Podzilla 1985

Friday, July 18, 2014

The Punisher IS Captain America

I can hear the fanboys collaborating on a researched and learned retort to my header, and that's okay. This piece is purely based on opinion, so like religion before me, I'm telling facts and logic to piss off.

So they announced yesterday that Falcon was taking over for Captain America, who apparently is finally coming off of a seventy year drug high. I guess it's some plan by Marvel to shake up their roster, as it must be incredibly difficult to keep these characters fresh and interesting after so many years and so many adventures. Captain America, in particular, is often cast as bland and held back by his by the books pure good character.

Superman has the same problem, with the small asterisk next to his name that says if he ever turned on humanity it would be an apocalypse. If Captain America ever turned his back on us, it would be more akin to when Sergeant Slaughter turned into an Iraqi sympathizer and feuded with Hulk Hogan. And, just like in those days, I assume the Hulk....ster would put Steve Rogers down with an atomic leg drop and send him back down the ranks to feud with Brutus Beefcake.

We're getting off track here. My natural instinct to praise Hulk Hogan ruins everything!

So, anyway. Falcon is the new Cap, Thor is now a woman (if only I had waited to post that article on transgender beauties), and Iron Man is a drunken asshole.

Alright, so some thing they kept the same. But now his suit is silver!

I have nothing against this new Captain Falcon, per se, except for how overpowered he is in Smash Brothers. Actually, my first thought about this switch up is a reflection of similar worries I had over Archie dying to save his gay friend.

  • Is this being done because it makes sense in the story line? 
  • Do they truly have faith in the Falcon as an interesting Captain America?
  • Are they just doing this because he's black, and because he's black they'll stir the pot?

And that's where my fear is. I don't want Falcon to become some kind of poster boy for a race argument, just like I didn't want Archie to become a pawn in a political statement. Characters are products of our imagination and cannot defend themselves, so it's unfair for their creators to put them in these unenviable situations where they gain attention at the cost of credibility.

I've never seen Falcon as a first tier comic hero, but that isn't to say he doesn't deserve the Captain America shield. One of my favorite comic characters is Jubilee from the X-Men, and I've had to defend my choice every time the subject of comic books comes up. 

I just wanted to stress the point that Falcon should not be criticized for being Captain America because he's black. He shouldn't be given the shield or not given the shield based on the color of his skin, because that's the kind of thought process that holds this country back.

I mention this because I am going to flat out to say that, overall, I completely disagree with Sam Wilson becoming the new Captain America. 

It isn't because he's black.

It isn't because he's "beneath" the mantle.

It's because Frank Castle is the only legitimate choice to be Captain America.

Allow me to explain, because right now some nerd somewhere is going into convulsions.

The guy they picked to be Captain America is a former gang member and troubled inner city youth, as writers seemed to have problems creating black characters without falling into the same kind of stereotypes. He became Falcon almost by accident, as it only happened because of a situation he fell into on the way to becoming and even bigger criminal. He has the heart to be good, and he's seen the seedy side of life, but lacks any real formal training or the kind of wartime experience that the real Captain had.

But you know who has plenty of training, wartime experience, and a desire to truly punish criminals? The Punisher.

Frank Castle was a soldier just like Steve Rogers, and he didn't even need a super soldier cocktail to do it. He fought for his country and never asked why or expected a heroes welcome for it. He has devoted himself to his war on crime and doesn't play favorites with anyone, regardless of orientation, creed, or color. He is the epitome of justice, with his biggest criticisms being that he is ultra-violent and without mercy.

My friends, he is the reflection in the mirror that today's America looks into. 

Steve Rogers was a product of the times. The United States needed a hero to fight World War II and stand up to both the Nazi's and communism, and Captain America filled the role with the kind of pure heroics that the country prided itself on. Whether or not we were justified in that is a debate for another time. Still, he socked Hitler in the mouth, he preached about liberty and justice, and he was the very pinnacle of the American way. 

That was 1941. 

This is 2014.

What is America now? If you watch the news or listen to the talking heads, you'll find we are a nation at odds with ourselves. Our diversity and personal liberties, the same ones we valued so fiercely in 1941, have become cracks in a foundation that was never really up to code to begin with. Our frustrations have turned into violence - whether it be drunken fist fights, youth gang violence, police brutality, foreign war, or just plain blowing someone away for no reason.

We have become accustomed to victory through violence. Even incredible tragedies, including but not limited to school shootings that leaves children dead, has only strengthened our desire for more weapons to defend ourselves with.

There is a large part of this country that seems anxious to return to an old west style of life, where we shoot first, shoot second, shoot some more, and when everyone is dead we might ask a question or two.

Who better represents that mindset of modern America than a gun toting vigilante fed up with the politics and fallacies of the justice system?

The Punisher doesn't care how rich you are or what kind of influence your family has. Scum is scum to him, and he would put a bullet in a drug dealer as quickly as he would a terrorist. 

Isn't that what America wants? Don't we argue ourselves into a frenzy about how this country is slipping into the figurative cesspool? I know 
that when I turn on CNN and Fox News that we debate endlessly the rights of our citizens to protect themselves through the use of firearms, and how justified we are in killing at the slightest hint that our lives could be in danger. 

Do I agree with it? Not necessarily. I never assumed that we have the right to just gun someone down before that person has had the chance to do something worth killing them for. I always believed that we have a justice system for a reason, and part of being American is having faith in that system. Of course, that was before a friend of mine was nearly murdered by some piece of shit in a failed bank robbery.

I wish I could have been there myself to shoot him the face before he had the chance to kill two completely innocent women and put my friend in the hospital fighting for her life. I wouldn't have hesitated to gun him down, nor would I have had any regrets. 

But I can only say that in retrospect of his actions. If I would have killed him for just brandishing a knife, would I have been justified? 

What about Bryon Smith? Surely you have heard about the sixty five year old man from Minnesota who basically set a trap to catch two teenagers breaking into his home. He waited for them in his basement, and when they broke in he shot them both dead. He will spend the rest of his life in jail because he didn't just defend himself through violence. He executed them.

And that's what the Punisher is. He is an executioner. He is the kind of man that Sean Hannity will praise on Fox News for bring justice to a lawless land. 

Sam Wilson is a good man with a strong heart, but he is not what symbolizes our country now. We are angry, bloodthirsty, and fighting a war within our own borders. If Captain America, regardless of who bears the moniker, is a living symbol of the country he represents, there can be no other man to carry the weight of that shield than Frank Castle. 

And, America, if you don't like being represented by a relentless killer, I suggest we do something to change the landscape of this nation.

Otherwise, who will be our hero in another seventy years? 
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