Cap Attack: The Return of Steve Rogers

by Shawn Lampron

If you’re a regular follower of Geek Force Five, and a follower of my writing, you know that the ink is still relatively wet on an article I penned about Captain America.  In an incredible display of blandishments, I declared Captain America to be the best mainstream comic of 2008.  Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, had died in an emotionally moving fashion, but writer Ed Brubaker masterfully guided the book into a must-read as Bucky Barnes, former sidekick to Cap, took up the mantle.

It’s been two years since the death of Steve Rogers and the book is still going strong.  Somehow, Ed Brubaker had accomplished the impossible.  He’d killed off a major character and appointed a successor with not only a lack of fan backlash, but he received critical and fan acclaim instead.  However, every fan knew that somewhere down the road, somebody would roll poor Steve Rogers’ corpse out for a resurrection.  I was heartbroken to hear that it was none other than Ed Brubaker himself who was planning this abomination after only two years.  The man who pulled Captain America from forgettable 90’s storylines was succumbing to the worst of comic sins.

First, let me voice my objections by expanding on that period of time during the late eighties and nineties.  By that point in time, as I was a young boy beginning to collect, Captain America had become a horribly unreadable book.  The character of Captain America at that point in time was a tired version of your father who spoke in the clichés of your grandfather.  In short, he was like Hulk Hogan telling you to take your vitamins without any of the irony or hulking out.  I’d prefer to remember Steve Rogers going down for what he believed after a successful renewal of the character for two years.  Let him rest on a high note and stand as a symbol for years to come in Marvel continuity.

Next, I object to the impact on Bucky Barnes.  The man has made a fantastic transition to Captain America, and in many ways, is far more interesting than Steve Rogers.  His background as a former brainwashed spy for Soviet Russia is a history that has just started to be explored.  It could be successfully mined for years without anybody whining about Steve Rogers.  Is he back to being Bucky, a sidekick?  Does he go back to his old spy name, the Winter Soldier?  Neither identity fits this man after the growth he’s made in the last few years.

Finally, the issue of renumbering has reared its ugly head.  While it may seem minor to some, it annoys the hell out of me.  When I first read an awful Cap issue all those years ago, the title was already in the 400s, burdened by a bloated mess of a history with a supporting cast of lame characters.  Brubaker’s reboot with a new number 1 and his subsequent run was a breath of fresh air, as I’ve stated.  The new numbering represents that new beginning.  Going back to the old system just smacks of drumming up interest and press where none is needed.  Captain America has been good enough without a lame grab for attention.

In the end, I’m upset, but not surprised.  Thoughts?