The 1989 Avengers West Coast Annual featured an unusual short story by Mark Waid and then-newcomer Amanda Conner called "Rate The Hunks," in which Wasp and She-Hulk offered their expert assessment on the sex appeal of their male Avengers colleagues. Almost thirty years later, we've assembled our own experts to repeat the exercise, with an updated twist.
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.
We find ourselves on the cusp of a prime example of that as Marvel prepares to release Captain America: Civil War, which heavily tests the star-spangled hero’s duty, friendships, and beliefs. Civil War is one of those arcs that sees Captain America in one of his most human moments, when the Steve Rogers character is challenged to wage a war between what he believes in and what he represents. It’s not hard to see why Marvel chose to dip into that arc for the next Captain America movie, nor is hard to see why folks love to cosplay this versatile character.
We’ve gathered their efforts here in one place for you to enjoy. The wealth of Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson, rule 63s and more demonstrate admirably that though Captain America is often seen as a white bread hero, no one can be excluded from portraying one of the oldest guardians of freedom in comics. Whether you’re Team Cap or Team Iron Man, we can all agree these fine folks lay it on the line to do Caps justice. This is the best Captain America cosplay.
Marvel’s spring event Avengers Standoff rolled into Sam Wilson: Captain America this week, in an oversized special in honor of Captain America’s seventy-fifth anniversary. In an action packed issue featuring stories from Greg Rucka & Mike Perkins, Tim Sale, and Joss Whedon & John Cassaday, the main story by Nick Spencer, Daniel Acuña and Angel Unzueta saw an old favorite return to form, hotter than he’s ever looked.
Falcon is the man. Dude gets some serious chiding about his running from a superhero hopped up on TRT, HGH and any number of other substances deemed illegal for use by the Olympics, the USADA, the NSAC, the Sokovia Accords and people who think sports were better when people didn't have to wear helmets. And for what? Because he couldn't keep up with a morning jog? It was basically the Marvel movie version of "Do you even lift bro?" Yet Sam Wilson still opened his door to Steve Rogers when he needed a place to crash, and even helped him overthrow a HYDRA insurgency within SHIELD in spite of how rude Captain America was to him. Falcon is the man.
While he's gotten a figure from Hot Toys before, this latest version is much closer to the comic character we've all come to know and love since his arrival decades ago. The more realistic, militarized version worked well for a debut in Captain America: The Winter Solider, but the revamped model with red highlights helps separate him from the drab gunmetal of enlisted characters like War Machine. While it's not quite as rocking as his current comic look, the Captain America: Civil War Falcon still manages to have a signature look that gives him a bit more personality on the crowded battlefield.
It's no secret that white male leads have dominated comic books since --- well forever. In the '60s, Marvel and DC finally started to put a change to that with the addition of super-powered people of color, which led to some of today's biggest names in comics. But it still wasn't enough. Eventually the lack of diversity led to the onset of Milestone Media in the '90s, where Dwayne McDuffie, Denys Cowan, Michael Davis, and Derek T. Dingle crafted several intriguing characters. With an increasingly active black nerd, or blerd, community, new black characters are being created every day --- primarily through independent publishers, though Marvel has also kickstarted a focus on one of its most notable black characters --- but more on that later.
To celebrate Black History Month, ComicsAlliance is running down our list of 20 Great Black Comic Book Characters. Our list considers old staples as well as some new favorites, including a certain katana wielding badass, space explorers and of course, plenty of superheroes.
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."
Kamala Khan is an Avenger now, and that's pretty great. Miles Morales is also an Avenger now, and that's great too. And, of course, Jane Foster is Thor, and Sam Wilson is Captain America, and Vision is Vision, and Sam Alexander is Nova, and... well, Tony Stark is still Iron Man, I think. But I'd be happy if they replaced that guy too, because replacing those other heroes has honestly made this one of the most exciting and vibrant Avengers line-ups in years! Let's replace Tony Stark with America Chavez!
But even with boring ol' Tony sticking around, I am on board for this team, and hopefully you are too. But in case you need convincing, here's an unlettered preview of All-New All-Different Avengers #1 by Mark Waid and Mahmud Asrar!