Saturday, May 21, 2011

The battling Bantam! (Captain America Annual 12)

All of Captain America Annual 12 in 1993 was dedicated to the debut of this exciting new hero:

I don't think this character was ever seen again until he was killed off a few years ago during the Marvel Civil War. Go figure.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Diamondback's Bad Year (Mark Gruenwald Year Seven and Eight)

In Captain America 405 a parent wrote to complain about the Diamondback backup story in issue 399 (from which the above scene was taken). She cancelled the subscription to Captain America that she'd bought for her eight year old, because she thought this story was inappropriately violent and graphic (and perhaps even titillating). Credit the parent, for screening the material before giving it to her kid to read.

I'm surprisingly sympathetic. Sure, I wouldn't want all Marvel comics to be limited to what's appropriate for eight year olds. On the other hand, these days there's a lot of stories in comics with sadistic "Natural Born Killer" types brutally abusing good people with glee. It's not why I got into comics, to be honest. I don't like reading it. And I definitely don't like reading it as often as it shows up in comics nowadays.

So far, 1992 has been a very bad year for Diamondback. After being drowned by an old enemy, she lost her nerve and has opted out of the adventurer's lifestyle, choosing to become Captain America's secretary instead. But the Red Skull's old operative Crossbones has kidnapped her, and she's spent over a month trapped in a hole, while Crossbones works on brainwashing her to use as a potential tool against Cap. Now, Mark Gruenwald created Diamondback, and he's free to do with her what he pleases. I know that eventually she'll triumph and be the stronger for it (and Marvel even promised as much in their letter's page). But I can't say it's my idea of fun reading.

Cap Wolf (Captain America 405-407)

Okay, so Mark Gruenwald has turned Cap into a teenager, a druggie and a werewolf. But I still think he missed a great opportunity in issue 391 when he nearly turned Cap into a woman.