Yeah, you read that right. This isn’t even some big controversial statement. I prefer Dick and Bucky to Bruce and Steve. Both for entirely different reasons. Bruce Wayne is pretty freaking awesome. There’s no denying that. In a lot of ways Steve Rogers is a pretty awesome dude, once you get past the “I’m the most boring human ever because I’ve been frozen for 70 years” thing. Just for me, Dick’s “I know how to actually be a moderate human being” and Bucky’s “I’ve been frozen for 70 years, but also brainwashed, and for reals though, I’m a cool dude” works much better. It’s a tone thing. It’s no surprise. I much prefer books to be less oppressive. I’m not a huge fan of material that is so dark it suffocates. Not that Batman or Captain America ever really get there (but man do a lot of Batman writers try) but Steve and Bruce are much closer to that way than Dick and Bucky.
Whatever, this isn’t about that at all really. This is about editorial confusion, story confusion, and how eerie it is that both Batman and Captain Ameica suffer weird deaths during an event, that was different (however slightly) from the events that killed them in other books? Not eerie at all, actually. This is super hero comics. These are company wide crossover events. Things goof hard.
Let’s look at this. Both Final Crisis and Civil War are rife with problems. Both attempt to bring up good ideas, and both do interesting things with the story, but neither executes fully on the promise and idea they started with. Partly because they needed to fit into the traditional narrative structure of of the Super Hero Comic Summer Event. They also starred characters who were deeply involved in an intricate story outside of this event.
On Captain America’s side things are much clearer. Cap gets shot by Crossbones. Also, Cap gets shot by Sharon Carter who was being mind controlled. Dead. Not so hard. The only problem is that I really don’t get it gelling with Civil War. This is a story that’s about the problems with super hero secret identity. (Note: I have this idea to compare and contrast this with Identity Crisis and explain why IC is one of the worst super hero stories ever created. Not that Civil War is great, just that it’s not IC and as such is a paragon of secret identity story telling). Captain America, though everyone knows who he is, believes it is fundamentally important for Super Heroes to exist anonymously. They have to have their secret to not only keep them and their loved ones safe, but to also be a symbol. This doesn’t mean they can’t be held accountable, especially in the super hero world when they all know each other. If not who each hero’s secret identity is, they know how to find them while in costume. Especially in the Marvel Universe, where 98% of Capes operate out of NYC. Iron Man believed in registering every single super powered person out there to keep the public safe. If everyone knows who you are they won’t be as scared of you?
Captain America played a good role in that story, his surrender at the end of it made sense. What happened after didn’t, but it’s hard to end these big events, because they’re not all designed to be stories. This goes back to my last post about selling a full story. It kind of does, but then it gets lost in it’s own spectacle.
Whatever. The Crux of this post, is that Captain America is doing this one thing in Civil War, going underground, fighting the man and stuff. Mark Millar didn’t totally sync up with Brubaker, but whatever, it happens in these types of things. Then Ed Brubaker wrote the mini series where Red Skull had a time gun that Sharon shot him with because he didn’t actually want to kill him but to trap him in time and bring him back to use sort of like Bucky was used, and that was dumb. The story was cool to watch, but the conceit was stupid.
Batman is entirely different. Batman is hit with Darkseid’s Omega beam with sends a person through a series of worse and worse lives in alternate dimensions. Batman is also blown out of a helicopter. Batman also is not really Batman but a clone of Batman. Batman is also stuck underground being psychologically tortured by evil scientists and thinking he’s dying and in different forms, and also not?
You see why it’s taken me so long to get to these posts? It just don’t make no sense. This isn’t the mild confusion of what really happened to Steve Rogers, this is absolute chaos. This is editors totally falling asleep on the job and a writer doing all the things he wants, and no one really knowing why he’s able to do it. Final Crisis is a cool story about Darkseid coming to Earth and just wrecking shop, and Batman is the only man who can stop him. It’s also about how Superman is the most hopeful individual ever and only someone as incorruptable as him could set the world back, and how what makes him tick is that his one hope in life is for a happy ending. <3. That got sappy.
So Sappy. Back to Batman.
No. Back to both these guys.
Both of these guys go out in the same way, which is they didn’t actually go out. Maybe this is some way of saying you can’t kill these guys. That no matter what, they find a way to survive. This is some triumph of the human spirit stuff.
Quite possibly this is about stupid comic book conventions. What better climax to a story than to off your main character, then to not off your main character because that was never the plan.
Maybe this is about the awesomeness of being able to play with time and do whatever you want with the medium of comics. Maybe this is about horrible villains who, no matter how dark and “realistic (ugh)” they get are still, at their hearts, comic book villains who really just like the fun of fighting their hero.
It could be this is a secret homage to Silver and Bronze age stories. It could be just a cheap and easy way to sell a bunch of comic books, then write yourself out of it in order to sell more and more comics.
Honestly, it doesn’t matter what it is. What both Final Crisis and Civil War, for me, were was a bridge into some super awesomes books we wouldn’t have gotten if we had to rigidly stand with what we always do.
We have 70 years of Bruce Wayne being batman. We have 70 years of Steve Rogers being cap (well. . . .). Let me have my two to three years of something different. And boy do we get it.
Over the next month or so I’m going to just gush all over what Brubaker does with Bucky, starting with what Brubaker does with my favorite Avenger, Eli Bradley. Love that kid. Then I’ll absolutely bleed love juice all over Batman and Robin. Seriously, Batman and Robin is so great. So great. I promise I’ll make you love Bucky and Dick way more than you ever loved Bruce and Steve.
Well, no. Probably not. But you’ll at least get to understand why I love the switch up so much.