Adam Graham's Blog: Christians and Superheroes - Posts Tagged "captain-america"

And the Winner of the 2012 Election Is...

Captain America? While America suspense over who will win the real election, with campaign fever on full blast, Marvel decided that the Ultimate Universe had a fever and the only prescription was President Captain America.

This is a far better choice than other comic book presidents such as Lex Luthor and Dr. Doom.

Of course, President Cap has far more on his plate than the current budget crisis including alien invasions and nuclear crisis problems. So the problems of the Ultimate Marvel Universe are suited to a man like Captain America. (Note: Mainstream Continuity Captain America isn't President.)

Whoever we elect today won't have that same character we associate with Captain America.

It's remarkable in a way that we still associate Captain America with his more golden age version given how much the comic books have tried to disassemble that. During Watergate, Captain America abandoned his identity to become Nomad. And in the Ultimate Version, he's portrayed as a Church-going cursing hypocrite who complains about sex and cursing in the movies while dating a married woman. In the mainstream universe, he's portrayed as questioning America's role in the world.

When confronted with the latest nutty attempts by liberal comic book writers to mess around with Captain America, conservatives don't like Captain America less, they like his writers less and are upset at the writers for messing around with an American Icon and fondly remember the days when for a dime could read the Adventures of Captain America Commie Smasher.

Of course, Marvel takes the official stand that didn't happen and that a crazy guy impersonating Captain America was the one doing it. After all, what could be more crazy then fighting people who are spies for countries that murdered more than 100 million innocent people? (Combined between Stalin and Mao.)

Regardless of what happens in the Comic Books and how the character is redefined, Cap. remains that quintessential American hero, Marvel's Answer to Superman if not in physical strength, but in moral strength. Sadly, this Captain America is not on the ballot, but wouldn't it be great if he was?
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Published on November 06, 2012 08:32 Tags: captain-america

Review: Marvel Masterworks Golden Age All Winners Squad Volume 1

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age All-Winners, Vol. 1 Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age All-Winners, Vol. 1 by Joe Simon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This Masterworks Collection Covers stories Published in the quarterly All Winners Comics from 1941-42.

Each comic features stories from five superheroes with no team up as happened in other comics such as the All Star Comics. All four issues feature the original Human Torch, Captain America and Bucky, and Sub-mariner. The first issue features the Angel and the Black Marvel. The last three issues improve this by featuring the Destroyer and the Whizzer

And perhaps, it's best to start with the Characters from my favorite to the least favorite:

The Destroyer: One of Stan Lee's earliest creations and according to comic historians, his most popular character prior to the Fantastic Four. The premise was brilliant. Most every hero for every company lent some type of hand to the war effort. However Keene Marlowe would fight the Nazis from behind enemy lines as the Destroyer. The three Destroyer stories in this book were by far, the most thrilling surprise in the book. The concept is brilliant and nearly flawlessly executed.

Captain America: Cap is the same as in his own magazine. So if you like Captain America Magazine, you'll love these stories as well. He and Bucky face their usual blend of spies and seemingly supernatural foes giving the stories a patriotic Scooby Doo feeling.

Namor: The mighty Sub-mariner is quite a bit different in these books than the broody anti-hero of the Silver Age. Here, he's glib, almost wise-cracking as he deals with his foe. While originally a pure anti-hero, Namor is fighting on the side of the angels for the duration, though some of the anti-hero tendencies show up in the third issue when he fights pirates and kills one of them underseas, then insists after securing the treasure the owners had been seeking and defeated the pirates demanded a cut for the owner but the cut was to go into defense bonds, so it was all good.

The Human Torch: Really, non-plused about this hero. His adventures were nothing special, kind of average overall.

The Angel: Character has a pretty good reputation, but the one story here didn't impress me.

The Whizzer: Stories range from below average in All Winners #2 to nearly incomprehensible in All Winners #4. The Whizzer is none too bright and unlike DC and the Flash, Timely didn't make much of its speedster hero.

The Black Marvel: The one advantage of the Whizzer was that his stories were still not as weak as the Black Marvel's.

Overall thoughts on the book:

This book contains some early work by eighteen to nineteen year old Stan Lee including two two-page text stories which put all the characters together. In Issue 1, they put on an exhibition for a young reader and Issue 2, Marvel's big 3 (Captain America, Namor, and Torch) petition the editors to allow The Whizzer and the Destroyer in the book. The stories are more precocious than enlightening. Still, it's amazing to think Lee has been in this industry for 70 years.

The book had pretty standard themes for the day with the heroes facing a mix of typical hoods and Nazi and Japanese spies. There are a lot of patriotic moments, particularly in the Captain America and Destroyer stories.

The series suffered some in issues 3 and particularly 4, as budget cuts led to people being hired who clearly didn't understand the character. In one part of the Namor Story in Issue 4, Namor has to take refuge at a house during a storm. Strange behavior for someone who lives underwater. And then there's the aforementioned Whizzer story.

The stories include the requisite Golden Age Cheesiness. In the first Destroyer story, the Destroyer walks into a German Citizen and says, "Where's the nearest concentration camp?" In Issue 3's Sub-mariner Story, Namor chides pirates for not knowing about him, by advising them they should be reading Marvel Comics.

Overall, the stories are fun, but they're a step below from the stories produced by DC and predecessor companies in the same era. Still, makes a great collection for fans of Stan Lee, Captain America, and Namor, also for those who want to meet the coolest World War II superhero you never heard of, The Destroyer.

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Published on March 11, 2013 19:44 Tags: captain-america, human-torch, submariner

Book Review: Captain America; To Serve and Protect

Captain America: To Serve & Protect Captain America: To Serve & Protect by Mark Waid

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects Volume 3 of Captain America Issues 1-7 from the late 1990s. Volume 2 of Captain America was the year-long Heroes Reborn saga that had Cap in an alternate universe along with other characters such as the Fantastic Four and Iron Man and Volume 3 features Captain America's return to the main Marvel universe. Mark Waid who wrote the brilliant Captain America: Operation Rebirth to close out Volume 1.

Issue 1 features Cap coming to in modern day Japan in time to thwart a terrorist plot. In his year long absence, Captain America finds he's become an iconic figure and that a movie was made based on his life after his disappearance in Onslaught. He bemoans the disappearance of traditional Japanese culture and is taken aback by the adulation he receives.

The next six issues are all interrelated as Hydra rears its ugly head and attempts to hijack a Submarine. Issue 2 is full of Shield-slinging action as Cap rescues the sub's crew and mentions a couple times about cool his Shield is and what an awesome weapon it is and wonders what he'll do without it. At the end of Issue 2, he loses his shield in the Atlantic Ocean and even Namor can't find it.

Issue 3 finds him struggling with his replacement shield. He can't aim it properly to throw it. But he has to use it anyway as he rushes in to save the Smithsonian institution from Hydra and in gratitude, the Smithsonian gives Cap his triangular World War 2 shield. He can't throw this one either, but it's something he had used before and its comforting. The only other real benefit to it is that it protects a greater area than the round shield.

Issues 4-7 focus on the rise of Capmania with the last titled, "The Power and the Glory" which features Captain America's popularity on the rise and the new Sensational Hydra is actually happy about it, while Cap is disturbed by the adulation he's receiving.

The book has a lot of positives. There are some solid plots, particularly taking each issue individually. Cap had a great series of guest stars here: Iron Man, Thor, Hawkeye, and Quicksilver among others. The action in Issues 2 and 3 was particularly thrilling old school Cap kicking tale and taking names.

The book as a whole served as a study in fame and asked some great questions in a fun way and raised the danger of celebrity and supporting personalities without actually understanding principle. If we follow great principles, we'll never go wrong. If only follow people, we can easily fall astray when people do.

Captain America makes this work quite well. He remains courageous, principles, and above all humble (despite him inexplicably saying in the concluding speech that he got caught up in Capmania.) The only flaw with Cap is that he occasionally walked the line between introspection and being whyin and having doubt in the principles he aspouses.

The book does illustrate a challenge with writing Captain America. Waid tries to bring him to standing FOR things rather than just fighting supervillains, but the political lines drawn in America these days make it so that at the end Cap only really delivers very general principles that pretty much everyone believes in. You go into too much policy stuff and you alienate people.

Without spoiling too many details, unless his only motive is to have revenge on Captain America, the Sensational Hydra's plot is a little dumb. You also have to wonder what it says about Captain America that he'd rather take a SHIELD that's less versatile than learn to use the new one Tony Stark made for him.

Still, this is a great book for anyone who is a fan of Captain America. Waid continues to do a great job with the character and I'll enjoy reading his next book on the series.

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Published on November 19, 2013 18:44 Tags: captain-america, mark-waid

Daredevil v. Captain America Debate

I debate with Blaine over at Bureau 42 on which is better Captain America or Daredevil with me arguing for Captain America. Click here to check out the debate.
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Published on November 28, 2013 07:40 Tags: captain-america, daredevil

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age All-Winners, Vol. 4

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age All-Winners, Vol. 4 Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age All-Winners, Vol. 4 by Bill Finger

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This final of All Winners Comics collects Issues 15-19, 21 and Vol. 2, Issue 1 collecting issues from 1945 and '46 and the series 1948 revival.

The writing and art for the first four issues was far from great in Issues 15-18. The first three issues featured stories with the Sub-mariner, Captain America, and the Whizzer. The Human Torch who was the other member of Marvel's big 3 was left out due to printing restrictions during the war, but returned in Issue 18. The Sub-Mariner's face had become ridiculous with a shape that was a lot like a slice of Pizza. The stories with the most potential in these first few issues were actually the Whizzer which could have been a lot of fun if they weren't hastily wrapped up in 8 pages.

But, the reason to read this book was Issue 19 which featured Marvel's first superhero team: The All-Winners Squad with Captain America, Namor, the Human Torch, the Whizzer, and Miss America together in one adventure. In a way that illustrated that even in 1946, Marvel was quite different from DC, this first adventure begins with the Human Torch accusing Namor of false-dealing and Namor and the Torch's sidekick Toro storming out in a huff. Yeah, that's the Marvel way of having a superhero team.

Like many of the All Star Comics and Leading Comics stories, the All Winners Sqaud followed a pattern where individual heroes would have an adventure and then team back up at the end. The Sub-mariner/Toro adventure was probably the highlight of the issue as Namor was particularly anti-social and the two had contrasting powers. The overall adventure was fun, solid, but could just as easily been a Seven Soldiers of Victory story or All Star Squad.

There was no Issue 20 and Roy Thomas speculate on why in his always-enlightening introduction, but Issue 21 features another All-Winners Squad adventure. This time the Squad faces a scientist from the future who plans to depopulate 20th Century earth to make way for his own people. In some ways, this calls to be mind the Silver and Bronze Age encounters with Kang the Conqurer.

This story requires a little more suspension of disbelief as the Futureman sets to go to each continent. We have to believe that the All Winners Squad will find him in time, but it's the Golden Age of comics and believing is what it's all about.

All Winners went out of business and relaunched in August 1948 without the squad but with stories from each of the big three: Namor, Captain America, and Human Torch, as well as a new comer the Blonde Phantom. The Namor story was a nice little detective episode and Namor's face was not so unnaturally triangular anymore. The Cap story was fine and a lot of fun. It was the type of lighter golden age fare that Batman and Superman enjoyed but I'd never seen from cap between fighting Nazis and the Horror comics. The Torch story was just a standard crime affair. In his introduction, Roy Thomas states that the Blonde Phantom was meant to compete with Wonder Woman and he compared her to a female Batman. To me she looks more like a combination of Quality's Phantom Lady and Will Eisner's Lady Luck. Either way, she wasn't headliner material.

Overall, this is a mixed book. The early story are unremarkable and show the dearth of quality available during the war. The All Winners Squad stories are firsts for the Marvel universe and well-worth the read. And Volume 2, Issue was a noble attempt to keep Superheroes alive that sadly didn't work out.

The Roy Thomas intro is exhaustive and educational, so overall, it's a collection worth reading.

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Published on December 18, 2013 17:49 Tags: captain-america, golden-age, human-torch, submariner

Book Review: Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Captain America, Vol. 3

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Captain America, Vol. 3 Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Captain America, Vol. 3 by Joe Simon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This book collects Issues 9-12 of the Golden Age Captain America. It also includes a contrast of styles. Issues 9 and 10 were the last for creators Jack Kirby and Joe Simon and Issues 11 and 12 were the first two under the hand of Young Stan Lee as at least editor and perhaps writer.

The Simon-Kirby books were marked by a series of short tales that were a mix between horror and espionage. Under Stan Lee,the stories became more like the superhero stories that were being put out by DC and its predecessor companies, and also a bit longer. One of my highlights is Captain America #12 which rather than featuring three small stories, they featured two full length adventures covering a total of 40 pages. Keeping in mind this was a monthly magazine, that wasn't bad for a dime. All the Captain America stories are typically great.

The Marvel Masterworks collects reprints the whole book with its back up features which doesn't add anything other than for diehard completists. They're pretty tame. We're given four stories featuring newsman Headline Hunter, and two superheroes named Father Time and the Hurricane who believe that being a good superhero means ripping your shirt off for no reason. The Hurricane was another attempt to answer DC's Flash. The reason for Father Time remains foggy. The big weakness of these stories have been the limited space. They only had 5-7 pages to tell them and even the heroes had to rush. In Captain American #11, a woman is shocked that her cousin tried to kill her. The Hurricane (moving fast as always) interrupts with, "Let's forget it about Florence, what are you doing tonight?") There were certainly artists and writers that could make these short stories work. They just weren't working for Marvel predecessor Timely.

The one exception and one really delightful extra appears in Captain America #12 in the Stan Lee story with The Imp, a very cute kids superhero story told in Dr. Suessesque style rhyme.

Overall, the book's upside includes works by true comic greats Jack Kirby and Joe Simon at their prime and some fun stuff by young Stan Lee. The weak extra between detract a little, but not enough to make this book anything other than a Must-read for Captain American and comic fans.

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Published on January 14, 2014 18:09 Tags: captain-america, golden-age

Book Review: Captain America Man Out of Time

Captain America: Man Out of Time Captain America: Man Out of Time by Mark Waid

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Former Captain America writer Mark Waid retells the story of Captain America freezing in time, only more in line with the movies, he imagines Cap awakening in the 21st Century rather than the 1960s.

The book has some good stuff in it to be sure. Cap would have a fair amount of serious culture shock and Waid captures that in a way that was better than the movies.

Waid made the decision to make this book a character piece and have nearly all of the action and supervillain fighting occurring off panel. The biggest villain to play any role is Kang the Conqueror.

Issue 1 is essentially a very long conversation between Captain America and Bucky about what they'll do after the war. It's a somewhat tedious issue and it leads into Issue 2 where Captain America is discovered in the late 1990s and early 21st century.

I should add that the artist preserved one of the silliest inconsistencies in Avengers #4 where Cap originally joined the Silver Age (also included in this volume.) In Avengers #4, in the scene in which Bucky dies and Cap plunges into the Ocean they're dressed in Army Khakis. However, Captain America wakes up in his uniform with his shield. Kirby got away with it because there was about a page flashback of Cap and Bucky. It doesn't work out as well in this one since he spends an entire issue in Khakis so the fact that we next see him as Captain America looks really inconsistent.

Issue 2 focuses on the culture shock at the future and Waid does his best work here though at times this goes over the top where Captain America almost seems Tick-like. It is however realistic to imagine him somewhat awestruck and thrown off balance.

The rest of the book is somewhat downhill. In Issue 3, he's ready to go home using time travel and pledges to save Bucky and live as a hobo as not to interfere with space time. Tony Stark gives a great speech on how the 21st Century is great and how much better things are than in the 1940s which is good because President Obama says Cap can't travel in time due to the uknown risk.

In Issue 4, we get (to quote Green Arrow from Kingdom Come), the Democratic response to Tony Stark's optomism from dying retired general Jacob Simon ( a play on Cap creators Jack Kirby and Joe Simon) who complains that Martin Luther King was shot and no pitchers actually bat for themselves anymore. I'm not certain which angered the general more or why he hasn't heard of the National League in which pitchers do bat for themselves.

I won't write too much about the rest other than to say, it was most underwhelming and unsatisfying. Captain America: Man Out of Time delves into the issue of which is better: now or the 1940s and how Cap views whether the world has gotten better and doesn't really answer the question in a satisfactory way. It's an angst driven story without enough fuel to lift off and in many ways it betrays the Captain America character.

Sure, I could see Captain America feeling homesick for the 1940s but being willing to use time travel to re-insert himself into the timeline and having to be told not to is a stretch. Cap is often whiny and brooding in this book which is just not the Cap we know.

To be fair, those things were a small part of Cap's character into the Silver Age but he would throw himself into helping others and fighting evil. By de-emphasizing action, Waid gave us a far more one dimensional portrayal.

And the idea of whether things were better in the 1940s or worse has little to do with who Captain America is. The point of Captain America has never been that things were better in the 1940s. Rather, Cap embodied the best of that generation and a part of that era that we lost. That gets lost in the debate that's set up in this story.

This is the first Mark Waid story I've read where the art is the best part of the book. Overall, disappointing.

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Published on April 22, 2014 20:53 Tags: captain-america

Book Review: Captain America: American Nightmare

Captain America: American Nightmare Captain America: American Nightmare by Mark Waid

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Having liked Mark Waid's first run on Captain America with "Reborn" and "Man Without a Country" as well as the first volume of his second run on the series Captain America: To Serve and Protect,I Was looking forward to this volume too. Unfortunately, it didn't quite live up to my expectations. This book collects Captain America #8-13, Captain American-Iron Man Annual, and Captain America/Citizen V Annual.

Here's a blow by blow breakdown:

Captain America: Issue 8: Live Kree or Die Part 2. This issue is part of the crossover event Live Kree or Die which has Captain America being summoned to Florida by Warbird (Carol Danvers) to fight Kree who are performing experiments on human beings in their efforts as members of the Lunatic legion. Cap shows his fighting spirit and how he always puts others first while Danvers continues her decline to the sad (temporary) end that would result at the end of Live Kree or Die. My complaint with this story has nothing to do with how Waid wrote it but Marvel's editorial decision to include Part 2 of a four part story, and then summaries on either side. To me, that's just not cool. Either reprint the whole story or skip the comic as it doesn't tie much into Cap's main arch. By the way, Live Kree or Die should be reprinted in full somewhere. Grade: D+

Captain America: Issues 9-12: American Nightmare: The title story for this collection has some intriguing moments and includes Cap's new electric shield. There's also a nice plot with Cap discovering that in his absence, his apartment has been over by squatters led by an out of work of father and how he handles it is classic. The way the story actually plays out is a bit weak. The vilain is just bizarre and his plot is based on his equating the "American Dream" with the type of dream people have when they sleep. It also seems to suggest that patriotic people who believe in stuff are ones in danger of destroying everything which is actually kind of awful given the level of cynicism out out there. I have to wonder if this story was some veiled critique of objectivism as people under the spell of this evil allege others are taking advantage of them and one person even destroys his own building at the end of Issue 9 ala Howard Roark in the Fountainhead. Either way, I don't think Waid does a good job fleshing out the point if there was one. Grade: C-

Captain America/Iron Man Annual: Iron Man has a battle with a mind controlling villain and gets in a position where he can wipe out everyone's memory of his secret identity having determined that way too many people know it. However, when he starts retelling them, he finds them less than pleased and none are less pleased than Captain America who doesn't appreciate Iron Man violating his rights and the rights of others. But meanwhile Iron Man and Cap have to battle a villain and learn a lesson. I don't much care for this story due to its relativistic bent which doesn't fit Cap at his bent. It's meant to have circumstances show both heroes the other's perspective but that's not really the point of a character like Cap. The story has some good moments, but still it's only so so.

Captain America/Citizen V Annual: Captain America America ends up teaming up with Citizen V, the grandchild of the original character from the Golden Age. This story is by Kurt Busiek rather than Waid and it's actually a fun story. Baron Zemo had pretended to be Citizen V as part of the Thunderbirds in hopes of taking over the world during the time that the Avengers and FF were in another dimension. However, this is the real McCoy who wants to take Zemo down. There's a great World War II flashback of Cap and the original Citizen V in action and a great story of this mysterious hero battling Cap with Baron Zemo. This is a very fun story. Grade: A-

Captain America issue 13: Plausible Deniability: Captain America tries to help a candidate who had tried to get Captain America's endorsement but wound up with the endorse of a Scrull duplicate instead. Cap wants to find out how to help him and how to avoid having Cap involved in politics. At the same time, he has suspicions about the incumbent Congressman that could include him being under the control of one of the moment powerful forces for evil in the Marvel Universe. Decent and well intentioned. Grade: B+

I should also that the book's enhanced by an illustrated text recap of the life and times of the Red Skull (who actually doesn't appear until the next took.)

Overall, this is a decent book, with some ups and downs-though American Nightmare is probably the biggest down in the whole book and that's four issues of Captain America. For my part, I'll probably try and get the next book in this series through interlibrary loan rather than purchase.

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Published on July 02, 2014 19:00 Tags: captain-america

Book Review: Golden Age Captain America Masterworks, Volume 4

Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Captain America, Vol. 4 Marvel Masterworks: Golden Age Captain America, Vol. 4 by Stan Lee

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The fourth volume of Marvel Masterworks Captain America stories collects Issues 13-16 of Captain America Comics. These issues were written post-Pearl Harbor and reflect the mood (for the most part) with kids being urged to buy war stamps, and even being urged to cut down on comic book purchases (imagine a comic book company doing that) to buy more war stamps and it being announced that Captain America's Sentinels of Liberty not receiving a certificate so that paper can be better used for the war effort.

Here is a feature by feature round up of the book as each book included two full length Captain America stories plus other features:

Captain America: The Eight Cap stories are strong. They're somewhat typical war action stories with a horror bent so the series remained true to the original vision of creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby. The art isn't Kirby and Art Avilson's drawing of all American enemies with fang-like teeth is a bit over the top but it was wartime.

The two standout Cap Stories are Issue 3's "The Invasion from Mars" by the legendary Bill Finger which features a "real" Martian invasion in the midst of the War making for an interesting plot. Issue 4's "The Red Skull's Deadly Revenge" is a 24-page epic by the 19 year old Stan Lee. The story's grand plot and its creation of mythology around the Cap-Red Skull rivalry provides a great preview of the type of stories Lee would write more than two decades later when he launched the Marvel age with big battles and heroic struggles.

Ironically these stories contain the biggest goofs in the book with "The Invasion from Mars" mis-spelling Orson Welles' name and the art of "The Red Skull's Deadly Revenge" featured the Skull having the Japanese rising sun on his shirt and then switched within the same story to the traditional Swastika. Apparently, the Skull shops at Axiswear.

Still, all of the Cap stories are good with these two being must-reads.

The Imp: Really somewhat of a departure from the rest of the book. It's a pure children's feature with the rhyming lovable imp taking on every day foes in a great story for younger readers. It's delightful and just really fun to read by Stan Lee that showcases his early humor.

Secret Stamp: One of the most dorky (albeit patriotic) superhero concepts ever. Roddy Colt, a paperboy who also sells Defenase Stamps has his bike stolen. A reporters buy him a new one, so he decides to become a defense stamp themed superhero who helps ferret out fifth columnists, with his biggest clue as to who might be a potential fifth columnist: people who don't buy defense stamps.

This is a series of stories you just have to enjoy for their unintentional hilarity. While it's well-meaning, it's a truly silly feature.

Headline Hunter: Thankfully, this strip made it's last appearance in Captain America #13. As a concept, it was very weak. Essentially, a reporter goes around punching out bad guys for six pages and that's the whole plot.

The other portions of the book are pretty forgettable include four two page text stories and short humor strips, Elmer and Percy. However the book is worth reading for some great Golden Age Captain America stories, the charm of the Imp, and the goofiness of Secret Stamp.

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Published on November 04, 2014 15:16 Tags: captain-america

Book Review: Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty

Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty was a year long second Captain America series with tales told throughout Captain America's history from the 1940s to the modern day. There's no overriding story, rather these are kind of like, "Untold Tales of Spider-man" or perhaps D.C.' s Legends of the Dark Knight.

Mark Waid (who was writing the principle Captain America series at the time) writes most of the stories in this book.

Let's break down the stories, one by one:

The book leads off with a Sharon Carter story that showcases the difference between Cap's values and those of others in intelligence including Nick Fury, who had no problem with a black ops raid where the goal is to take people out. The way the book plays out highlights how Steve Rogers character calls those around him to a higher standard. An odd choice to lead off the book, but solid. Grade: B

The second story, "Descent into Madness" is a three part World War II thriller following the adult members of the Invaders (Captain America, the Human Torch, and Submariner) in an adventure that takes the team to Atlantis. Nazis have taken over the android Human Torch and are using him as a weapon to attack the Atlanteans in the name of America in hopes of get Atlantis to ally with the Nazis. It's a great wartime story and was actually better than many of the Invaders stories I read from the 1970s. I do have to say that Cap's psychoanalysis of the relationship between Sub-mariner and his mother felt a little off for 1940s Captain America. Then again, the Invaders was written during the 1970s about the 1940s so maybe it's not so far fetched after all. Also Ron Gurney (who was also the regular artist on the Captain America comic) does a great job on the art and bringing the 1940s to life. Grade: B+

Issue 5 featured two shorter stories that were concluded in Issue 6. Issue 6 also featured another continued story that'd be wrapped up in Issue 7.

"Old Soldier/Iron Will" features an untold story set after the events of Avengers #4 with Captain America thawing out and joining the Avengers. Iron Man's having second thoughts as to whether Cap really hasn't lost a step in two decades. The story captures the "Man out of time" feel of Captain America pretty well as the Brooklynite Cap comes to a demolished Ebbetts Fields and assumes people are moody because they missed their favorite radio program. Of course, they encounter an enemy that shows Cap's timeless value. The story had a lot of nice touches including the villain (which only Waid would think of with his incomparable comic book knowledge) and Iron Man in his Silver Age armor. Grade: A-

"The Great Pretender/Double Trouble" A story finds Captain America undercover in an insane asylum as someone claiming to be Captain America because inmate is rattling off natural security secrets and Cap has to find out why, and he's not the only one interested as proved by the arrival of the Chameleon. The story is good but nothing really special. Grade: B-

"Come the Revolution/When Free Men Shall Stand": This story was written by Roger Stern who wrote for Cap in the 1980s and imagines Steve Rogers as having a revolutionary war ancestor who fought and wore a colorful costume and shield. The story was okay, but really seemed to miss the point of Captain America. Steve Rogers wasn't a guy with ancestors who fought in the Revolution. Most guys didn't have that. It's the type of story you'd expect in the Silver Age-if Cap were at DC. Grade: C

"An Ending:" This story written by Brian Vaughn would be appropriate if this comic were called, "FDR." The point of the story is that FDR managed to get a young Steve Rogers through a very difficult early life with all of his radio speeches and then gave Captain America the courage to actually fight the by admitting his polio had left him wheelchair bound. While FDR certainly was popular, it seems odd to have a story that serves no other purpose other than show FDR as young Steve Rogers personal savior and inspiration for everything. Grade: C-

"Flashpoint/Back in Black": This story in Issues 8 and 9 features the Cap and his bronze age partner, the Falcon (i.e. Sam Wilson, a Black Harlem social worker.) When Cap is apparently killed in a plot by the Sons of the Serpent to claim him as one of their own, Wilson takes over as Captain America. The story has a lot to say about how racial hatred is stirred up and the actual plot as well as Sam Wilson's relationship with Cap makes the story interesting. Less so, the denoument which is a bit odd. Still, this was pretty enjoyable. Grade: B

"The Janus Chamber:" This is an odd one involving Captain America trying to save JFK and Marilyn Monroe, and a singer. The story attempts parody and acknowledges at the beginning that it's ahistorical, but as it is, it's a very lame attempt of humor that when it's most understandable is actually kind of offensive particularly using the JFK assassination as punchline. The art is terrible. Really, this is the worst Captain America art I've ever seen. It's just awful. Grade: F

"Hello? Hello? Send some new Linoleum:" This story has the Human Torch explaining to the real Captain America the story of how he met an imposter who fooled everyone but used his status as "Captain America" to rob the bank. The story is recreated almost exactly as it was in the 1963 Silver Age Strange Tales story with Cap incredulous at it all, "He buys a ferrari, a rocket-equipped sky platform, and a state of the art escape missile to rob twenty grand from the bank." Cap's humor may be a little off base, but the whole story is charming and funny. Grade: A-

"Brother in Arms" The double length final issue has Cap recalling his relationship with Bucky. Here Waid has to work to flesh out the character of Bucky: Why was he a "mascot" in the middle of wartime? What was he like? Waid fills in the character by making him a bit of a scrounger and the young orphan son of a training officer who is allowed to remain on base. He's a charmer and Cap worries if he understands what life's all about. The story ends very poignantly the moment before Bucky's assumed death during the battle against Baron Zemo. Waid does a good job and this is a nice way to end the book. Grade: A-

Overall, the book is worth getting particularly at the relatively low prices that it sells for as used. The Mark Waid stories are great if you've been a fan of Cap through his many changes. The rest of the book is only so so.
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Published on November 30, 2014 18:16 Tags: captain-america

Christians and Superheroes

Adam Graham
I'm a Christian who writes superhero fiction (some parody and some serious.)

On this blog, we'll take a look at:

1) Superhero stories
2) Issues of faith in relation to Superhero stories
3) Writing Superhe
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