His Name was the Captain! Also, What If Crap

March 9th, 2007 by | Tags: , , , ,

I was going to use Wednesday to finish up the latest installment of Deadshot’s Tophat — filled with nothing but B and C-listers this time — but the big Marvel newsworthy thing kind of distracted me. I myself couldn’t go more than two minutes online without being bombarded with the big spoiler. Another five minutes later, the Reign of Supermen reference jokes were beaten into the ground.

(Yes, yes. We get it. Visor Captain America and a black guy in Cap armor.)

Whatever. It was still a great issue and had more surprises than CNN and Yahoo let us know. I trust Brubaker as far as I can urinate, so I’m sure this arc will be just as fantastic as the past 24 issues.

Poor Jeph Loeb. He writes a silly reveal that Hawkeye from the Heroes Reborn world is really Logan, only to have it smacked down by Captain America #25.

Now that Civil War is over and Captain America did that thing that he did in that issue that got spoiled, I look back and notice the familiarity. Back when I did the What If Countdown, there was one issue that didn’t make the list, but I didn’t so much hate it. Looking through the story, I see several parallels with what Marvel’s been giving us lately. Let’s take a look.

The issue is What If Steve Rogers Had Refused to Give Up Being Captain America (What If vol. 2, #3), written by Jim Valentino. And no, Spider-Man doesn’t die in it.

The background is that a corrupt politician told Captain America that he belonged to the US and the people who run it. They owned the brand. Originally, Rogers gave up being Captain America and just became the Captain. John Walker took up the role as Captain America and soon everything rubber-banded back to normal. In this reality, Rogers decides to cut the shit.

“Captain America is more than just some abstract concept to be held at the mercy of some political agenda! It is an ideal of freedom! An ideal I’ve worked hard to personify for most of my life! I will not let you or anyone else pervert that ideal!”

This is when the similarities begin. Cap openly disagrees with a government superior. So what happens next?

They jump the gun and let a bunch of armed soldiers loose on Cap. Due to his superpower of kicking ass, our hero easily bypasses everyone and escapes.

Via satellite, Captain America tells his Avenger buddies that he’s quitting the team. He brings up that the team is already getting heat for Iron Man’s Armor Wars storyline, which brings in the “Tony Stark is a jerk” factor.

Then we get to the heroes vs. heroes bit. Sort of. Freedom Force breaks in and under Henry Gyrich’s orders, they search the place for Cap. This gets the Avengers angry enough to start a brief fight, stopped by Gyrich. Gyrich uses his authority-cock to disband the Avengers because he’s a douche like that. It’s okay, though. They had Dr. Druid on the team. They deserved disassembling.

We’re already involving Freedom Force – a group of terrorists being used by the government in exchange for amnesty. But what if there was a team of heroes put together by the government explicitly to track down Captain America and bring him to justice?

Oh, and the Taskmaster. With the amnesty thing.

The team here is Superpatriot (John Walker) and the Buckies. Taskmaster makes Walker the leader, since he’s easily the most skilled.

True to Civil War, Captain America gathers up some of his closer hero friends (here they are Falcon, Nomad, Vagabond and D-Man) and gets some underground support. With Rick Jones, they make a public appearance to speak Cap’s side of the story. Superpatriot and the Buckies arrive on the scene and it becomes a big, pointless fight sequence with the citizens running in fear.

The battle doesn’t end with Cap giving up, but with the appearance of Nick Fury, SHIELD and Ronald Reagan. Reagan peacefully keeps everyone at bay and announces that all of Cap’s charges are dropped. There’s no real parallel with Civil War to speak of here, unless you stretch it a bit and count “making fun of the President”.

Doesn’t matter, either way. This is the important part.

That blond guy is Red Skull, if you haven’t figured it out. This was back before Walker turned him into a red, bulb-headed freak.

Captain America is dead, much like he is now. Currently, we don’t know the next step in 616 continuity, such as what the Captain America series will be like for the next umpteen issues. There is speculation, of course. Some think that Bucky might become the new Captain America. I’d be for that. The more popular suggestion is Frank Castle as Captain America. That could be just as great.

But you know… Frank Castle. A gung-ho, violent, mentally-unbalanced soldier as Captain America?

Funny, in this issue, John Walker becomes Captain America following Rogers’ death. Unlike 616, Rogers isn’t around to stop Walker from going too far with his hotheaded authority. So we get this.


There you go. Mainstream copies the tangent yet again. Red Skull ended up winning in that old What If comic, but therein lies the difference. That was the end of a story. Brubaker’s only just begun with his.

Besides, we already know Frank Castle as Captain America isn’t a complete recipe for disaster.

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2 comments to “His Name was the Captain! Also, What If Crap”

  1. Ugh, those spit lines! Those are terrible. It’s like he’s got gum in his mouth.

  2. nice one.