Category Archives: Captain America

Review: CAPTAIN AMERICA vs. IRON MAN: Freedom, Security, Psychology

Superheroes at Odds

Superheroes at Odds. Illustration by Henry Chamberlain

What is most important to us? Freedom or security? Can both coexist? What if national security is involved? We have been grappling with this dilemma anew since 9/11. The current hit movie, “Captain America: Civil War,” pits superheroes in a bloody battle: Iron Man defending national security; Captain America defending individual freedom. “Captain America vs. Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology,” published by Sterling, is a thought-provoking collection of ten essays exploring these very issues. One easy-going Sunday, Jen and I made our way to Miir, a favorite local coffee shop and store. We relaxed, chatted, and I put this review together.

Reading "Captain America vs. Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology"

Reading “Captain America vs. Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology”

Such basic issues as security and freedom naturally make their way into the often engaging world of superhero comics. Some readers dismiss superhero comics as just a genre full of capes and tights. But, as I always feel compelled to point out: Follow the story, not just the superhero! Always take note of who is writing the script! Because, without a doubt, compelling stories are there to be told. Mark Millar’s original comic book script for Marvel Comics is an exploration of this conflict between freedom and security. Congress passes a law requiring all superheroes to register just like any other law enforcement officer. Captain America is against such limits to his actions. Iron Man supports the new law, even if it leaves him at odds with Cap. And so you end up with a classic in the superhero genre.

Now, let’s place these two battling warriors on the psychiatrist’s coach. What are the root causes behind Iron Man battling Captain America? A Freudian could see this dispute as symbolizing the battle waged by the superego and the id to control the mind’s ego. And, since this is Freud, this would also be about masculine sexual competition. This is how we begin one of the essays to be found here, “Punching Hitler: Symbols in Red, White, Blue, and Gold.” It is written by the book’s editor, Dr. Travis Langley, and Tommy Cash. This essay represents the concise insight to be found in the rest of the book, steadily building from one idea to the next.

So, what further motivates this conflict? This strikes at the core beliefs of each character. Captain America originated during World War II and embraces America’s hopes and ideals of that era. Iron Man originated during the Vietnam War and cynically embraces the military industrial complex, “all the things the hippies hated,” for the sake of a greater good. You take those two symbols of heroism, Langley and Cash argue in their essay, and see how they clash with the contemporary framework of the War on Terror. You have the stage set for conservative fans on the side of Iron Man; and liberal fans on the side of Captain America. Each character represents a charged symbol, a distinctive way of seeing America and the world, one an ideal, one a reality.

The MiiR Flagship store in Seattle

The MiiR Flagship store in Seattle

Well, I hope this provides you with an intriguing taste of what to expect from this unique book. I was so happy to take the time out for this review and the setting I chose for my reading could not have been better. You see, MiiR is part of something really special. You could say they take individual freedom, and responsibility, very seriously. It all began with the goal of creating the perfect bottle and Miir did just that plus so much more. MiiR keeps giving back every step of the way. Each MiiR item you purchase directly supports a project helping those in need around the world. Hmm, talk about super powers! Check them out right here.

“Captain America vs. Iron Man: Freedom, Security, Psychology” is a 192-page paperback. For more details, visit Sterling Publishing right here.


Filed under Book Reviews, Books, Captain America, Comics, Iron Man, Mark Millar, Marvel Comics

Review: UNDER THE FLESH #2: Ravaged Road


Before we start in, I want to point out that there’s a Kickstarter campaign running in support of this comic. “Under The Flesh,” published by Escape Comics, caught my eye due to its high quirk factor: an intelligent grindhouse zombie horror superhero comic! Let’s take a closer look and see if it resonates with you.

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Filed under Captain America, Comics, Comics Reviews, Escape Comics, Horror, Kickstarter, The Walking Dead, Zombies


While “CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER” did not premiere at Comic-Con, which would have been pretty cool but perhaps overwhelming, it did have special screenings at Comic-Con which included a performance by a group of USO-style chorus girls and an appearance by Chris Evans.

Here is Robert Downey Jr. at the LA premiere of “CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE FIRST AVENGER” on July 20. Asked to speak about Chris Evans, of course, Mr. Downey Jr has good things to say.

Check out my review of “CAPTAIN AMERICAN: THE FIRST AVENGER,” over with our friends at GeekWeek.

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Wonder Woman vs. Captain America

Just for fun: if Wonder Woman and Captain America suddenly had to fight, who would win? And I’m talking about what is currently running: the JMS Wonder Woman and the Ed Brubaker Captain America. My point? Well, I respectfully say here that poor Wondy is really drifting away from us. But it’s not too late. I really feel the story needs to pick up and maybe that means a rewrite and a shifting of course. Is that possible? Anything is possible.

The Correctness Superhero Smackdown is onto to something with their match-up of Cap and Wondy and they give it to Wondy. But, between the current runs, it’s gotta go to Cap. But I would be more than pleased to see Wondy give Cap a run for his money.

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Filed under Captain America, comic books, Comics, DC Comics, Marvel Comics, Wonder Woman

Review: Captain America #609

In a smack down with Wonder Woman, these days, Captain America wins big. Comparing Captain America #609 to Wonder Woman #602 is not a pretty sight. Maybe it shouldn’t be done but, then again, these are comics, your money, and you need to pick and choose. I know some collectors barely even read what they buy. There is such a thing as comics addiction: people who will simply buy every issue of a Batman or Spider-Man or Superman, etc. But, if you’re really in this to read and enjoy worthwhile comics, then you can’t go wrong with Captain America.

Ed Brubaker does not keep winning Eisner Awards for nothing. The fact is, a lot of people do read their comics and they’re discriminating readers. The thing with Mr. Brubaker is that he is a very talented and dedicated writer. He has been around the block a number of times. He can now speak for and interpret Captain America like it is part of his DNA. One important point, he understands the huge difference between padding and pacing. J. Michael Stracyznski’s Wonder Woman run is turning out to be a prime example in padding. Ed Brubaker, on the other hand, has a great feel for what is going to keep the story moving along at a natural pace that keeps you turning the page.

Now, I wasn’t sure if I would take to a Captain America story arc under the banner of “The Heroic Age” but Brubaker has managed to not get bogged down by any heavy Marvel history. I don’t always feel like slogging back to look up the continuity and, thankfully, this story is so smooth, that I can jump right in. Maybe you’re even better off just accepting events as they unfold. There’s just a touch of the Red Skull in this story to resonate throughout. Mostly, you’ve got Zemo, some freak who won’t let Bucky Barnes have a life. No, this psycho is bent on smearing Bucky’s face in his Winter Soldier past. He stalks Bucky. He taunts Bucky. And he finally lures Bucky into his trap. That’s all you really need to concern yourself about. This is a lean and mean story that holds up well because it knows where it’s going.

As I say, this stuff is smooth as butter. Art-wise too, I have no complaints. Usually, when I see a mass of artists involved in an issue, that will raise concerns. I, like you, would prefer one artistic vision by one really cool artist. But, if the styles don’t take you out of the story, then I’m more than okay with it. The styles can even cause a little tension between each other, and that can work too. You know, it’s always good to feel that human beings are out there creating this. You never want to have a “house style” dominate the comic. At least I don’t. Anyway, I find, and you should find, that the action scenes, the procedural scenes, all the scenes, work well in this issue.

Captain America #609 does not daddle in back story. There’s no need for it. Instead, the action takes center stage. Things move fast in this issue but with a purpose. Always remember, if the action is purposeful, then it is serving the story and the reader! Zemo, and his henchmen, have come for Bucky and Bucky is not ready for it! That’s what you need to know. Now, go out and read it.

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Review: NOMAD: Girl Without a World #4 (of 4)

NOMAD: Girl Without a World #4 (of 4)
Written by Sean McKeever
Art by David Baldeon
Color by Chris Sotomayor
Letters by VC’s Joe Sabino
Published by Marvel Comics

If Marvel were to introduce just one comic to young females, it would do well to hand them a copy of NOMAD: Girl Without a World. They could even hand out this concluding issue of the four part series since, in my view, each issue has proven to be a strong stand alone success. Things have built up very nicely in this series which, at four issues, you can consider mostly to be a character showcase. But, trust me, there’s a good story here.

Rikki Barnes was once the celebrated teen sidekick to the original Captain America on an alternate Earth. In the superhero comics world, you are suppose to be up on things like, “Counter-Earth” but we can just say here that she’s a “girl without a world,” as the title suggests. So, basically, she crash lands on our Earth and nobody cares. She brushes herself off, enrolls in high school and washes dishes to support the ratty little room she lives in somewhere like Brooklyn. She manages to track down the boy who is the counterpart to her brother on her world. That helps her adjust until he tires to make out with her. And, of course, she is in hot pursuit of the new Captain America here on our Earth to help her make sense of her existential crisis. Do you follow that? It’s okay if you don’t. The important thing is that Rikki Barnes is a compelling character and you don’t have to be a teenage girl to enjoy her story.

It won’t be a spoiler to let you know that Rikki Barnes does find her place on our Earth. In fact, she becomes the leader of the Young Avengers. And she does get to meet Captain America who makes an oh so brief, aw gosh-type, appearance. In between is a pretty little pot boiler of a superhero story involving a sinister group that is out to control young minds. And that is not completely resolved at the end of this series. You can jump to Captain America #602 to catch another glimpse of Rikki Barnes. If Marvel knows what’s good for them, they’ll give her back her own comic book title in due time. And you can always hang on for the collected trade of NOMAD.

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Filed under Captain America, Marvel Comics, NOMAD, Rikki Barnes