Captain America is a great character when done right. In the hands of a writer that understands the character, Cap is a symbol of honor and courage and leadership. And, him being a walking flag and all, he can be used as a way to start discussions on the political climate of the day. Problem is he is not always done right. And in the hands of a writer that does not understand him Cap’s his traits and symbolism quickly devolve into cliché and jingoism. It is a fine and tricky line to walk, especially if you are dealing with not only a legacy version of the character but an African-American version as well.
Captain America traditionally is of course Steve Rogers, the WWII lab experiment turned hero most of the time but there have been a few people over the years that have taken up the mantle for one reason or another including retirement, disillusionment and death in various sundry forms.
This time around the shield was given to Sam Wilson, AKA the Falcon, when Steve was depowered and began to age rapidly. Now the announcement of a black Captain America caused minor kerfuffle but that was mainly from a small group of stupid people and was summarily dismissed. The majority of people, like myself, welcomed this news if for nothing else because the character of the Falcon is awesome and the move was seen as him getting a”promotion” to the A-list. And diversity doesn’t hurt either.
As I write this there has been a new announcement that Steve Rogers will get his powers back and retake the mantle of Captain America. Anyone who reads comics knew this was going to happen as depowerment and death are temporary things in comics because…comics! We all knew the “real” Captain would eventually come back at some point.
The interesting this is that Marvel has decided to keep Sam Wilson in the role as well so there will be two Captains working concurrently. How that will work exactly remains to be seen but here’s hoping that whatever the outcome the “demotion” of Sam Wilson will be handled with with some care and delicacy. Basically I hope they don’t white-wash this whole thing, if you know what I mean.
But that is in the future and right now (as far as this blog is concerned) we have a first issue with an all new, all different Captain America.
And one that does not shy away from politics and controversy.