I haven’t forgotten about the Captain America part of what I’m doing. I just don’t have as much of a grasp on the character as I do with Batman. I mean, Batman has had fifty bajillion TV incarnations and he was DC’s Wolverine for a while where they put him in seventeen books each month. Also there’s this:
So I had to take some time and think about what I wanted this Captain America series to be about. Didn’t actually take me too terrible long to figure it out. This is going to be about Nazi. Naw, not really, but the first question I had when I got deep deep into the story is how are these guys still alive? I know how Steve is alive. Frozen and all that. Bucky went through some stuff. Red Skull is on that juice. I get that.
How the hell old is Arnim Zola? What’s the deal with Baron Zemo? What about Baron Strucker and the Grand Director? Doesn’t Crossbones backstory date him back to the 50s with the communist era Red Skull? Maybe they explained it here and I missed it? It’s just one of those things that’s kind of funny about comic books. Captain America’s origin is something we can’t change now. When Stan Lee resurrected him in the 60s he set the direction for the character forever.
It’s weird, because most of the big market super heroes have origins that we can’t mess with, the difference is most of those aren’t time dependent. Captain America is facing a smiliar (yet much less dramatic) problem to the Justice Society of America. I have no doubt that the JSA will show up in the new DC Universe sooner or later, what I’m wondering is how they’ll go about it. World War II only gets farther and farther away from us. Pretty soon a lot of things are going to have to change. If Marvel ever has to reboot Captain America again then Steve is going to wake up and not be dealing with his friends being super old, or meeting their children, but meeting his friend’s children and great grandchildren. WWII was so long ago that his significance won’t have the same impact. Why would an Iron Man that got his start in the 1990s, a Thor who didn’t come to earth until 2002, a Spidey who starts slinging webs yesterday, or a Luke Cage who’s been cleaning the streets of Harlem up for ten years now buckle before Cap? Yes, his actions could play a part, and he has the ability to adapt and all, but in a little while this time gap is going to pose a problem. With more characters like the Eli Bradley Patriot or the Victor Alvarez Power Man showing up in the Marvel U Respect is going to be much harder to earn. No more of this, he’s an old white guy, he must know what’s right in the world, stuff. (Note; I like Captain America a lot. I’m cool with how he has the respect of everyone in the Marvel Universe save for Eli. I’m just saying with the Marvel Universe being a cynical place Cap coming right in and taking over is going to be a much harder sell.)
Even more, his Villains that weren’t frozen in Ice with him? The heck are they going to do? Baron Zemo (my personal favorite Nazi of all time) is going to have been a Thunderbolt for sixty years waiting on Capt to come back. Now, if creators stopped fooling around with all this realism jazz it wouldn’t be that big a deal, but in trying to keep things “real” Cap is going to need an all new rogues gallery.
This is not at all what I really wanted to talk about. I really wanted to talk about the feasibility of using Nazis as enemies in the 2010s. This was originally going to be about how the Nazi has lost some of it’s evil impact. Yes, Nazi are evil, but they’re also a joke at this point. It’s one of the reasons I get uncomfortable with retconning real life history. Back to the post I wrote about the integrated army, eventually people are just going to forget that stuff. Things like that Magneto: Manifest book will keep the awfulness of Nazis around, but more and more they’re just the butt of jokes and very easy fodder. Sometimes they’re just lazy writing. Someone’s like “we need to make this dude a bad guy. how we do that?” and someone else is like “duh, he was a Nazi.” or “he collected Nazi memorabilia” or something like this.
If we reboot Captain America in 2039 for the hundred year anniversary how much will anyone care that Baron Zemo use to gas people for fun? Or will Hydra just take over? As weird as it sounds, that might be the best thing to do. It’s one of the strongest part of the New Captain America movie. Maybe they’ll have to remove the Nazi part from all of their backgrounds for the characters to work. I honestly don’t know.