Saturday, October 08, 2011

When Captain America Throws His Mighty Shield...

Copyright: Marvel Entertainment
Why no Human Torch on the cover, though? 
That's not the Torch - that's Toro! 
Don't try pulling wool over my eagle-eyes, Marvel! 
Torch, being an android, wouldn't look so scrawny 
next to your Mr.Sub-Scrawny there 
(it proves my theory that he and Impossible Man 
were indeed separated at birth! 
But that is another sordidly impossible story...) 
He's much more spectacular than scrawny pointy ears there...!
Said misbegotten mutant wannabe is blocking the view of the
sanctimonious shield on top of all that...! Sheesh!
The nerve of that irksome misbegotten mutie mixed breed! 
Between him, powerless Bucky and the beefed up former nerd Cappo, 
what could the Axis possibly have feared, really?
Truly, the Invaders were one of the most boring teams ever...
The Nazis could have won in the Marvel Universe!
But that's not the, er, point here... really!

With the resurgence of patriotism (thanks to Anonymous - the 99% - which does NOT comprise Marvel execs, Brian Michael Bendis or Joe Quesada, fear not!) one simply had to expect a resurgence of Cappo in the 21st Century as well. Now helmed by the finest pens four-color can afford, Cappo & Co. are shining once again - and we at the Literati Blog simply had to, at the very least, leaf through the pages once more, just in case... Click on the picture above for a complete, thorough and even insightful review of issue #622 of "Captain America"... (Man alive - 622 issues! How much paper has been used here - how many trees sacrificed for... THIS? For, as we all know, Captain America and most comic-bookies were born, in the 40s, as mere propaganda fare: the cheapest and easiest to produce for the entire USA: nothing too good for the morale of our troops and peeps, folks! Uncle Sam said so. And we're digressing already.)

Thus, Captain America is BACK! Pardon, it is now titled "Captain America & Bucky" indeed - even though both characters were rumored to be dead for the longest time (and, in fact, they really should be and should have been for quite a while now! I mean, being World War II veterans and contemporaries of Roosevelt, Churchill, Piaf, Cerdant, Chevalier, Hayworth, Astaire, Nin, Henry, June, Tracy & Hepburn (to name but those) - they would be close to 120 years-old or something, these days? You can be in shape and all - but come on! Nobody lives forever: super-soldier serum coursing in your veins or not! And besides, as this issue emphasizes (or overemphasizes) so well, Bucky had no such thing in *his* veins and no special abilities whatsoever - so how could he have lived for so long?!? Marvel made a booboo - again.)

Well, truth is, Bucky died - again. And this time, he will likely stay dead. However, that doesn't stop Marvel to milk the cow for all it is worth, while the recent movie is still in some theaters, somewhere, and it won't impede them from having some flashback stories that were, supposedly, "never told" before... Them Nazis are a never-ending source of inspiration, it seems - and they have made quite a comeback in fiction, particularly the seventh art, generally speaking. In movies alone, indeed, they have been at the core of several hit films in recent years (from the Inglorious Basterds remake to the Marvel byproduct "X-Men: First Class" - both employing actor Michael Fassbender, coincidentally! Quite the shame (pun fully intended) that he did not participate in "Captain America: The First Avenger" - it would have been another first, one supposes: an actor indulging in triple Nazi-bashing within a mere two years or so! But maybe Steve McQueen or John Wayne did that, already...? Let me check... I might not be back...)

In sequential art, Nazis are understandably at the core of several heroes' mystique: from Cappo here all the way to Hellboy! And let's not forget MAÜS. So it is not surprising or astonishing at all that they are, once more, the villains of choice... Such retro action is not surprising at all, also, especially when one is revisiting the origins of a hero who was "first" in his illustrious star-spangled category...! Well, never mind the fact that there have been way too many "firsts" on the Marvelous firmament lately... But that is another story.

Issue #622 (wow - so many issues you've got, Cap! Most notable now that DC is axing everything they've accumulated -which is considerable as they'd gotten started even before you did- and restarting fifty-two titles just like yours all at issue number ONE. Everybody wants to be number one - but that's another story too) and its long, drawn-out (and overdrawn) flashback is actually firmly focused on the character of Bucky, mind you - not Cappo at all. And, as such, it can be even more boring than any single Invaders tale of old (that group. I tell you, lacked a lot of talent that was readily available over at the competition's Justice Society of America/All-Star Squadron! But that is, again, another story entirely...) - however it is, admittedly, the best that this medium can get to be right now and the closest it gets to literature, at any time, so...

Click on the picture abo... er, below, already!

Copyright: Marvel Entertainment
I know I said it lacked something in many ways:
in common sense, displaying boring members only
and not focusing on the true star of this issue,
it lacks in background art too,
going for the easy way out there,
and it lacks plain old "oomph"...!
But you didn't have to cast Bucky out of the spotlight, Marvel! 
This issue was all about him, 
and yet he's relegated to the background - again.
That's cruelty to Bucky!
And Lord Knows he suffered enough of that...!
So, then,  why bring him back - for yet MORE...?!? 
He was dead - had paid his dues - but you just had 
to dig him out and inflict some more 
punishment on the wee lad, didn't you?
(Okay - that is DEFINITELY an entirely different story -
for another time, another post, another blog!)

But really now... 
We thought we'd add to this post rather than waste space and time putting together another post on the same tired old subject: Cappo here and America! 

For this post has to be more than a mere review of one of them tired old comic-bookies (their medium sure is getting tired - and old! But that is another story...)

I used to say that Cappo was totally out of place on the roster of teams with such names as ''Invaders'' and ''Avengers'' - because I used to think that he belonged on a team with an august name such as the JUSTICE League of America. That was the young idealistic me speaking... 
Nowadays, the evidence is so clear: plus, as we grow older, we grow wiser, more astute, more observing... A character named Captain America NEVER belonged on a team with JUSTICE in its designation. He truly was at home with the INVADERS - which is exactly what Americans are, most of the time, in all of their interventions worldwide, falsely disguised as brave fights for freedom, liberty and... justice.  The JUSTICE LEAGUE (note that I have stopped saying ''of America'' a long time ago - even longer than DC actually cut it out of the name themselves!) being a team chock-full of aliens of all sorts (probably spear-headed by a powerless psychopath on a huge power trip since he is, after all and above all, a control freak - Batty.) is hardly better than the AVENGERS - but, at least, it still vehicules a noble concept, not merely the abysmal desire for vengeance. CAPTAIN AMERICA should indeed be all that AMERICA is, if he is to represent it faithfully: over all those long years he has been embellished in various traits to reflect what America wants to be viewed as, but is definitely not. If other such characters are virtual amalgams of all of their nation's denizens, then Cappo here should be a far-less idealistic depiction nowadays - a revolting and grotesque figure would come out of this creative process (or deconstruction?) and so it is better not to be. After all, the damnable Avengers already have the HULK for that purpose and effect. In that sense, with a technocrat, a hulkish brute, a norse stranger, a redheaded backstabber, an intense marksman probably untrustworthy and a paranoid patriot (which is what Cappo should be, at best) the AVENGERS probably represent the sad, lamentable U.S. of A. better than the old JLA aka JUSTICE LEAGUE ever did or ever will. 

And all that simply makes the boy that I used to be, still alive inside the man that I became, incredibly sad and disillusioned with most of it, if not it all... 

However, just like Cappo, I will survive...!

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