I just finished the third episode of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and I’ve had a question bouncing around in my head since the first episode. It never once occurred to me reading about these characters in comic books but it rises when you place them within the nature and structure of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The piece will have light plot spoilers for the first three episodes of The Falcon and the Winter Solider so if you’ve not seen any of it and you don’t want anything spoiled, feel free to click away now. I enjoyed your visit! If you don’t mind light spoilers, then by all means read on. You do you :D. With that being said, this piece will consider the question of the emotional and moral weight of trying to carry Captain America’s shield once Steve Rogers himself is gone.
Four years ago I wrote a piece titled, “Captain America and the Defense of the American Dream.” I posted it on Inauguration Day and it considered how we, as a nation, should respond to Trump’s election, using Captain America as the frame for analysis. It examined Captain America as a character, his history, and what lessons he could offer when the world we thought we knew was turned so completely upside down. Now, four years later, Joe Biden is about to be sworn in as the 46th President of the United States alongside Kamala Harris – the first woman, first Woman of Color, first Indian America, and the first Asian American to hold the office of Vice President. I find myself looking to Captain America once again, to the brilliant narrative Ta-Nehisi Coates’ has been telling in Captain America since July 2018, as I try to process the last four years and consider my roll in the future.
Quarantine brings lots of time to read so I guess there’s a little silver lining to be found in our lives of social distancing and self-isolation. While I’ve been at home, I’ve been doing a fair amount of reading. Since I’ve had Bucky Barnes on my mind lately, I thought the time was right to finally read Ed Burbank’s “Winter Solider,” the 2005 storyline that served as the inspiration for one of the MCU’s most well-received films. I figured I’d use the format I chose when I wrote about Marvel’s epic “Civil War” storyline a little over a year ago, too. With a story so widely known and discussed in popular (comic) culture circles, where there any surprises left to be found reading it fifteen years after the fact? Continue reading
This is a sequel of sorts, to one of the earliest pieces I ever wrote on this site. However, it isn’t a piece I was planning on writing now or, if I’m being honest, ever. I wasn’t planning on writing tonight as I’m in D.C. for the PCA/ACA National Conference on Popular Culture. My week’s focus is attending exciting panels and presenting my paper on The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl. So writing wasn’t on the agenda. However I HAD to write because something’s been gnawing and I had to express it. You see, last night my pre-Avengers: Endgame marathon came to Captain America: Civil War and, well, something struck me – something I never thought I’d see or say or believe. But here we are. Continue reading
That’s right world, I finally did it! I FINALLY read Marvel’s “Civil War.” It only took me twelve years to do it :). This was, arguably, the biggest thing to happen to comic books during my seventeen year break in reading them. It was a company-wide crossover unlike anything Marvel had attempted before. It was a story working perfectly in-universe while also serving as one of the defining allegories of the times. Parts of it worked as comic books do when they are operating at their highest level. It was a shining example of a modern myth. Naturally, I’ve always been intrigued by it and it was certainly impossible (well impossible if you’re interested in comic books) to not have heard all about it. So it’s been a treat, as I’ve spent the last few months reading this modern epic, to find a few things which legitimately surprised me. Continue reading
In 2010, Scarlett Johansson brought Natasha Romanoff – the Russian assassin turned S.H.I.E.L.D. super spy turned Avenger, the Black Widow – to life in Iron Man 2. Since then, she’s appeared in seven different Marvel movies, more than any other Avenger save Iron Man (nine) and Captain America (eight (and the only reason Cap beats her is because he has cameos in TWO films)). In addition to screen time, I would also argue the Black Widow is more important to the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a whole, story-wise, than any other Avenger save Tony or Cap. Despite that, we still have yet to see a Black Widow solo movie. Yet, as one of the MCU’s richest creations, she’s worthy of serious acclaim. This piece has been rolling around in my head for some time. Given Avengers: Infinity War’s release this week has me looking back, getting nostalgic over, and celebrating the MCU, it seemed like the perfect time to finally write it. Continue reading
Guest Post by Kathleen of Graphic Novelty2
This week, Michael of My Comic Relief, Kalie of Just Dread-full, Nancy, and I are going head to head – trying to decide which cinematic superhero Chris is best!!! Yesterday, Michael posted a pretty good case for Chris Pratt. However, read on to see my case for the obvious choice, Chris Evans ;D Continue reading
In the wake of Secret Empire’s conclusion, Nick Spencer stepped away from Captain America, the title he shepherded for Marvel from October 2015 through September 2017. During this time he handled the majority of Sam Wilson’s iconic turn as Cap as well as the (infamously controversial) Hydra corruption of Steve Rogers, resulting in Steve becoming a fanatical white supremacist. Amidst the most soul-crushing, hopeless storyline I’ve ever read in a comic, Spencer orchestrated the resurrection of hope in a way so authentically powerful, I felt as though I’d been reborn along with Steve Rogers. Now, in the Marvel Legacy era, Rodney Barnes has taken over writing the brand-new Falcon series while Mark Waid has taken over Captain America. For me, the results have been mixed. Continue reading
Nick Spencer’s Secret Empire came to a close on August 30th with Secret Empire #10. As I read the final chapter, I knew I’d write something about it. I’ve written about Secret Empire a few times and I’m pretty open about my love and respect for Sam Wilson: Captain America. But I didn’t want to write something right away. Secret Empire’s finale deserved more than my knee-jerk reaction. I wanted to take time to really think about it before I tried to write anything. It was an elegant story, equal parts epic superhero crossover and haunting allegory of our times. But it didn’t stop there, daring to speak to one of our most intimate and eternal human struggles. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Thank you Nick Spencer for such a thoughtful, moving, important, and inspiring story. And thank you Marvel for backing such courageous storytelling. Continue reading
Last week Nick Spencer delivered one of Secret Empire’s most important pieces yet in Captain America #25. I knew when I read it, I’d be writing about it. But I hadn’t expected to do so this quickly. However, as I watched the news unfold on Saturday, I couldn’t get this issue out of my mind. The comic, dropping “Sam Wilson” from the title with this issue, is simply Captain America once more. The narrative juxtaposes the approach of two very different Captain Americas. The allegory is clear. Who do we choose? Who are we? It’s a question calling each reader to deep contemplation on a personal and national level, a question I ask myself daily. Continue reading