The Winter Soldier is definitely one of the best comic book movies, and watching the boat raid sequence, I kept thinking "I've just retroactively won every argument I ever had that Captain America would beat Batman in a fight." Heck, Batroc could probably take the Caped Crusader based on his relative merit in comparison with movie Bane. Gah, The Dark Knight Rises was awful. Anyway, the Star-Spangled Avenger is pulling a bit of a Batman on this swell fanfic cover by Ross, comprised largely of Alex Ross paintings with Daniel Acuña, J.G. Jones and Tom Fleming in the mix. It's a fun concept, and as much as I love J'Onn J'Onzz, fire is a painfully exploitable weakness for...
...More Lost Team-Up Issues...
- Captain Atom @ Power of the Atom
- John Henry Irons: Steel @ DC Bloodlines
- Vibe and the Family Steel @ Justice League Detroit
- Wonder Woman and Captain America #219 @ Diana Prince
Somehow, I think that J'Onn would manage. In past continuity, he has fought through his fire weakness while facing beings like Asmodel. As I now understand it, J'Onn is psychologically incapacitated by fire and immobilized. So, Captain America would do well but I think it would be J'Onn as the winner. (I think that J'Onn would try to reason with Cap and Cap would respect that enough to listen. Both tend to be very reasonable people.) Mind you, I think that Cap and J'Onn would find a few things in common. Both are people outside of their own era and familiar woeld. (I do agree that the movie Captain America would beat the Batman from the most recent movie series.)
As I read this, I imagined Captain America, Batman, Superman and Captain America comparing their respective tragedies.
Captain America: I thought I saw my partner die before my eyes and I was frozen for decades to awake in an unfamiliar era.
Batman: My parents were murdered before my eyes as a child.
Superman: My planet and its people were destroyed.
J'Onn J'Onzz: I saw my family, my wife, my child, and entire race die. And my insane brother was the culprit. I am stuck on this world and should outlive everyone I know here.
Captain America, Batman, Superman: You win, J'Onn.
Wow, this is synchronicity...I was just reading some Silver Age Captain America comics a few minutes ago.
I really need to see The Winter Soldier. Steve Rogers is quickly filling the void DC has made in my heart.
will, I love your comment. You're 100% right...two reasonable heroes who'd probably get along. Plus, J'onn witnessed all that tragedy and Superman was too young to remember.
The older I get, the more I find myself gravitating towards seemingly "juvenile" heroes, who are unabashedly idealistic good guys, and drifting away from the angsty Machiavellian ones like Batman. Am I getting wiser or more simplistic? I don't know, but I'm over Batman at this point.
Will, I'm not seriously interested in a Cap/Manhunter fight, since these are two of my favorite characters. I was just bouncing off the premise of the cover. That said, Mark Waid once referred to Cap as the god of winning, while J'onn is the Superman who loses, so it's not a pretty picture from a conceptual standpoint. For the same reason, Batman can't beat Superman, because both are prone to the occasional Pyhrric victory while most predictably earning straight up wins, but the scales are so unbalanced that the Dark Knight conceptually can't touch the Man of Steel (no matter how much Miller acolytes presume otherwise.) The guy who beats gangsters and lunatics 90% of the time doesn't top the guy who pushes worlds out of orbit and demolishes other celestial bodies 98% of the time.
Addendum-- Captain America, Batman, Superman: "You win at losing, J'Onn."
Liss, it's tough to argue that the Marvel Studios cinematic universe isn't a much more positive, fun, and frankly moral one than DC's and the Fox/Sony Marvel. The Essentials are also a lot more palatable for me than Showcase Presents, since Stan Lee was straightforward and zany while also somewhat logical and allowing characters to tell their emotions to the audience. I think you'd really like The First Avenger, but The Winter Soldier is much darker and more complex than any previous Marvel movie (and requires having viewed essentially every Marvel Studios movie, DVD mini-movie, and the Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. TV series to fully appreciate.)
Moral, yes...I think that's what I'm looking for these days. As soon as Batman started surveilling everyone via their cellphones in the The Dark Knight, I mean, whom do I root for there??
I'm about halfway through the Lee/Kirby Essentials Vol. 1 and it's a lot deeper than DC Silver Age stories I've read--I was kind of pleasantly surprised. There's also that overlay of self-referential derring-do which is quite fun, too. (I'm a sucker for alliteration.) I might have to hit you up for reading suggestions because this is literally the first Captain America comic I've ever read and I don't know where to go from here.
I saw The First Avenger way back at the drive-in when it came out and absolutely loved it, because a.) it was a period piece set in one of my favorite decades, and b.) it was directed by Joe Johnston, who directed The Rocketeer, one of my all-time favorite comic book movies, period. I was hesitant about Chris Evans at first, (considering he was The Human Torch,) but I thought he delivered pretty well. On paper, it wasn't really a movie that should have succeeded in the 21st century, but somehow it worked. Anti-heroes are all the rage these days so its success surprised me.
Last weekend I went on a Marvel movie watching spree and I've caught up to all but Iron Man 3 and the Thor sequel...and, wow, did The Avengers really set the bar high. (It even had humor...how refreshing!) Looks like I still have some catching up to do before seeing The Winter Soldier, as I've only caught a few episodes of S.H.I.E.L.D. here and there and haven't seen any short films. (At least know I know who Coulson is now...that's getting somewhere...)
Clever how all these properties connect to each other seamlessly--contrast that to DC, who can't even have Superman and Batman exist in the same movie universe. Watching all these movies only makes me realize just how far behind DC is lagging. I mean, I'm actually looking forward to Guardians of the Galaxy, because it looks like the film that Green Lantern was supposed to be, even though I barely have a clue as to who The Guardians of the Galaxy are.
One of the trippy elements of The Winter Soldier is how it comes the closest of any Marvel Studios movie to the gravitas of The Dark Knight while very clearly being on the opposite side of its politics. It picks up threads from some recent political scandals and embraces the furthest left viewpoint.
If you've ever noted a tendency toward alliteration on this blog, it's all Stan's fault. Cap has often been described in fan circles as Marvel's DC character (and less accurately, Batman as DC's Marvel character.) He's a great gateway for a DC expatriate. You can safely progress to the next Essential volume, but as you go deeper into the '70s, it may not remain to your taste. Should that be the case, you can come back around volume 7, where the '80s kick in. If they carry on, the next edition will feature the run of J.M. DeMatteis, a Martian Manhunter crossover creator of great soul.
Recommendations get trickier from there, but given what I know of your taste, the initial Essential Doctor Strange might suit you (though it gets a bit more dark/grim with volume 2.) Silver Surfer, Marvel Two-in-One or Fantastic Four might be worth trying, and even Howard the Duck.
You may be pleased to know that Captain America remains a paragon in The Winter Soldier, but is now contrasted against the grays of our modern world. You can (and in my minority opinion should) skip Iron Man 3 and The Dark World. It's probably not worth it to put up with Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., either. Let me use the power of hotlinks to take care of the rest (DO NOT wait for the end of the credits...
Marvel One-Shot - The Consultant
A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to Thor’s Hammer
Paragon...that is exactly what I'm looking for. I'm just done with morally ambiguous heroes for the foreseeable future. If The Winter Soldier is the answer to The Dark Knight, well, then I think that is brilliant, because the end of the The Dark Knight sealed the deal for me. When personal freedoms get trampled all over by a "hero," well, that's disorienting for me. I know I flew off the handle about it last year, but this is why seeing a wanton mind-reading J'onn in the last JLA just really set me off. Somewhere along the way, J'onn became a Martian Batman, and if anyone's going to be respectful of humanity, it should be the most evolved character on the team. If not, then who?
I remember years ago you once saying that Cap was a DC character in a Marvel universe and that always stuck out to me. Thanks for the suggestions! I've already got Volume 2 from the library. I didn't know there was a J.M. DeMatteis run...I always liked him, so that's something I'll definitely seek out.
I keep hearing mention of the Captain America Brubaker/Epting run—what are your thoughts on that?
Years ago, after the Fantastic Four movie sequel, I read Silver Surfer: Requiem and I remember enjoying it. And read a bit of the first Essential Silver Surfer. Silver Surfer is one of those tragic heroes I always gravitate towards, plus I like the Lee/Kirby pairing. I haven't read any Doctor Strange or Fantastic Four yet, but I'll keep them in mind. Dr. Strange looks somewhat in the vein of The Phantom Stranger. And every time I try to read an X-men book there are just too many characters to keep track of, so I usually give up. For years I never realized that Howard the Duck was an actual comic book before it was a movie—that was a revelation.
Thanks so much for the recommendations. I think it's been about 2-3 years since I've seriously read any comics, so I'm happy to be enjoying something for a change. If I have to be a DC ex-patriate, then so be it.
Thank you for the links...! I didn't get a chance to see any before I had to return the DVD's to the library. Coulson is really growing on me by leaps and bounds.
I found the Brubaker/Epting run to be an exceedingly dull retread of the Bourne movies. I hate the concept of the Winter Soldier, but acknowledge I'm stuck with it now.
Dr. Strange is certainly more of a flawed human than the Stranger, and his stories are grander in scope, but there are similarities.
Stay away from the X-Men. I don't think their best stuff would be your bag.
The Howard the Duck comic was highly satirical and of its time. The movie was more of a light adventure romp with some questionable choices in humor (though I love its badness.)
Good to know. I'm trying to be judicious with what Marvel books I'm reading, if only to save myself from the disappointment I've suffered as a result of reading everything DC I could get my hands on; the good and the bad. I think that's going to be my new comics credo: only read the good stuff. I'd like my new-found enthusiasm to remain intact for as long as possible. (That's also my strategy behind seeing the movies before reading the comics.)
X-Men is something I like much more on film that in print. If only for the charisma of the actors. I was really impressed with Michael Fassbender as Magneto.
I burned through the first two volumes of Cap's Essentials and now I'm carefully treading into the modern stuff. Luckily I happened upon Mark Waid's Man Out of Time, which fits me to a T.
X-Men is quicksand. Any direction you approach it from, you get stuck and dragged down into the suck. I did not like First Class, but Fassbender was the best part of a bad movie. I wish he'd stop doing that.
I actually haven't read Man Out of Time, but I've heard it's the best Cap story by Waid, whose first run I liked a lot.
Good policy on Marvel, but boy, following up on Guardians of the Galaxy is going to be tricky...
I haven't seen Fassbender in anything else...this was the first movie I've seen him in. (I was impressed by his German. I can't stand it when actors speak foreign languages poorly.) I'll also watch anything with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan in it.
Man Out of Time was great--it was a character piece, a bit on the subdued side, which is the kind of stuff I like. (Or as one reviewer on Amazon complained: "All the fighting takes place off-panel.") There's a rather clever story-telling device in the middle using sepia-toned panels which perfectly exploits storytelling within the comics medium. The characterization rings true--at least to me--and the dialogue is pretty good, too. It's also a sort-of retelling of Avengers #4, which I figured out after the fact.
My guess is that it's probably written more for neophyte fans like me rather than veteran fans, but you might like it. If this is how Waid usually writes Cap, though, I'm going back for more.
I'm kind of psyched for Guardians after seeing the latest trailer. The casting looks good...which I think is part of the Marvel recipe for success (with few exceptions...)
Fassbender was born in Germany, home of his father. I've unintentionally seen a lot of his movies in recent years, including Inglourious Basterds, Jonah Hex, Haywire, Prometheus, and 12 Years a Slave. I tend to find him to be great in movies that are as a whole shabby. His fight scene with Gina Carano is one of the single best I've ever seen, and would have been reason enough to award her the role of Wonder Woman.
Man Out of Time is definitely on my read list, while Operation Rebirth should probably be on yours (although, come think of it, better wait until after Essential Captain America volume 7, so never mind.)
Marvel's also been smart with their directors. James Gunn did a fun little seen horror movie called Slither, plus he wrote the surprisingly solid remake of probably my favorite movie, Dawn of the Dead. Zack Snyder has had a lot more opportunities to show me what he can and can't do, so even if Guardians turns out to be a debacle, it'll almost certainly be more charming and exciting than Justice League. Sometimes, better to take a heavier hand guiding a potential talent than give freer reign to a devil we all know too well.
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