stretchy costumes to beat the shit out of pretty much anyone they feel like.

Tony Stark (aka Iron Man) leads a group of heroes pushing for a registration act for all powered people in the US. Captain America naturally feels that forcing people who voluntarily put their lives on the line defending the planet from Fin Fang Foom and shit like that is a pretty douchey thing to do and goes rogue, along with a bunch of other heroes. Also the pro-reg guys do a lot of crazy-ass (and completely out of character) stuff like cloning their old buddy Thor and use the clone as a psychotic weapon, and building a prison in the Negative Zone where they start sticking people without trial. Basically Tony Stark becomes Dick Cheney and Captain America becomes......well, I guess the legion of people that really, really wanted to kick Cheney in the dick. Except Cap loses. Well, he kind of gives up, really (another out of character move). That's a quick summary of the Civil War miniseries, which was enjoyable, even if it did force characters to behave in ways they never have before or since in the name of making the author's point.

Cap's arrested, and while he's being transported up the courthouse steps to stand trial, he's seemingly assassinated by his mind-controlled lover, Sharon Carter, who's being manipulated by Cap's old enemy the Red Skull. Taking up the shield and the identity of Captain America is James Buchanan "Bucky" Barnes. Bucky was Cap's special forces sidekick during WWII, and has long been thought dead in an explosion. It turns out he was captured by the Soviets and brainwashed into becoming a super-spy/hit man for them. Bucky was kept in suspended animation between missions, which explains how he's only aged a few years.

For the last 3 years or so, the architect behind
Captain America has been Ed Brubaker. While Civil War was largely a chaotic messy extravaganza written by Mark Millar, Bru's run on Captain America has been tight as a drum. He eschews bombast and theatrics for crafting lean, effective thrillers. Since taking over Cap, the series has consistently been among the best titles published by Marvel, and that is largely due to the creative team, particularly Brubaker. In fact, his choices on the title have been so good as that his new version of Captain America is engrossing enough for me to not really miss Steve Rogers all that much. So, while I'm excited at the prospect of his return, it's only because I'm excited to Bru's master plan come to fruition.

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