Tuesday, June 05, 2018


From about a million posts ago: Captain America was killed off in Captain America #50 in 2002, an issue that featured Cap's funeral and a ton of testimonials from heroes and villains. (That part of the issue was written by Evan Dorkin with art by Kevin Maguire!) Then Cap was back almost immediately, with no explanation, for this mini-series: Captain America: Dead Men Running #1-3, written by Darko Macan, art by Danijel Zezelj.

Cap is back in action and seemingly larger than life, as he parachutes into the Colombian jungle to help a group of soldiers on the run from the "coke mafia." The soldiers also have several children with them that they "liberated," but their story is full of holes. They turn on Cap before the end of the first issue, revealing they had been trying to rip off a drug lord, and took his kids as hostages.

Drugged, Cap spends most of the next issue unconscious, as the soldiers use him to bluff their way into a convent, in the hopes they could defend there until Cap's evac plane arrived. Several are killed, including a nun; but the convent is later bombed by the soldiers' commanding officer, who wants to destroy any evidence. Cap and the children survive since they were in a cell, and help the surviving soldiers out of the rubble, with Cap telling them they all have choices, and "what others do...is no excuse." The soldiers stay to fight the coke mob, who conveniently show up in skeleton suits for some reason, except it's a nice visual for a soldier's fight while wearing Cap's mask. Cap gets the kids and the nuns out, then heads to his next series, which was under the Marvel Knights imprint for a while, and I don't recall as being super-great. That was right after 9/11, and it's not surprising Marvel had some trouble finding a new footing for Cap, even after this dark detour.

I didn't love this one either, since it made Cap's "death" even less worthwhile than super-hero death usually is, for Cap to just show up to help out some guys that had no business being where they were. I had to look it up, but I had seen Zezelj's art in Vertigo's El Diablo, and he was the artist for Warren Ellis's Desolation Jones after J.H. Williams, but the series surprisingly ended two issues into a six-issue story! I think putting him on this book was an intentional choice, since the previous run had featured Dan Jurgens cleaner, more traditionally super-hero art.


2 comments:

Dale Bagwell said...

Shit man, I'll have to disagree with you on this one, me likie.
Sure the artwork's a bit on the dirty side, but it suits the dirty tone of the story.
I first saw Danijel Zezelj's art on a really good but sad story about old soldiers in the 1999 Vertigo one-shot Weird War Tales. Good stuff.

Anyways, this really seems like something more up Frank Castle's alley, but I think it's a nice little touch of Vertigo for Cap.

those covers tho, are horrible. Really horrible.

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