terra: (kate)
Alex ([personal profile] terra) wrote in [community profile] scans_daily2011-10-31 11:21 am

Captain America & Bucky #623

A few days ago I posted from issue #622, which was an Invaders-heavy issue. Today I will post from the latest issue, which is much darker.

It starts out that Bucky and Toro have been left alone at camp while the more senior Invaders have been called away on a mission. Bucky is bored, and so he eavesdrops on a secret meeting to learn about an American spy who was captured and is being held in a nearby prison camp. Obviously, Bucky and Toro have to save him!

There are quite a few pages of Bucky and Toro's humorous bickering, interspersed with grim foreshadowing. Bucky infiltrates the camp alone, leaving Toro on the outside in case he needs a quick escape. He gets to the prisoner with a bit of cunning and without much fuss, but then—

Bucky flips out.

He basically blows up half the camp, he's so angry. But when he's done, it hasn't really helped anything.

There's no way to evacuate the prisoners, they only came prepared for the one American spy. So Tom drags Bucky away, while Bucky promises they'll come back.

But they don't.

When Bucky gets back to camp he gets chewed out for running off on his own. He wants to go back and free the prisoners, but it all gets swallowed up in the chain of command, in mission after mission, until he gets himself blown up over the North Atlantic and a CCCP sub swoops in and takes up his corpse.

Superhero WW2 tales are kind of a curiosity, because they muck around in the established continuity that is, well, history. This is kind of the weighty anti-thesis to stories like "Jim Hammond kills Hitler, what a badass" because Bucky is ultimately powerless in the face of this atrocity. And it really gnaws at him, too. There's a story in the old Invaders series where Bucky visits a Japanese internment camp. (Where everyone is dressed in a kimono and sits on tatami mats to eat rice...) In the end, similarly, Bucky leaves without having changed much, but there was still the sense of a happy ending, because in discovering and displaying the racism of these camps the comic was, by its own logic, dismantling them. Not so much here, but I think the historical threads here are less about the Holocaust and more about the priorities of the military at war, and learning to live with the guilt about people you couldn't save.

I don't know. It's always a tricky business to balance history and superheroics, but, you know, Captain America was created by two Jewish kids in 1941 for the specific purpose of Hitler-punching, and that's a big part of what makes him interesting.

From Captain America & Bucky #623, written by Ed Brubaker and Marc Andreyko, pencils by Chris Samnee, colors by Bettie Breitweiser.
notactuallyauser: Pokey the Penguin has a posse (Default)

[personal profile] notactuallyauser 2011-10-31 11:31 pm (UTC)(link)
I agree with your analysis. When I read it the issue, it seemed to me to be a kind of genuine comment saying that actually, life isn't as simple as it is in the funnies. Now, maybe that isn't very original or profound (and it's certainly no Magneto: Testament!), but it's something that's natural ground for a WWII flashback comic that's trying to be thoughtful to cover. I suppose it could be that endeavour is doomed to begin with, and they should just stick with rousing tales of heroic adventure, or just avoid the era entirely now.
mrosa: (Default)

[personal profile] mrosa 2011-11-01 09:50 am (UTC)(link)
I think everyone knows life isn't as simple as in the funnies. A problem for me here is that the story is using superheroes to undermine superheroes. They're fictional characters, that's why they couldn't stop the Holocaust. There's nothing more to it than that.

Frankly, I'm getting tired of those revisionist comics that go back to the characters' roots to show how they all have feet of clay, as if they're guilty of having been created decades ago when sensibilities and writing were different. All this dwelling on the past - I'd rather see superheroes moving forward, forge NEW continuity, instead of rewriting the old one.