There’s been a lot of controversy about killing and resurrecting superheroes. I know that, because we’ve done a lot of that here on ComicMix
. It’s fun. Be that as it may, Steve Rogers is dead, deal with it; Bucky Barnes is alive, so we (meaning me) should deal with that, too.
Quite frankly, I would have been burning effigies of Joey Quesada for allowing ol’ Bucky to rise from the grave – if not for the simple fact that Ed Brubaker’s run in Captain America is so damn great. Any lesser achievement would have inflamed my wrath and you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry.
Well, maybe you would, but only from afar.
Wandering back towards the point, it’s perfectly fair for someone to inherit the mantle of a “dead” superhero. I did this when I was editing The Flash; management wanted a new person inside the suit, and I felt strongly that Wally West earned his stab at adulthood. If Bucky Barnes (now referred to as “James”) is alive and well, he deserves the shield and cowl. So it’s only appropriate that I comment on Bucky’s transcendence.
There’s an odd timeliness to the story, as it opens with the doubling of the price of gas and thousands of homes being foreclosed. That puts a sharp contemporary edge on a story about a guy who should be 80 years old and keeps on linking his feelings to those he experienced in The War. But the economic apocalypse is a story-point that establishes the role Captain America will play in this continuing story.
When I say “continuing,” I mean just that. It’s called “The Death of Captain America Act 2 – The Burden of Dreams, Part 4.” If you haven’t been following the arc, you might want to wait for the trade.
If you’re a bit disconcerted about Bucky’s wearing a sidearm, well, Brubaker establishes the revived young man as his own man, giving him a logical reason to carry a gun. Continuity fans should take comfort in the fact that during The War – as envisioned by Timely Comics – Captain America and Bucky both carried ordinance routinely.
Outside of Joe’s reappearance on The Colbert Report
, I was mildly surprised to see the resurrection story get so much press – and on the day of the Florida primary to boot. I guess there’s a bit of life in the “life-after-death superhero” angle, but I think that since three of the past four generations were raised with Captain America, people care about the guy – certainly, in these troubled times where our government is heading rudderless down the Niagara. That put a lot of responsibility on the creative team.
Writer Ed Brubaker and artists Steve Epting and Butch Guice were up for the task. This is a solid chapter in a fine series, one of the best Captain America mega-stories I’ve read since, well, the Cosmic Cube. Nice job polishing the icon, guys.
Thanks to Matt Raub for the emergency comic book delivery.
Mike Gold is editor-in-chief of the mighty ComicMix marching society.