Whenever my family discusses which superheroes various NFL quarterbacks would be, everyone agrees that Drew Brees would be Captain America. I agree too, I guess, but it bums me out because Captain America is sort of (sorry! sorry! sorry! but he is) boring. And Drew Brees is not boring. In real life it is heartwarming, not dull, for someone to be all the time kind and good.
Randon always says: “I think you should read some more Captain America comics. I think you’d like him if you read some of his comics.”
And I say, “Mmmmmmmm, I don’t think so.”
I’m telling you this so that you will understand my bias going into these Captain America comics. I really love to be right. I can acknowledge the possibility that I was hoping not to enjoy Captain America.
Here’s the thing: I did not really enjoy Captain America. (I was right.) Ed Brubaker does some wonderfully insane things in his run, and if you have hung out here very much at all, you will know that I love crazy plot developments. Most insanest in this run is the plotline about the Winter Soldier, a Russian assassin of extraordinary gifts who turns out to be — cue spoilers and dramatic music — none other than Captain America’s young, dead partner of so many years ago, Bucky! One of the few reliably dead comic book characters in the history of comic books! Actually not dead this whole time! Actually was revived and brainwashed by Russians! And brought back to comics by Ed Brubaker’s villains for the sole purpose of screwing with Captain America’s head.
My first and hugest problem is that Captain America is not interesting. The people in his life can say he’s irritating (and they do), but since he’s also the nicest human person and everyone who speaks about him says he is the best person they ever knew, it doesn’t hold much water to call him irritating. Mostly he is tediously virtuous, not in an interesting way.
Before you ask, yes, I could have imagined it was Drew Brees doing all of the Captain America activities, in order to make them more interesting. I did do that, actually! But I got sad to think of Drew Brees being so unhappy and having hallucinations, so I had to stop. I want him always to be happy. He has done so much for New Orleans. Why should he have to relive his terrible memories of watching his young partner being tortured by Nazis?
My second problem is that, in the four trade paperbacks I read — two volumes apiece of The Winter Soldier and The Red Menace — the villains did an awful lot of not killing Captain America because that would be too kind. You may keep someone alive because you need their super-soldier DNA, or because you are planning to brainwash them into being evil using your super-powerful Cosmic Cube. You may also, upon achieving a victory that leaves their world in ruin, then gaze down at them contemptuously and refuse to kill them because it would be too kind. But if Plan A involves deliberately not neutralizing a person who is a clear threat to your evil plan, then I have a harder time thinking your villainy has teeth.
My third problem is that everything is a trap. Whenever Captain America and his SHIELD liaison, Sharon, get a lead on anything, they go haring off after the lead. Next thing you know, they’re surrounded by enemy combatants and they’re like, “They knew all along that we would come here!” The first time that happens, fine, you can’t win ’em all, the bad guys outsmarted you. After a while, for the love of God, Captain America, can you and Sharon put your heads together and come up with a scheme to get the drop on these guys?
In short, meh. Captain America is not for me.