Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Is Captain America still dead or just not feeling very well?

I promised a new entry in May, but I was off by... let's see... 12 weeks.Well, I can't blame the delay on long hours reading the latest comic releases. My interest in contemporary comics began to waver long before the new century began.

I guessing my purchases started to slack off in 1992, when DC pumped the much ballyhooed death of Superman at the hands of a monster with crystalized zits. By the time Marvel was cranking out its fourth spin-off of the Uncanny X-Men, my monthly purchases were down to two or less.

And I somehow completely missed the second tragic death of Jean Grey. Third, if you count the Madelyne Pryor clone.

Rather than squeezing the maximum drama (and cover price) out of an iconic do-gooder's demise, publishers should just admit that superhero death certificates are always issued with an expiration date.

You won't find such histrionic contrivances here. Just a seething ambivalence about the hero's life and death, though not necessarily in that order.

This story is maladapted from Super Magician Volume 2 Number 10, but does not feature the comic's headline act: real-life conjurer Blackstone. Instead, we get a freckle-faced boy prestidigitator with the improbable stage name of Tao Anwar, seemingly derived from a Chinese word for 'Truth' and an Arabic name meaning 'Luminescent'.

Truth be known, the kid doesn't come off as especially bright.