Since the dawn of the Silver Age, legacy characters have been a staple of superhero fiction, and having a new character step into a well-loved role can open up new opportunities for writers and artists to tell different kinds of stories. In this new feature, I’ll be looking back at some of the notable and not-so-notable heroes and villains that have assumed some of the most iconic mantles in the superhero genre.
For our first installment, we’re looking at the legacy of Captain America, and the men who have carried the flag in Steve Rogers’ stead. From America’s wartime shame to Steve’s very best friend, there have perhaps been more people to wield the shield than you may have realized, and not all of them have been as virtuous and upstanding as the man himself.
What do we talk about when we talk about love? That Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes love each other is inarguable. It's all over those first two Captain America movies. It's in their goodbyes and their reunions. It's in the pain on Steve's face when Bucky doesn't recognize him, and the pain on Bucky's face when he does. It's in Bucky offering frail young Steve a place to stay, and in superhero Steve offering damaged cyborg Bucky a helping hand.
So we can all agree that Steve and Bucky, Captain America and the Winter Soldier, love each other a lot. It's only the nature of their love that's up for debate. We all know they're close friends, but whether they're more than friends is a matter of subtext and speculation. Of fantasy and fan fiction.
This week's announcement of a second Captain America title, Captain America: Steve Rogers, to run alongside the current Captain America: Sam Wilson series, is the latest example of a Marvel legacy hero getting to share a name with its originator. It's a trend that reflects two facets of Marvel's approach to major heroes. On the one hand, the publisher almost always gives big name legacy identities to characters that provide greater diversity than their predecessors, whether it's Cap, Spider-Man Thor, Hulk, Hawkeye, Wolverine, Nick Fury, Giant Man, or Ms Marvel. On the other hand, Marvel's big name heroes almost always come back.
The new Cap comic has plenty of promise; Steve Rogers is a popular and beloved character, and the team of artist Jesus Saiz and writer Nick Spencer should deliver great stories. Spencer is also the writer on the Sam Wilson title, so it's reassuring to know that he hasn't passed up Sam for Steve, and that Sam will still hold on to the iconic round shield. But Marvel's decision to make Sam Wilson the Captain America felt like a big deal. Is it still a big deal if he's just a Captain America?
With the Captain America: Civil War movie fast approaching, and the Civil War II crossover to go with it, the return of Steve Rogers to (physical) youth and the Captain America name was basically inevitable. And now Marvel has officially announced that Steve is getting his own Captain America: Steve Rogers series this spring, written by Nick Spencer, with art by Jesus Saiz, and featuring a new version of his costume and a brand new shield designed by Daniel Acuña.
Captain America: Sam Wilson #1, by Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna, has caused a stir since its release last week. The second launch for former Falcon Sam Wilson in his role as the current thrower of the mighty shield sees him taking on the Sons of the Serpent, who are abducting Mexicans attempting to cross the border into the US. The same issue also sees Cap making a public call for national unity, which gets him branded as a partisan, anti-American, and a socialist.
Conservatives on social media are riled up, with some petitioning for writer Nick Spencer's 'resignation'. Political advocacy group The MacIver Insitute was apparently the first to claim the Sons of the Serpent as its ideological peers in a YouTube video objecting to the storyline, while Saturday morning's Fox And Friends TV talk show saw co-host Clayton Henry pine for for the days when Cap was "punching Hitler" and fighting typical Captain America villains, rather than "going up against conservatives."
Apparently, the company has applied that approach to its Marvel Studios output. Reddit user DavinderB has tracked down 10 different screenshots of Captain America's list of things he needs to learn about to catch up to the 21st Century in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and depending on the country where the movie's being shown, the list is different. Check out the differences after the jump.
With just a day left before Captain America: The Winter Soldier opens in theaters on April 4, Hot Toys has revealed two more 1/6 scale collectible figures from the film. Coming later this year is an individual figure of Cap in his new Stealth S.T.R.I.K.E. Suit, plus a Captain America & Steve Rogers Collectible Figures Set that pairs the S.T.R.I.K.E. Suited Cap with a Steve Rogers figure.
What happens when you mix Steve Rogers, Harvey Pekar and James Kochalka together? Apparently, the answer is Steve Rogers' American Captain, a fictional diary comic by America's favorite super-soldier that helps him try to make sense of the world in which he's woken up, sixty-plus years after ending up frozen after fighting Nazis...
If you thought all Captain America had been up to between getting thawed out of a block of ice and teaming up with Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye in The Avengersmovie was destroying punching bags, you'll be happy to know that a newly-revealed bonus scene sees Steve Rogers actually leave the gym...
Superhero comics have with increasing frequency been turning out stories that match epic scope with epic length, with massive world-saving adventures featuring casts of hundreds covering several issue-long arcs crossing over into multiple other books with spin-offs and tie-ins...
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