terra: (kate)
[personal profile] terra posting in [community profile] scans_daily
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.

Date: 2011-10-31 08:30 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
Ugh please leave the holocaust alone, superhero comics.

Concentration camp imagery should really not be allowed to become hackneyed.

Date: 2011-10-31 10:02 pm (UTC)
salinea: Magneto going *?* (wtf)
From: [personal profile] salinea
Magneto gets away with it because he's an actual protagonist (in that context) with agency and stuff. And not a victim who is there to provide pathos and flavour to the hero's story.

Date: 2011-10-31 10:39 pm (UTC)
salinea: (Default)
From: [personal profile] salinea

Date: 2011-10-31 08:45 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk

Cap/Bucky/Invaders/etc in WWII flashback stories are particularly tricky, since WE know the scale of it, and I believe that knowledge of the extermination camps was known at high Governmental levels by at least 1941, so them NOT dealing with it rarely comes across well (Are we to believe that Cap just accepted an order not to intervene when it's clearly had such a horrific impact on Bucky and Toro? Or even Namor, who would be even less likely to accept chain of command orders)

Date: 2011-10-31 09:04 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
I don't think it's so much that people think it's not ok to show the actual bad stuff that went down, so much as they feel that hamfisted, cheesy-as-shit stuff like this is disrespectful.

Date: 2011-10-31 09:11 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
It's not so much that they accepted an order not to intervene, but that they had another mission they got sent on immediately, and another mission after that, other things that were vital to the war effort that demanded their special expertise. They always planned to go back, they just blew up a month or two later.

But given the scale of the horror they had witnessed being inflicted on innocent civilians, does it seem likely that Captain America would leave these, already near death, people there with some sort of thought of coming back at a later date? never mind

But I don't think it's meant to come across well. How could it ever?

Not quite what I meant, it's not that the Holocaust should ever be something that "comes across well" (God forbid), but the twisting of the storyline to ensure that the eponymous heroes do nothing about it does not come across well.

And for the record, showing Steve punching Hitler was shown during the war as a propaganda image as much as anything else, and no, I don't think it's something that should be shown now as an actual plot point.

Date: 2011-10-31 11:13 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Or just stop telling WWII set superhero stories which tonally jar with the history.

Date: 2011-11-01 10:27 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Whilst I appreciate that you meant that in a less than serious fashion, it IS a different consideration from the grounds of good taste.

Date: 2011-11-01 08:09 pm (UTC)
halloweenjack: (Default)
From: [personal profile] halloweenjack
Jim Hammond actually killed Hitler in Marvel continuity

And, as it turns out, Hitler isn't even really dead (he transfers his mind to a series of bodies created by Arnim Zola).

Date: 2011-11-02 10:56 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] runespoor
My own feeling is that it was only okay to show Cap punching Hitler because that was written as part of the war effort. It wasn't romanticizing the heroics of them good ole days.

If the same was written today, I would hate it beyond the telling.

Date: 2011-11-02 06:54 am (UTC)
proteus_lives: (Default)
From: [personal profile] proteus_lives
Never read Magneto: Testament?

Date: 2011-11-02 05:14 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
No, I haven't.

Why, does it use holocaust victims as nameless, faceless, inert props for a hero's tragedy? If not then it's probably ok!

See, when I said that comics should stop using concentration camp imagery, that was exactly what I meant. The imprisoned people in this are just *images,* just background art. They have no dialogue that I can see, and it seems as though the full extent of their writing was "here is a concentration camp. There are some people in it. Draw them looking hopeless against a backdrop of atrocities."

If they were actual actors in the plot I'd feel a lot better about it.

Date: 2011-11-02 10:50 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] runespoor
So much this.

Stop using the Shoah as ~source of pathos~, fiction.

Date: 2011-10-31 08:55 pm (UTC)
mrosa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrosa
So there IS something worse than using rape to get a big emotional reaction out a superhero! I'm so relieved to know that :-)

This is so unintentionally hilarious.

Date: 2011-10-31 09:13 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
Good analogy, because this is exactly the same kind of uncomfortable I usually get over sexual violence in comics.

It devalues the horrific experiences of others if you're just using them to show how noble your hero is in his outrage. Doubly so if you're using real life events, and the victims' only role is to stand in the background looking abject.

Date: 2011-10-31 11:31 pm (UTC)
notactuallyauser: Pokey the Penguin has a posse (Default)
From: [personal profile] notactuallyauser
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.

Date: 2011-11-01 09:50 am (UTC)
mrosa: (Default)
From: [personal profile] mrosa
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.

Date: 2011-10-31 08:57 pm (UTC)
filthysize: (Default)
From: [personal profile] filthysize
Personally, I find that not acknowledging historical incidents to be much more offensive.

Date: 2011-10-31 09:02 pm (UTC)
From: [personal profile] whitesycamore
I like to think there's a nice middle ground between "not acknowledging historical incidents," and *this.*

Date: 2011-10-31 09:32 pm (UTC)
filthysize: (Default)
From: [personal profile] filthysize
So the issue is the quality of the writing? Because I think if we've agreed that it can be appropriate to portray things like the Holocaust in fiction (which a middle ground implies), then we're just negotiating the level of tact. That's perfectly fine, of course, but I meant to address the idea that the subject matter is somehow inappropriate to explore in this genre, which I wholeheartedly disagree with. Especially when it's a WWII story about a character who's roots are closely tied to this historical event. It seems awfully weird to make a conscious decision to avoid the more atrocious aspects of the event. That's what I was suggesting as being offensive.

"Yay punching Nazis!"
"So why are we punching the Nazis?"
"Hey, come on, let's not talk about that."

Date: 2011-11-01 12:14 am (UTC)
citygod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citygod
My concern isn't tact, it's logic - if they know about this, then they're bound to act on it.
As for "So why are we punching the Nazis?" - most soldiers in WW2 didn't know about the concentration camps, so punching Nazis was an end to itself, as it would be for these characters, too. But when you introduce a concentration camp into a story about superheroes, I get very uncomfortable. "Messing with continuity" doesn't even begin to describe the problems.

Date: 2011-11-01 12:57 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Given the levels which Cap operated at, and the fact that the Camps were sort of widely known (but not talked about) by about 1941, he or his superiors definitely have known about them, unless he was deliberately kept from such knowledge, which is possible, in which case his anger upon finding out about it would be a story in and of itself.

Date: 2011-11-01 03:03 am (UTC)
citygod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citygod
Was it really widely known? I've spoken to people who lived through the war, and even some veterans, and they saw they knew nothing about concentration camps until after D-Day at the earliest, but mostly not until after the war.
In the comic world, keeping Cap (and the Invaders) away from this knowledge and busy with fronts that the military wanted to concentrate on sounds about right. I'm sure a kid like Bucky certainly wouldn't know.
Anyway: this isn't sitting right with me, and I want to like this book.

Date: 2011-11-01 11:49 am (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Probably wider known than we appreciate now.


The soldiers on the ground wouldn't have known for sure (though there might have been some rumours depending on where you served), but I believe enough escapees had made it through for it to become something which the brass would have been aware of, though they would in all likelihood have found it hard to believe the scale of it, and actual proof didn't come until the liberation of the camps.

Cap though, isn't an ordinary soldier, he would have access to reports and intel that few others would. And by association, the current take is that Bucky is not just a kid, he's a killer and a commando, who trained with the early SAS and the like. He is also Cap's sounding board and confidante.

Date: 2011-11-01 01:08 pm (UTC)
wizardru: Hellboy (Default)
From: [personal profile] wizardru
I don't think it was nearly as widely known about as you think. I just finished reading 'In the Garden of Beasts' by Erik Larson. Detailing the lives of the American ambassador to Germany in Berlin during Hitler's rise to power from 1933-1937, it's alternately fascinating, chilling and illuminating. One thing you have to remember, and this was true during the war, was that many people simply didn't believe that the Nazis were doing what they were doing. They were exceptionally good at both propaganda and hiding their activities. One theme that comes across is time and again how the US ambassador keeps trying to warn people about how bad things are getting...and no one believes him. The expectation that 'it was an isolated incident' or 'but everything looks fine and everyone looks happy'.

When the Poles warned the British that Germany was doing horrible things in the camps, the allies were sure that the Poles were exaggerating. After all, they wanted the allies to come to their aid, so of course they'd make up these stories about prison camps and abuses, right? The average soldier on the ground knew that there were prison camps and that prisoners were treated poorly there, but nothing prepared anyone for the liberation of places like Bergen-Belsen, which the Brits described as 'Dante's Inferno'. While the scale of it varies, there's no question the shock of the discovery is what triggered the Dachau Massacre.

Simply put, the allies, both soldiers and command, had no idea what they were to discover. In the later part of the war, the nazis moved the prisoners and destroyed old camps to try and hide the results of their work. So it should be a surprise to Cap or Bucky when they find something like this.

The problem I have with this story is that by the time they were close enough to actually reach the camps, the allies WERE liberating them. If Bucky and Toro could be there within a days travel, then those camps were going to be liberated by regular troops within the week.

I've never heard about a comic covering the American internment camps. I'm curious about it. Having the citizens interned within shown as all dressed in traditional Japanese dress is...not particularly accurate, if they represented more than a few people dressed that way.

Date: 2011-11-01 01:19 pm (UTC)
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
I agree there may have been difficulty in believing that such things were happening, but I don't think those in charge could deny knowing that it had been reported to them as having happened.

Ordinary soldiers, I agree, probably didn't know, it not being their business to know.

The question is whether the senior American military (to whom Cap reports directly) were aware of the situation, and I think there the difficulty comes in deciding where "being told" and "believing" part company. I can't blame someone for finding the sheer scale of the Holocaust to be implausible, but I don't think it should have been dismissed as impossible. Still, I'm hardly in a position to pass judgement over such things so long after the fact.

Date: 2011-11-02 02:07 am (UTC)
citygod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citygod
You've both made some excellent points in your posts. One clarification I'd like to make: when I think "Nazi Concentration Camps" I think "Holocaust & gas chambers" and I don't think that was widely known until the middle of the war. Concentration camps - internment of civilians - wasn't invented by the Nazis (that would be the English, during the Boer War) so, before we knew of the full extent of the Holocaust, of exactly what the Nazis where doing, I'd think that Allied commanders would assume the WW2 Nazi concentration camps where similar to what had been practiced in South Africa (and elsewhere - in the US, with American-Japanese civilians, as you point out). Internment, but not extermination.
blue_bolt: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blue_bolt
Here's the thing. You don't have to save 6 million Holocaust victims. Just save 500 or so and deal with the psychological ramificiations of how you couldn't save them all. I'd actually like to have a WWII talk to a therapist about how they felt guilt over not being able to save so many of the 60 million who died in WWII (does that include the Holocaust or is that just battle casualties?).
biod: Cute Galactus (Default)
From: [personal profile] biod
New idea for a story: personifications of wars. I have no idea how it will work, how the inherent conflict in wars (which should make them severe schizophrenics at best) would factor in, or how not to turn something which is inherently violent and brutal into a persons you don't want to throttle immediately, but now I can't stop thinking about it!
blue_bolt: (Default)
From: [personal profile] blue_bolt
Okay, that's the best idea I've heard all week. Anyone know Neil Gaiman's cell number?
icon_uk: (Default)
From: [personal profile] icon_uk
Intriguing, but the problem in storytelling there would be, I think that war is never one side (except in deciding who gets to right the history books), it's both/all sides, and that would surely render such a person incapable of anything except conflict with themselves, which would be something of a problem in trying to involve them in a story.

The likes of DC's Uncle Sam, or Astro City's Old Soldier, is that they represent one countries involvement in multiple wars (though the Old Soldier adjusts to whichever the most recent conflict was, and apparently dropped out of sight during the Vietnam era) which makes for a more coherent narrative.

Others use a more generalist approach. Piers Anthony had War/Ares as one of his "Incarnations of Immortality", and the Discworld's War (of Four Five Horsemen fame) is the embodiment of all wars, from human battles to ant colonies fighting.

Date: 2011-10-31 09:48 pm (UTC)
biod: Cute Galactus (Default)
From: [personal profile] biod
Yeah, there are unfortunate sacrifices for the war effort and then there's this. One ends with Captain America walking away grim faced, this should have ended with "Free those people or Captain America will make you". Steve walking away from something this horrid is such a denial of character, I wonder if the Allies just knocked him on the head till he forgot.

Date: 2011-10-31 10:01 pm (UTC)
biod: Cute Galactus (Default)
From: [personal profile] biod
Steve would hear, either from Bucky or Toro.
Yes, it would probably be taken that way, but if you can't put in a tragedy without bending your characters' characters to their breaking point from a writing pespective, you shouldn't put it in at all.

Date: 2011-11-01 12:45 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredneil.livejournal.com
Is there a name given for this camp? Captain America did go to at least one death camp in canon.

Date: 2011-11-01 12:56 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredneil.livejournal.com
Ok, not the same camp. The one he tried to rescue-he saved some prisoners, I don't think he saved everyone-was Diebenwald, which I think was also fictional.

Date: 2011-11-01 01:10 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] fredneil.livejournal.com
237, from 1979. It's only a few panels, mainly as backstory for a new character. There might have been more in the later issues and it looks like it was the basis for a story around then, but I don't have those issues. I think that arc was wrapped up in 245, based on covers I've found online, but covers can be misleading.

Date: 2011-10-31 10:53 pm (UTC)
nyadnar17: (Default)
From: [personal profile] nyadnar17
I don't see it as hackneyed. I thought it was powerful, showed the limitation of heroes when they are agents of the government as oppose to free agents, used the timeline and priorities of the war and Bucky and Cap's death to explain why they didn't put a stop to it, AND showed Bucky being a badass.

Don't really know what more you could want.

Date: 2011-11-01 06:34 am (UTC)
kusonaga: (Default)
From: [personal profile] kusonaga
Besides the 'should they' or 'shouldn't they' discussion, I'd just like to point out that I love the art.

Date: 2011-11-01 12:06 pm (UTC)
biod: Cute Galactus (Default)
From: [personal profile] biod
Samnee is always brilliant.

Date: 2011-11-02 01:56 am (UTC)
citygod: (Default)
From: [personal profile] citygod
I usually love Samnee's art but that first scan looks really rough - the close-up in the last panel (Toro?) is horrible. Good to see he's back to form on the other scans.

Date: 2011-11-01 06:58 am (UTC)
tzipwich: (Default)
From: [personal profile] tzipwich
I think this story, theoretically, could be done well. But, at least from the scans shown, the prisoners just look like background art. None of them say anything, and the main characters don't interact with them at all--they just talk to each other about them... in front of them. Nice.


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