Monday, August 15, 2011

Captain America week starts now

So this is kind of strange since I originally just had planned to post my big Captain America post in shorter, better digestible parts. But when I realized that I would at least need 5 posts - which is well above my usual posting quota for one week - I thought about turning it all into an event called CAPTAIN AMERICA WEEK.

The only problem is that while I posted the first part early on Monday ( around six o´clock in the morning ) according to the blog it was posted on Sunday. So it would be weird to have started CAPTAIN AMERICA WEEK on a Sunday. On the other hand I´m not sure if I have enough material for six more posts. Unless I have to split the REAL Captain America post ( remember this is still part two of the intro ) into two parts which would give me four posts, two for the english version and two for the german version. But I think I may already be boring you with all this numbers. After all we´ll just have to cross this bridge when we get to it.

Back to the intro for the big Captain America post, in the first part I talked a bit about how I originally came into the whole Captain America series through the golden days of Mike Zeck and how I got hooked with my first big storyline : the one in which Steve Rogers quits being Captain America and becomes The Captain, Jack Daniels becomes Captain America, Steve Rogers takes up the mantle of Captain America again and Jack Daniels becomes the US Agent.

In this part we´ll go over the following period, which was my longest on the book ( until that time at least ) where Kieron Dwyer put his mark on the book before Ron Lim took over. And a few horrenduous comics I had the good fortune to miss completely ( click here for part 3 and the big Captain America post ( german version ) .

When last we saw our hero Steve Rogers had just reclaimed the superhero identity of the Sentinel of Liberty, the man they call Captain America ...

Originally written on Wednesday, May the 16th, 2007

After a few issues dealing with Steve´s return to the role of Cap ( including this awfully drawn one with Mother Night

whose skintight robe lead to many phantasies not suitable for minors )

began THE BLOODSTONE HUNT a six - part story that introduced CROSSBONES one of the best characters of Captain America lore. Due to his striking visual, his recklessness and a costume that was a cross between pirate and punisher he quickly became a fan favorite.

Now I don´t know if I already had a pull list or a steady comic dealer at that time but I have some gaps in my collection. I didn´t read the storyline linear and only found some of the issues years later. I have some of the ACTS OF VENGEANCE issues but right now I don´t remember which ones.

I remember the next big storyline was STREETS OF POISON in which Captain America inhaled a lot of drugs that were vaporised during a warehouse explosion. These drugs reacted with the super soldier formula and sent Cap on the worst trip ever. So this is the second time Cap turned into a maniac. So that´s no novel idea.

The new regular artist was Ron Lim who is a special favorite of me. He had a spectacular run on Silver Surfer and took over the INFINITY franchise after George Perez left the first miniseries. For the last years he hasn´t done much work but this year he did a AVENGERS NEXT miniseries and is doing an upcoming FANTASTIC FIVE miniseries. I´m a big fan of the Marvel2 universe especially when Ron Lim is doing the artwork like in Juggernaut2.

During STREETS OF POISON Captain America went on a rampage fighting against friends, foes and teenagers and in the end had to purge his system from the super soldier serum. He lost his additional strength and had to train again and make much more effort to mantain his usual performance levels which turned his confrontation with Crossbones into a trial by fire.

Another storyline that came out of the BLOODSTONE HUNT was Steve´s romantic involvement with Diamondback and the storyline with the Serpent society. I slowly lost interest in the title and only had some scattered issues.

There are some issues which I would truly have liked to read like this one where Captain America meets Paul Bunyan and other american myths and persons of the american history. ( edit : I have, in the meantime, managed to get my hands on it and it´s really a whacky issue with great art by Ron Lim. )

Or this one would have been especially interesting for german comic readers.

With other comics I was glad I haven´t read them especially the issues with MODAM. As if MODOK was not bad enough someone at Marvel had to go and make a female version. I think MODOK was Marvel´s first superdeformed character.

The last issue I bought was this one with Thor ( or was it Eric Masterson ? ) as a guest star sporting his stylish new armor. In the story they were in this " haunted house " full of goo. The less said about it the better.

So I missed such brilliant issues like the one with Capwolf ( I really can´t believe they got six full issues out of a storyline that would have been a six page story in the 70s ) .....

and even more MODAM.....

or Cap´s garish new armor. You just have to love it when you can see how much influence the marketing ( in this instance the toy manufacturers ) has on a company. I mean who came up with this ugly sumbitch ? I would not be caught dead in this flytrap. Which probably was Cap´s problem anyway. Oh no, where is your " the pain " sticker when you really need it ?

This was the reason that I missed the first issue of Mark Waid´s run on Captain America. Within two issues he managed to turn the lagging title that was mere moments away from cancellation into a must - read title again. Starting with the death of Captain America he brought the Red Skull back, one of Cap´s best villains who in the end battled with Cap for a cosmic cube.

Aided by the fantastic art of Ron Garney Cap was one of Marvel´s cashcows again. Super stories with super art. Comic readers loved it. Comic critics loved it. Comic writers envied it. So normally it couldn´t last longer than ten issues. When Marvel had the brilliant idea to re - " image " - ine their books Captain Marvel was one of the titles that got the special treatment of Rob Liefeld. So one month we had this.

And the next month we had this.

Somehow Marvel thought it would be a great idea to let iMAGE guys relaunch four of their books. Fantastic Four was cool artwise - as long as Jim Lee was drawing, Iron Man was also interesting artwise because of Whilce Portacchio and had some good story too. The other two books were done by Rob Liefeld and while Avengers had some perverse interest Captain America got the brunt of the negative reaction.

And that´s no wonder. Rob gave us a Cap with an eagle on his forehead instead of the traditional " a ", magic boots that changed from panel to panel but most importantly he gave us the infamous.....manboobs. I don´t know what he was thinking ....

He also gave us a female version of Bucky that ended up in an alternative universe or whatnot. It´s difficult to remember the whole HEROES REBORN fiasko. At least it didn´t last more than a year and after it the old books returned.

Now I have to say that I read the issues. Yes, I did. I got them with a package deal and they were cheap. What´s even worse is that it´s not the worst story I´ve read. There are other stories that are far worse like John Byrne´s SPIDER - MAN : CHAPTER ONE.

The story is about Steve Rogers, a guy who discoveres that he used to be Captain America but they somehow wiped his memory. He finds out about a secret conspiracy and ends up fighting Hydra agents in Washington and stuff. The story used all the usual elements but with modernized versions of Red Skull, Baron Zemo and the Falcon. Nothing really new and just your basical espionage, sci fi / spy flick but quite entertaining.

So yes, not only did I really read Rob Liefeld´s CAPTAIN AMERICA, it´s also not the worst story I have read. And his female Bucky even made it into the real Marvel universe where she had her own shortlived miniseries before she appeared in Ed Brubaker´s Captain America book as a back - up feature.

And on that note I´d like to end the second part of the intro to the big Captain America post. In our next post : more Mark Waid, more Red Skull, more Cosmic Cube.....and three shields for the price of one !

Change of plan : I know you expect a video that´s somehow related to Captain America but instead I´m going to post one I found on Neil Gaiman´s blog ( now also to be found on the blogroll ) and which is kind of a follow - up to my love letter to the awesomeness that is Neil . Right now I´m reading THE GRAVEYARD BOOK - after having finished ANANSI BOYS and CORALINE before takling the CORALINE graphic novel - so I just had to post this brilliant black and white silent version of the book done by kids from Toronto. Spoiler warning : you should not watch it before reading the book.

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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

What an insight review, I like your article.