I think it’s fitting, perhaps poetic, that my first post begins with a masked superhero revealing his secret identity, only to later on get gunned down. In 2006, Captain America was assassinated in “Captain America Vol. 5, No. 25.” I know, he’s just a darn comic book character. He’s not even real, not made of flesh and blood. But his death was so full of impact that it traveled from the pages of the comic book to real life. ABC News, CNN, and a variety of news media reported it. Soon, all around the world, everyone learned of the “Sentinel of Liberty’s” tragic fate. Why was his death so meaningful and how does this relate to our society? Perhaps because Captain America is an icon, a symbol of America. It’s like someone blowing up the Statue of Liberty. To have him killed, much less assassinated, may be a commentary of the state of America in 2007. Perhaps it is the story of how he was killed. Cap’s death followed Marvel’s “Civil War” storyline, in which a new law was passed and required all superheroes to register their secret identities and powers to the US government. This caused a split in the superhero community. Cap believed this law violated basic civil liberties and refused to register. He became an outlaw and rogue to the country he once protected.
Two years later and Marvel, true to other comic book companies dealing with a “dead” character, decided to resurrect Captain America. However, “resurrect” may not be the right word. No, he’ll be reborn after being unstuck in time and after several twists to the plot, we may not get the Captain America we knew and loved. Read “Captain America Reborn #1” for more.
But what does this say about the current state of America? Sure, our economy is depressing. With all the people “let go” due to budget cuts, and the California government issuing I.O.U.’s, it sure suggests that the golden years of America is far out of reach. I believe comic books are our modern mythologies. They are a reflection of who we are and who we aspire to be. We need heroes, and creating a fake hero is our remedy. And with the return of Captain America in this economy may suggest that we are quite desperate for a hero. A symbol for America appears again, what does this reveal about our identities?