Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Captain America - Killer?

Captain America #125

BAD GUY: "So, why don'tcha just shoot us in the head, Flagface?"
CAP: "I don't use guns."
BAD GUY: "Not what I heard."

That's not what I heard, either.

I was talking with a friend about this, recently, and I've certainly seen takes on Cap that acknowledged the fact that, as a soldier during war-time, he has killed. Apparently, he even used guns. ("Bucky/Winter Soldier" sure does.)

In Captain America #125, Marvel was sticking with the "There's always a way to stop the bad guy without killing him," version of Captain America. Sounds a lot like DC's Superman philosophy - even down to both characters having broken their own rule once, then crying about it for some time afterward.

These days, I think Superman still has the same worldview, while Captain America (pre-mortem), I believe, was depicted a tiny bit more like any other war-time soldier with no super-powers. It's war. Warriors kill.

That said, I really liked the "boy scout" Captain America who valued all life - even that of bad guys - so much that he'd give his own to protect it. He was a source of inspiration to good guys and bad ones - not because he could fly faster than the speed of light and create new powers by staring into the sun, enabling him to stop anyone without killing them.

Broken bones notwithstanding.

So, which Captain America (or other superheroes, if you like) do you prefer in your comics?


Michael May said...

I don't see a disconnect between Cap's time as a soldier in WWII and his preference to not use weapons now. His willingness to use guns should probably depend on the mission and his relationship with the government at the time.

I'm not a great authority on Cap or anything, but if he's acting as a duly appointed agent of the government, I don't see why he'd have any more problem using a firearm than a police officer or an FBI agent or a soldier would.

On the other hand, if he's acting on his own or for the Avengers in one of the periods where they weren't directly sanctioned by the government, I can see why he'd be less willing to use deadly force.

Since you asked about other superheroes, my favorite attitude so far has been Wonder Woman's when she killed Max Lord. WW obviously isn't a bloodthirsty vigilante, but she didn't mind doing what needed doing when faced with an obvious, repeatable threat.

Batman, on the other hand, has let the Joker live so many times now to disastrous consequences that his no-kill policy has lost all credibility. It's just stupid now and affects my ability to enjoy the character.

Noah Brand said...

Cap has killed, I think, but considers it abhorrent, always an evil act, even if one sometimes has no other choice.

He's not afraid of admitting his actions have consequences, in other words, and he doesn't duck the responsibility for them.

West said...

I dunno. I have a hard time seeing the modern Cap seeing ANY excuse for killing - despite the fact that war is... y'know, war.