Saturday, March 10, 2007

Captain America Punished

First, a personal flashback. . .

Years ago, I was involved in a fantasy role playing game. In this game, my character was part of a party of heroes where were marginally employed by the King as a sort of secret service. The kingdom was facing a nebulous threat from a cult but couldn't gather enough evidence or even good intelligence to take any action. There may have been conspirators within the royal court. We were therefore the mercenary outsiders who were going to figure it all out.

Except we couldn't. Oh, we killed a few cultists and gleaned some slight information by scrying the corpses but, all in all, we weren't very successful. Then, all hell broke loose. The crown prince, while making a public appearance was mortally struck by an arrow fired from a distant rooftop. The royal guards attempted to chase down the assassin but he was able to escape into the crowd. He left behind a clue, however, a cloak with a badge that identified him as a member of a minor religion that, up until this point, was only suspected of being complicit in this cult.

Enraged at this affront, the kingdom leapt into action. Soldiers kicked in doors, rounded up cultists left and right, executed the leaders and put a stop to the conspiracy.

Except, that it was me up on the roof and the "mortally" wounded Crown Prince was wearing a hidden breastplate with fake blood packs. Since we couldn't get solid evidence, we dressed up our flimsy evidence in a faked assassination attempt and gave the King the excuse he needed for his pogrom.

Flash forward to when I heard that Captain America had been shot by a sniper at the end of the Civil War mega-series of comics. I had honestly lost interest in the whole Civil War plotline after J. Michael Straczynski stopped writing for Spider-Man and Fantastic Four and so hadn't been paying much attention anymore. Even so, aside from knowing that no one ever permanently dies in comic books, I knew there had to be a spin.

The Punisher.

I remember flipping through a comic on the comic shop shelves and saw that Frank Castle, The Punisher, had joined the rebellion with Captain America. It all fell into place. I'm betting that Frank put three bullets into Cap and left the rifle behind just as I had put an arrow into the Crown Prince and left the cloak and badge behind. It's a set-up. A professional assassin wouldn't be stupid enough to leave behind the rifle. I have no doubt that the trail of evidence leading back from that rifle will not lead back to the man who actually pulled the trigger. It will lead to someone else and only after that plot has revealed itself and justice is mettled out to the true villain will it be revealed that Steve Rogers has been convalescing in some undisclosed location and returns to reestablish justice.

OK, so that's my prediction. The Punisher shot Captain America. Cap isn't dead. Someone else is being set-up. Marvel will probably take a year to sort out that mess before bringing Captain America back.

Check back in 2008 to see if I was right.


Rob Carr said...

The Red Skull hired the Punisher?

Civil War: The Initiative Issue 1

Cap isn't dead?


Straczynski is still writing Spider-Man as of ASM 538.

Der Geis said...

Red Skull? I would expect that Marvel would make the Skull the villain but, if my theory of the Punisher taking the shot is true then, if it were me, I'd be setting up Tony Stark to take the fall. He's been an ass through all this and I would like to see him get what he's got coming to him.

And, I looked at the cover of Spider-Man 538 and, sure enough, there is Straczynski's name. I was just about to have it removed from my subscription list but now that he's back, maybe he can repair the damage done by Peter Parker revealing himself as Spider-Man. Part of the foundation of Spider-Man was that Peter was just a regular guy trying to work his way through regular life as well as that of being a superhero. Now that he's a superhero all the time, he's much less interesting.

That's why I've added Spider-Man loves Mary Jane to my subscription list. If you didn't already know that Peter Parker was Spider-Man, you could go through most of the comic and not figure it out.

Rob Carr said...

I'll have to go back and check, but I don't remember Straczynski taking his name off Amazing Spider-Man. The bit where Peter reveals his identity, and then when he goes back on TV and reveals what he knows about the Negative Zone prison sounded like pure Straczynski.

BTW: I'm currently reading volume 10 of Straczynski's Babylon 5 scripts. Things are going to hell, and that's just in his description of what's happening as the fourth and final season of Babylon 5 is being produced! Of course, Doug Netter did tootsie-fruitsi someone, a wonderful bit in its own right.

Der Geis said...

Maybe I just assumed that Straczynski was off of Spider-Man because because I didn't like the "reveal" part. Maybe he didn't have a choice in that matter or perhaps it was his plan all along. I called JMS a bastard regularly through the run of B5 for twists and turns that I didn't like but which, sometimes moments later, turned out to be the absolutely perfect path.

I hadn't heard about the B5 scripts. 14 volumes at $40 a volume! Ugh. I wish I had that kind of money sitting around. I always wondered about how B5 would have gone if things had gone the way he first envisioned.

Rob Carr said...

If you buy early, they're $30 a month. Doable. Where do you live and do you take good care of books?