Legend has it that Elvis’ Presley’s agent Colonel Tom Parker once said that Elvis’ death was the best career move he ever made. A similar sort of cruel logic can be applied to Captain America. By dying, he saved his own life.
If you think about it, Captain America should be considered one of the greatest superheroes ever, but whenever you ask people who their favorite superheroes are, he rarely comes up. A lot of people respond to the sleek edginess of Batman, while others like how Green Lantern gets to tour the galaxy on a regular basis, but somehow Captain America is forgotten. Think about it though: the guy is drawn beating up Hitler in the 40s.
When Captain America died at the end of Civil War (shot in the chest by a brain-washed Sharon Carter) he suddenly became relevant again. Somehow, it was like by seeing him die, fans realized he was cooler than we ever gave him credit for. While many overlooked his title while he lived, suddenly everyone was talking after he died, anxious for his return.
For a while, Marvel made it seem like he wouldn’t be coming back. He was even deposited at the bottom of the ocean in a clear cask. His former sidekick Bucky Barnes took his place as a younger, edgier Captain America.
In 2010 he returned in Captain America: Reborn. I just read the 6 part series. (spoiler) Basically, as part of a completely dunderheaded plot by the Red Skull, Captain America was made to appear dead, but was instead “unstuck in time” (like Kurt Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim). Apparently, this was all masterminded to drive Steve Rogers insane, but really makes very little sense. Why wouldn’t the Red Skull just really let him die? Oh well, supervillains are always inscrutable.
After he returned to the land of the living, Steve Rogers opted not to don his patriotic outfit right away, leaving Bucky to continue in his stead. For a while, he wore a black and white costume and played a supervisory role. He hops back into action during the Siege event, but just as quickly as he returns, he retires again.
Finally, in Fear Itself, (spoiler) after Bucky Barnes is rather brutally killed by The Red Skull’s Daughter Sin (to better understand her character, read Captain America: Reborn), Steve puts on the red, white and blue duds and saves the day, but unfortunately doesn’t have a satisfactory battle with Sin.
Captain America’s death and gradual return may very well have been a crafty marketing campaign to make the character grab our attentions, but what can I say? It worked. Now I’m more interested in Captain America than I’ve ever been.
On a side-note, did anyone think the death and return of Bruce Wayne was redundant of the return of Steve Rogers? Both were shot, sent through time, replaced by their former sidekicks, and turned into living weapons only to be saved by their friends in the end.
Also (spoiler), now that Johnny Storm’s coming back to the Fantastic Four (has that happened yet?), do you think he’ll be more interesting? To be honest, I found him to be pretty annoying, and would find any change in his character refreshing.
—–I’ve written a new book titled A Rapturous Occasion, available right now as an ebook on Amazon and on bn.com. For a short time, it’ll be available for $1.50. Very soon it will be available in paperback. To see the facebook page for A Rapturous Occasion, click here.
What does everyone else think of Captain America’s return?