Tuesday, December 26, 2017

365 Days of Defiance, Day 360: Oh, Captain America, where are you now? When every thing's gone wrong somehow?

For your post-Christmas enjoyment and inspiration: probably the single most requested sequence since I started this year-long feature. I've been saving it for towards the end, because it is great, and it is powerful, and wouldn't ya know, it's more timely than ever. Just Imagine...(or, y'know, the other one's catchphrase) if Captain America had not been thawed out in 1963 (ahem, lots of clearing of throats) whatever year Avengers #4 took place in! Actually, according to the story, it's really "What If Namor Took the Scenic Route Home from His Amnesiac Years in the Bowery?" No Namor rampage in the frozen north, no slowly melting Capsicle, no discovery by the original Avengers in their Avengersub. And How About™ if the 1950s Commie-Smasher version of Captain America and Bucky were revived by a janitor who was angry at Nixon going to China? (Possibly he also hated ping pong and panda bears, but that's for the fan fiction). And Maybe Then™ Crazy Commiehater Cap convinced America to go all fascist, leading to race riots and a quickly inflicted martial law under the control of Fake Cap himself (naw, no Cap would ever do that!) And Of Course It Would Happen™ that in 1983, year of perhaps the greatest music ever, the All-Original Not-New Really-We-Mean-It Captain America Steve Rogers would be finally thawed out by a U.S. Navy submarine? Okay, you're caught up to date. Now...go!

Panels from What If? (1977 series) #44 (April 1984), script by Peter B. Gillis, pencils by Sal Buscema, inks by Dave Simons, colors by George Roussos, letters by John Morelli

Instead of coming ashore to an asparagus alien shooting people with his Medusa-ray, Steve hits land for the first time in 38 years to see his beloved New York City run by a thug army of fascist-faced Capballs! That's not gonna sit right with the Star-Spangled Guy, who we can't call the Star-Spangled Avenger because the Avengers broke up not long after not finding Cap. Whoa, there's a nightmare alternate world for you, for sure! I certainly hope somebody else stopped Kang and Ultron along the way.

America under Capcism...well, it's not good. Not good at all. And there's a wall around the undesirable areas of New York. Curse you, Peter B. Gillis, for being so forward-thinking.

Steve is brought to the secret HQ underground rebellion against authoritarian "Captain America" and his Americommandos, where he teams up with insurgents J. Jonah Jameson, Spider-Man, Nick Fury, and urban guerilla leader "Snap" Wilson, known in our world as the Falcon.

Fury points out that they can perhaps put a sizable monkey wrench in the rise of an American Reich by attacking the Party Convention (aw, heck, let's just call it a Nazi rally) of the America First Party, who are intent on tightening restrictions on freedom even further. Let's pause on those words. America First. Now, where have we seen...and Cap would certainly remember...the credo "America First" being used before?

Or, perhaps you need "America First" used as a modern example? Here it is in scary contemporary context. Aw, you know who I'm reluctantly gonna quote here, right?

Ick. Get that crap outta my world and my comic books, you racist, fascist, dumbass pig.

As you might guess, this is a situation and an enemy with whom Steve Rogers will not put up. He'll not put up with them and he'll do it with his words and his fists. I'm gonna shut up and show you probably more of the comic book than is fair use, but y'all need to read this sequence, especially if you never have. The Cap of Earth-616 (and for that matter, the Cap of our world, Chris Evans) would be so proud of this Earth's real Steve here. I am too.


Joseph said...

*Hat tip to the Bully.

Blam said...

I... might have something in my eye. Haven't (re)read this issue in decades and mostly remembered only the great Sienkiewicz cover. Thanks for posting!