The return of Captain America

Captain America, aka Steve Rogers

Captain America, aka Steve Rogers

Here is a story I copied from CNN:

NEW YORK (CNN) — Perhaps he should be called Captain Phoenix?

Rising from the dead after being killed off over two years ago, Captain America is being resurrected by Marvel Comics.

Though the circumstances of his return are being closely shielded, the star-spangled superhero returns July 1 in a five-comic-book series, “Captain America Reborn.”

A big-budget movie in development by Marvel is also expected in 2011.

After close to 60 years in print, Marvel Comics killed off Steve Rogers, aka Captain America, in 2007, one of its most famous and beloved superheroes, amid a controversial story line.

He fought and triumphed over Hitler, Tojo, international Communism and a host of super-villains, but a sniper’s bullet cut Captain America down in 2007, a move that shocked many of his fans.

“The reaction was amazing,” says Marvel Executive Editor Tom Breevort. “It certainly was like the world went crazy for three days. Everybody had a point of view about it, including fans who hadn’t read the comic for 30 years.”

In the comic series, Rogers was to stand trial for defying a superhero registration law passed after a hero’s tragic mistake causes a 9/11-like event. Marvel said the comic story line was intentionally written as an allegory to current real-life issues like the Patriot Act, the war on terror and September 11.

Rogers eventually surrenders to police. He is later mortally wounded as he climbs the courthouse steps. It was a violent and strange end for an American hero and icon.

The primary shooter, Crossbones — working under the orders of Captain America’s longtime nemesis, the Red Skull — was caught. The identity of a second shooter is revealed in issue 600, which goes on sale Monday.

Many felt Captain America’s death in 2007 was symbolic of the time. And his return now?

“The tenor of the world now is when we’re at a point where we want to believe in heroes. Someone who can lead the way,” said Breevort. “It just feels like the right time.”

Captain America first appeared in 1941, just as the United States entered World War II. He was a symbol of American strength and resolve in fighting the Axis powers.

As originally conceived by creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, Rogers was born before the Great Depression in a very different America. He disappeared after the war and only reappeared recently in the Marvel timeline.

Keeping superheroes dead and buried does not come easy. Even Superman, who was killed off by DC Comics in 1993, came back to life a year later.

And what of Captain America’s sidekick, Bucky Barnes? After taking up the shield and mission of Captain America for the past year, it’ll be time to relinquish the mantle. Is there room for two sentinels of liberty? Stay tuned.

Kablam’s take:  Well it seems to be a bit more ‘in-vogue’ these days to kill off main comic book characters in what I can only imagine is some strange publisher reason to either A) shake things up, B) create a sales spike or collectors edition, C) introduce a sweeping story arc, or D) perhaps something else altogether.  But I think we all know that iconic comic characters always return.   However it does seem that DC uses this tactic a little more freely than Marvel does (Superman, Batman, Jason Todd, Hal Jordan, Wally West, Green Arrow, etc., etc., etc.).

The way that Marvel handled Cap’s death in my opinion was done very well, and Marvel has done a a very good job of keeping the Captain America title running for two years without Steve Rogers, and bringing up Bucky (aka Winter Soldier) as a credible replacement.  Marvel took it’s time and crafted a very well paced yarn spotlighting many of Cap’s supporting characters to help fill the void, and many of these characters got some nice attention.

But did Marvel bring back Steve Rogers too soon?  In my opinion, yes.  Although it has been two years in publishing terms, it has only been a few months in comic continuity with Steve really only missing the Skrull invasion.  With Bucky finally getting the traction and recognition of being the ‘new’ Cap and participating in Avengers story-lines, its my opinion again that they could have waited on Steve’s return a while longer.

I’d personally like to see Dark Reign playout with Norman Osborn and the continued development of new baddie The Hood and the return of Nick Fury to take shape in the Marvel universe and allow for some of these other B-string heroes get due attention as well.  We just saw U.S.Agent come back to the forefront, a new development in the Thunderboldts and Norman’s Avengers.  In the aftermath of Civil War, M-Day, and the Skrull invasion we’ve also seen the apparent demise of Carol Danvers and Dr. Strange in recent weeks.

Can we just slow down a tad?

Captain America is by far one of the most iconic and recognizable characters in Marvel and I think it would mean so much more to bring Steve back in a very epic way, when the time is right and readers really aren’t expecting it.  To bring him back after such a short time, and especially around the 4th of July just seems a bit cliche and underwhelming at this point to me, and thus diminishes the grandeur of Captain America.

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Nick Fury x9. YaY, Sammy Jackson!

Nick Fury

Nick Fury

It appears Ultimate Nick Fury is back afterall, at least in celluloid form.

It is reported that Samuel L. Jackson has made a long-term deal for the role of Nick Fury in Marvel Studios many upcoming comics based films .

Jackson’s commitment to play Fury, the leader of the espionage unit S.H.I.E.L.D., contains an option to play the character in nine future Marvel superhero films.

These are expected to include “Iron Man 2,” “Captain America,” “Thor,” “The Avengers” and “S.H.I.E.L.D.” as well as potential sequels.

Jackson expressed displeasure with the studios initial offer to reprise his role which he played in the closing moments of “Iron Man”.

Movies: Captain America possibly gets writers

captamerica1Scripters for the previously released “Narnia” films are in negotiations to script “First Avenger: Captain America” for Marvel Studios.  They are Christopher Markus and Stepehen McFeely.

Early information on the movie has Captain realizing his origin on becoming America’s first super soldier during World War II as he fights the Nazi’s and evil scientists.  The movie should close with Cap being put on ice as when the ensemble movie “Avengers” is released, it will be set in modern times, and of course, Captain America will be there.

Captain America is scheduled for a May 6, 2011 released.

Comics: New Avengers #43

Captain Skrull? - Get this book.

Captain Skrull? - Get this book.

Wow.

In a word: Wow.  The whole Secret Invasion is so well executed over at Marvel right now I don’t know how they are gonna top this in the future.  The original idea was not that original, but they way Marvel is able to execute both the main story, the individual on-shots, and all the tie-in books is phenominal.  In my opinion, it just blows away last years Civil War, World War Hulk, and the prior M-day events.  The idividual talents of the writers and artists is to be highly commended because everything just seems to fit so much better than anything DC is putting out now in Final Crisis.

This issue is a great tie-in issue which further explores and explains how some of the Skrulls infiltrated the Marvel universe and took over some of the top heros and impersonated them.  Whil much of the book takes place in the Savage Land during current storyline arc, there is just enough great background and origin information in flashback sequences (ala LOST) you can really understand the motivation and depth of the Skrull Queen’s plans and mindset.  You see and understand just how much the Skrulls are willing to sacrifice and what they are willing to do to achieve their goals.  And it’s actually scary and fascinating at the same time.

There is some excellent dialogue moments with Spiderman and how he reacts to seeing Captain America (whom everyone thinks is dead) in the Savage Land.  The resoultion of these events is shocking, all the way laced with Peter’s wit and sensibilities.  I’d react the same way which just makes Peter Parker that so much more believable and acceptable to the reader.

And what was great as this was a fabulous story all contained within the Savage Land, leaving the other books to deal with the larger story.  I guess you could say this was a complimentary book in every definition of the term, but not needed, but greatly appreciated to the Secret Invasion.

Comics: Secret Invasion #4

1 of 4 covers

1 of 4 covers

While it seems that DC’s Final Crisis is taking its sweet time to come out for its next issue and taking a little criticism to boot, (I heard that first few issues had lower than expected sales and there’s a notable percentage of readers who seem to be slightly let down so far, me included) Marvel is plugging away at Secret Invasion.

With issue 4 now out, (and four different covers) it seems there’s a brief sidestep of the agressive soryline that the first three issues really delivered on.  That’s not to say there is no action here in issue 4, we just aren’t hit with any new revelations or jaw dropping panels.  It seems that the heroes are taking a quick breath to collect their wits after what transpired in the Savage Land and the intense battle with the all new Super Skrulls downtown Manhattan.

We open with a captured Reed Richards being stretched out and interogated by the Skrulls, and a few panels updating readers the major hotspots.

Natasha Romanov (aka Black Widow) spies a confused Tony Stark and Jessica Drew (aka Spider Woman) Skrull imposter as Tony tries to repair his armor in a secluded area of the Savage Land (BTW: Where the heck did Ka-za and Sheena go?)  Natasha chases the fake Jessica away and tries to snap Tony out of his mental paraylsis when Wolverine comes on the scene.  Natasha has a few great lines here as she confronts the identity of Wolverine (I won’t give it away, but it’s classic Bendis).

In Manhattan it seems Nick Fury arrives with the calvary ( a group of new amateur/green heroes who just debuted last month) and helps the heroes limp away so they can regroup.  It appears many of the heroes are surprised by his return, and not quite sure if they can trust him or not wondering if this is just another Skrull imposter and another trap is about to be sprung.  For me, this story line and overall arc is a great way to bring Fury back into the mainstream Marvel universe.  Probably one of the best overall re-treatments of a character in a long, long time.

The one exciting moment for me, while brief, was the was the villain The Hood reacts to the Skrull invasion.  While his minions are happy to see the heroes duke it out with the Skrulls, he sees the bigger picture and to The Hood, it’s not about the heroes right now.  It’s about the humans and the Skrulls, and no way are the Skrulls taking over his territory.  So it looks like The Hood and his goons are going to join the fray on the sides of humanity,….another great way to take a B-list villian and not only flesh him out but elevate him in a way a reader would not normally expect.  Go Bendis!!

We close this chapter with everything in flux, but the last panel shows a sneak peak of what can only be Capt. America.  But which one?  Is it the new Bucky?  Is it an alien imposter?  Is it the time displaced Cap. from Secret Invaders?  Or is it our beloved Steve Rogers back from the presumed dead?