Tuesday, June 19, 2012

This probably could've gone in 'Abject Depression Week,' too.

Here's a cheerful bit of maybe revisionist history, from Universe X Special: Cap #1 (Script and story by Jim Krueger; story, cover, and designs by Alex Ross; pencils by Thomas Yeates, inks by John Totleben and Ron Randall.) As the weary Cap and the reincarnated Captain Mar-Vell search for a dimensional doorway device (tying into the old Kirby Madbomb storyline) Cap has more than a few flashbacks, including this one. The Red Skull tells Cap that Dr. Erskine, creator of the Super-Soldier Serum, was in fact a Nazi agent. (This seems dubious at best, but Red Skull asks how the Nazis were able to get access to Allied secret projects: because most of them were actually relocated secret Nazi projects.)

In another flashback, Cap kills the Skull, then quits the Avengers, feeling that he could no longer serve as an example. Shortly thereafter, most of the Avengers were killed in a battle with the Absorbing Man; leaving Cap wondering if it would've been different if he'd been there. After everyone on earth was mutated, and the alien mind-controller known as HYDRA attacked S.H.I.E.L.D, President Norman Osborn asks Cap to lead his forces; Cap refuses. Shortly after that, the Helicarrier goes down, and Nick Fury dies.
The image of several Fury Life-Model Decoys running out of the crashed Helicarrier is a good one, isn't it?

Cap finds a final message from Fury: the new HYDRA was created by Osborn, and when Cap turned him down, his friends became targets. Later, in the first Earth X series, Cap is forced to kill the new Skull--a mind-controlling sociopath, who was a young boy. So, Cap's kind of a wreck at this point; as he and Mar-Vell are surrounded by lunatics in Revolutionary War garb. (Again, a tie-in to Madbomb.) And Cap doesn't see a way for both him and Mar-Vell to get out of this one...

I've had this issue for some time, but got a spare at the comicon. I haven't sat down and read the whole Earth/Universe/Paradise X run in a couple years; but I love how it manages to take some forty-plus years of Marvel comics and thread together unrelated events into a cohesive whole. That said, the series is often less than uplifting.

1 comment:

Dale Bagwell said...

This is one I picked up, and wish I had gotten the last time I was at my comic shop. I already knew Cap dies at the end, but it's still a really good one-shot.

I also loved the fact, that like you said, Ross and Kruger tied up some much history together, but explained it why this and that happened, and why certain characters acted the way they did. I don't think I was the only one, but I kind of wished Earth X was in continuity since it really shed new light on the entire span of Marvel history. It's a shame it isn't, but I wish it was.