Hope Springs Eternal in Captain America 700

by Drew Baumgartner

Captain America 700

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Superheroes don’t get endings. They might die, sure, but are inevitably resurrected months, years, or decades down the line. And they’re brought back for the same reason superheroes don’t get endings: there’s always another story to tell (and another dollar to be made telling it). Fans may sometimes get jaded about this — especially when a hero is killed off for the umpteenth time — but that lack of closure keeps superheroes in a holding pattern in the middle of the hero’s journey. They may have momentary successes, sure, but they never get to kick up their heels at the end of a career well-served. You know, unless you can find some kind of alternate universe/timeline workaround that allows your hero some sense of closure while still allowing him to carry on the fight tomorrow. That’s exactly the kind of workaround Mark Waid and Chris Samnee cook up in Captain America 700, giving Steve the kind of heroic end he can only have if there’s some kind of trick. Continue reading

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The Burden and Joy of Public Service in Captain America 699

by Drew Baumgartner

Captain America 699

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

For many superheroes, superheroics are a means of righting some cosmic injustice — the death of a loved one a the hands of a criminal, for example. Indeed, that particular motivation is so ubiquitous, it’s easy to forget that many heroes are motivated not out of some personal vendetta, but because they feel morally compelled to help when they can. We tend to think of Spider-Man (death of a loved one at the hands of a criminal notwithstanding) for that kind of power/responsibility stuff, but I’ll suggest that Captain America might embody those ideals even more thoroughly. For Cap, superheroing is a public service, no different from volunteering at a soup kitchen or picking up trash at your local park. He’s able to make the world a better place by being Captain America, so he has to be Captain America. Again, it’s not an attitude that’s entirely unique to Steve Rogers, but as Mark Waid and Chris Samnee crank that aspect up to eleven in Captain America 699, it’s hard to imagine any other character living that ideal so perfectly. Continue reading

Dystopia in the Not-So-Distant Future in Captain America 698

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

I was raised on classic television, and as a kid I remember always getting a big kick out of the fact that the original Lost in Space series took place in the “distant future” of 1997. As a general rule, ascribing a specific date to your fictional future is a great way to rob it of its power and wonder, but Captain America 698 turns that rule completely on its head, finding its most effective twist in the “when” of its dystopian future. Continue reading

An Attack on Steve’s Morality in Captain America 697

by Spencer Irwin

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Mark Waid and Chris Samnee’s take on Captain America is already drastically different from Nick Spencer’s that preceded it, doling out mostly episodic adventures in comparison to the one long story Spencer told, and focusing less on actual politics and more on the idea of Steve Rogers being a good and righteous man, and trying to inspire others to be the same. The return to simpler, more swashbuckling tales has been a nice palate cleanser, especially as readers reacquaint themselves to the original, non-Hydra version of Cap, but I’m hoping we get something a little more substantial sooner rather than later. Continue reading

Steve Goes Freelance in Captain America 696

by Drew Baumgartner

Captain America 696

This article will contain SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Do the citizens of the Marvel Universe adequately compensate their superheroes? There’s little doubt that the entire planet benefits from the efforts of Captain America and his ilk, but whatever gratefulness the citizens feel doesn’t put food on the table. Which is why so many superheroes either take day jobs (with S.H.I.E.L.D. or the Heroes for Hire, for example), institutionalizing their heroic output, are already independently wealthy (like Tony Stark), or have some wealthy patron (like Tony Stark). That notion of patronage hints at what I’m getting at: superheroism is a bit like making art — society may value the idea of it generally, but that doesn’t exactly translate to money in the bank. It’s a lesson Steve Rogers is learning as his journey as a freelance superhero begins in earnest in Captain America 696. Continue reading

Action and a Message in Captain America 695

by Spencer Irwin

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

What does Captain America mean to you? Given not only our current political climate, but the outcry Secret Empire and its lead-ins created among many passionate Cap fans, it seems like a more pertinent question than ever. What is it about Steve Rogers that inspires so many? That’s what Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and Matthew Wilson set out to discover in Captain America 695. Continue reading

Echoes of the Past, Pinocchio, and Barf in Captain America 25

by Michael DeLaney

This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!

Like a meta comic book continuity retcon, Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers’ Captain America titles collapse into one in Captain America 25. One of the last times Marvel published a Captain America 25, Steve Rogers was shot “dead.” While this issue might not be as monumental as “The Death of Captain America,” it is a book that is almost essential as a Secret Empire tie-in. Continue reading

Captain America 5

captain america 5

Today, Patrick and Drew are discussing Captain America 5, originally released March 20th, 2013.

Patrick: There’s a part in the first Metal Gear Solid game where you have to fight a bad guy called Psycho Mantis. Fans of the series will remember this fight fondly for a couple of reasons — the character “reads your mind” and talks trash about the way you’ve been playing the game. Reportedly he will also make comments about the other games you have saved on your memory card. It’s goofy, but it certainly is weird and fun. At one point in the fight, Mantis is reading your mind to determine your motions, and it’s impossible to land a blow. The solution is that you have to plug the controller into the second controller port — that way he can’t read your mind. No, that doesn’t make sense — it’s a rule the game establishes right then and there for this single-time use. It’s not fair, it’s not fun, and you either know to do it (and you win) or you don’t know to do it (and you lose). Captain America’s latest adventures have a little too much in common with this Psycho Mantis fight, and I’m kinda just waiting for him to plug the controller into the Player Two slot.

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Captain America 4

captain america 4

Today, Shelby and Drew are discussing Captain America 4, originally released February 20th, 2013.

Shelby: I’m a big fan of juxtaposition of conflicting styles. Heavy metal guitar paired with female vocals? Yes please, Nightwish! Ice cream with sweet chocolate and salty peanuts and pretzel bites? I’ve got two pints of Ben and Jerry’s Chubby Hubby in my freezer right now. The old adage may be that “opposites attract,” but I prefer to think of it as “opposites compliment.” That is definitely the rule of Rick Remender’s take on Captain America, as straight-laced Cap is paired with sci-fi weirdness and the problems of being a dad are compounded by having your nemesis implanted in your chest, talking to you all day and all night. And yes, if you were wondering, I did have to get up and get one of those pints of Chubby Hubby out of the freezer.  Continue reading

Captain America 1-3

captain america 1-3

Today, Patrick and Shelby are discussing Captain America 1-3, originally released November 21th, December 19th, 2012 and January 16th, 2013.

Patrick: Captain America is a character defined by his time. Other characters may be products of the time during which their creators were writing them – Superman, Wolverine, Deadpool, Hal Jordan – all of these guys bear the stamps of the decades they were introduced. But that Captain America concept is frozen in time, locked in place by a character-defining opportunity to kick Nazi-ass. So how does one update the intentionally old-fashioned? It’s not even like you can just drop Steve Rogers into a modern American military conflict and watch the action play out: we’re not exactly storming beaches anymore. So where’s an old soldier supposed to feel at home? Why, a dangerous, barren wasteland that ignores the laws of physics, of course!

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