To be honest, I am far more of a DC Comics fan than I am Marvel. For one, the characters are well rounded and far more iconic than their Marvel counterparts. As Frank Miller put it, there are many comic heroes, but only three comic gods (Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman), all of which are DC Comics characters. Not only are these three characters timeless, but great lengths are taken to preserve them and what they stand for from one interpretation to the next. You don’t see this done in Marvel comics.
The reason for this, in my opinion, stems from the lack in originality in Marvel’s character design, as well the inability to create characters with any serious depth. For the former point, most of the comic company’s cast of characters are derived from various characters in DC Comics. Stan Lee’s X-Men, which debuted in September 1963 borrows heavily from Arnold Drake’s Doom Patrol, which debuted in June of that year, even copying Dr. Niles Caulder for the character of Professor Charles Xavier. Anyone willing to spend the time looking through the various superheroes and superhero teams can see that originality is not Marvel’s strong suit. As for the latter point, one just has to look to characters like Wolverine, who’s depth matches the two dimensional comic book pages he appears in. I could go on about why DC Comics is a more quality product, I could discuss the failure of the Marvel movie merchandise lines, the success of the last few DC Comic movies and games, including Batman: Arkham Asylum, but that isn’t the point of this blog post.
If any Marvel character is worthy of praise, it is Captain America. Sure Archie Comic’s Shield predated him by fourteen months (Marvel originality at its finest), but Captain America is the corner stone of Marvel comics. While not the most dynamic character, his patriotism and firmly held conservative beliefs make him a hero others look up to. Anytime Steve Rogers appears on the scene, he instantly inspires confidence and unity among his allies. He is the superhero in Marvel comics that other want to emulate, and even veterans like Spider-Man can’t help but be awestruck in his presence. He isn’t simply a hero, he is symbol other rally behind, Marvel’s Superman, he is what is great about America, or he at least was until recently.
Captain America used to be Marvel’s answer to Superman, but lately he has become something else. Marvel comics, under the direction of Joe Quesada, Marvel’s newest editor-in-chief, has taken a sharp politically left turn in recent years and Captain America has become one of his victims. Explaining why Captain America was killed at the end of Civil War, Quesada told CNN that “He hasn’t been living in the modern world and the world does move”. Joe continued, hinting that since Steve Rogers doesn’t stand for what America is anymore, it was only fitting to have him killed off. Excuse me, but since when did the United States stop being the United States? The problem was that the Rogers’ Captain America was too conservative for Quesada, and he had to be replaced with someone who fit more with Joe’s reality (or lack thereof) of what America was to him.
Enter James “Bucky” Barnes, the former partner of Captain America turned Soviet agent Winter Soldier. Having lived in the Soviet Union following his apparent death in World War II, Barnes had been indoctrinated in Soviet politics and trained to be an assassin, a twisted reflection of Captain America. Upon Roger’s death, Barnes took up the mantle at the request of Tony Stark, Iron Man, but he was no Captain America. This new Cap carried a combat knife and a gun, and was far darker than his predecessor. Barnes was also teamed up with Natalia Romanova, the Black Widow, former Soviet agent and former lover. To me, this Soviet Captain America and his ex-Soviet partner seems to be a serious political statement about Quesada’s view of what America stands for now, seeing as how Rogers was supposedly outdated. Problem is that Captain America’s fans, including myself, weren’t too happy with this new direction for the character.
While dead was supposed to mean DEAD this time around (Marvel superheroes have a nasty habit of not staying in the ground), it wasn’t long till Marvel was forced to bring Steve Rogers back. Joe Quesada and his staff discussed how they had always meant to bring him back, contrary to what they tried to do to convince readers otherwise (shooting him dead, having his body shrivel up and buried, having Thor communicate with his soul on the way to the afterlife, etc), and that the new storyline, Reborn, would set things right. Problem is, when killing the American icon, they created a mess which made as much sense as their attempt to bring him back from the dead. To add insult to injury, the one-shot following the Reborn story arch, Who Will Wield the Shield?, has President Barack Obama pardoning Rogers for his actions during Civil War, stating that he was “risking his reputation” by doing so. Excuse me, but since when has Barack Obama ever had a reputation worth tarnishing? So pardoning a true American hero for standing up for other heroes’ privacy rights is somehow worse than befriending various terrorists and brutal dictators? Pathetic, but it gets worse.
As discussed by Allahpundit at Hot Air, the Bucky Captain America is now targeting Tea Party protesters. Marvel comics has decided to depict the Tea Partiers as racist for protesting President Obama, just another political statement by Quesada and his team (remember Spider-Man meets Barack Obama?). Seeing how they opposed what America is “supposed to be,’ it is up to the former Soviet to put a stop to their free speech and right to protest, protecting the “New America” from Americans. It is downright disturbing that the former symbol of liberty is being used to crush it, but this is what Marvel has been about for a while hasn’t it? Even before Joe Quesada took up the helm of editor-in-chief, the comic giant has jumped from one social/political topic to the other. Whether it was their take on the HIV/AIDS crisis more than a decade ago with the Legacy Virus, their over promotion of homosexuality, described by George E. Haggerty as being “less prolific but more deliberate,” their promotion of the election of Barack Obama, etc Marvel has always been trying to remake its image by moving from one fad to another, mostly those with left-wing leanings. The recent move to San Francisco by the X-Men, along with their declaration and support of the policies of “Sanctuary City”, policies that have already cost lives in the real world, furthers this point. While it isn’t a surprise to see comics being political, as per the controversial Superman: Red Son, Marvel comics has become far more blatantly so in the last few years that it has come to the point where it is parroting Democratic Party policy. This attack on the Tea Party protesters by Captain America is disgustingly political, far worse than Quesada’s killing of the American icon two and a half years ago.
Once again, this is why I prefer DC Comics. Characters like Superman are timeless and represent far more than any fad-hopping Marvel equivalent could. While Captain America is now doing the bidding of a corrupt President, one that doesn’t appreciate freedom of speech and the right of protest, Superman was standing aside during the election of Lex Luthor to the Oval Office. This was a statement about his place within politics, and how the American people were the ones who elected their leaders, no matter how misguided their choice in president might be, and that he didn’t have the right to push his own beliefs onto them. Batman’s liberal use of coercive force and the formation of the Outsiders is a continuing statement of the harsh realities of the world we live in, that what they do, no matter how “unheroic” it is, must be done for the greater good. The formation of Checkmate by the United Nations Security Council (pretend they are a sensible and realistic group instead of the paper tiger they are in real life) and the use of the Suicide Squad also furthers this point, something that you wouldn’t find in Marvel comics without being depicted as entirely negative. Unless it is “hip” and politically popular, those like Joe Quesada would never allow it.
They might as well have buried Captain America’s Shield with him, because his name and legacy is not only being misused, it is being abused by Marvel comics. Bucky couldn’t replace Steve Rogers, Bucky couldn’t even preserve what the American icon stood for. It is as if they had killed him again… This time someone should put a bullet in him and he should stay dead, at least until Joe Quesada leaves Marvel comics and someone who actually understands what America is and what it means to be American takes his place. Pathetic…
P.S. Been mulling over whether or not to pick up Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2 for a while now, but seeing how politically backwards the comic giant has become, I might as well spend my money on another game, something I know won’t be funding this kind of nonsense. Disgusting…
UPDATE: Fox News is reporting that Marvel will be removing the “Tea Bag” reference from the latest issue of Captain America, but that is about it. Ed Brubaker, the writer of the controversial story, is nothing less than a far-left radical using this story to push his own political beliefs. It is reported that he has tweeted quiet a few political charged statements on Twitter about Sarah Palin, Michele Bachman and former President George W. Bush. Joe Quesada is trying to spin this story, saying that there is no connection to the Tea Party demonstrations, but anyone who reads the opening pages where Bucky and Sam “Snap” Wilson, The Falcon, are talking about an anti-tax rally and the “hate the government vibe” clearly indicates otherwise.
Tell you what Joe, either get rid of writers like Ed or expect DC Comics to pick up the patriotic Americans your brand of bullshit politics is alienating. Pathetic…