Ironic Brightest Day Versus Ironic Heroic Age

As both of the "Big Two" comic book companies apparently enter a brighter, more positive era, we look at just how well each of their "show runners" are handling it...

From Brightest Day #2
Firestorm's face getting shredded!
A mom pulling her face off after killing her entire family!

Hawkman vowing murder!
From Avengers #1 (Heroic Age banner)
Some future teen Avengers committing murder most noir!

Wolverine on the team!
I can't believe Steve Rogers actually put him on the team for his "ruthlessness". Real "Heroic".

And I can't really find any other moments, but that's because Bendis just has them talk for most of the issue. So it's business as usual. The "Heroic" hits keep on coming.


snell said...

Compare/contrast with this Cap/Wolverine moment.

And yeah, you'd think that Avengers vs. Kang would be great...but Bendis just has them standing around quipping...

StacyHD said...

Bendis writing with an emphasis on dialogue you say?

I. Am. Shocked.

Yeah, I think my business with DC Comics is almost concluded, and Marvel stands poised on a razor's edge.


Austin Gorton said...

Yeah, I love/hate both equally, but it seems like the DC examples more egregiously undermine the point of the story.

Nik said...

Yeah, I'd say DC goes a bit more over the top on this. I really don't know what to make of Geoff Johns sometimes. Seems like a nice fellow but writes comics that would make Charles Manson blush. 15 years ago this stuff would've been hidden behind the counter.

LiamKav said...

The hilarious thing is that you can have beheadings, people getting ripped in half, enough blood and gore for 5 Hong Kong martial arts films, and yet god forbid anyone says the word "shit".

There was stuff in "South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" that was parody when it came out, but now is appears in at least one DC comic a week.

Anonymous said...

snell's Cap / Wolverine moment was written by Mark Gruenwald, who, throughout his long run on Cap, kept returning to the theme of doing the right thing even when it's difficult. If there's anything Steve Rogers should be about, it's putting principle first, with convenience coming in at about fifth or sixth. Somehow, I find Steve's inducting Logan to be the biggest disappointment of quite some time.

I can understand Steve being on speaking terms with Logan, provided there are no outstanding warrants and no strong reason to think there are any murders he has to answer for. (Logan kills lots, but not all killing is murder; for example X-Men have to resort to self-defense quite a bit, and killing in self-defense is legal.) But even so, the fact that death seems to happen a lot around Logan, and the fact that his combat skills are all about lethality, would be grounds to not put the Avengers at risk by including him on the team. Gah.

Bill D. said...

Haven't read Avengers or Brightest Day, but based on all the reviews I'm seeing, Marvel is the more "on message" of the two companies right now, based on what they said their storyline directions would be. It'll be interesting to look at where things are a year from now.

LiamKav said...

"killing in self-defense is legal."

I really hope you never get mugged.

Well, obviously I hope that no-one ever gets mugged. But in any case, I'd follow your lawyer's suggestions.

Anonymous said...

Self-defense is in fact a circumstance in which taking another life is allowed by law. It even so happens that saving another person (i.e. coming to someone else's defense) is allowed by law. Of course there should be a trial if there is any question.

Siskoid said...

And laws probably differ in a superhero world, however the point stands that between a hero who (like most, traditionally) chooses the non-lethal option over the lethal one most of the time and Wolverine, Cap would likely not choose Wolverine.

Anonymous said...

I've been real careful about saying that Cap doesn't work with anyone who kills, because it just isn't so. Steve Rogers even once picked up a machine gun and killed a guy ... this guy was a terrorist shooting into a crowd of hostages (see early Flag Smasher appearances), and there was little question that Cap was saving lives as best as he could.

But there's a big difference between killing because there's no choice, and killing because you're the best there is at what you do. Now, if Logan were to start relying on a generally non-lethal weapon of some kind ... I bet Logan could make a bo staff bad-ass.

Siskoid said...


But on a purely meta-textual level, Wolverine and Spider-Man just don't fit as Avengers. Wolverine belongs to a different team entirely (even wears the X-suit) or as a loner. Spider-Man is strictly a solo player on account of being a "lovable loser" (in a way that Iron Man and Thor aren't). Perhaps it's just tradition that Spidey shouldn't be an Avenger, I'm not sure. In any case, neither of them would be my choices.

LiamKav said...

I partially agree. Wolverine does work in a team, but in a specific way. Early Wolverine was always butting up against authority figures in the team. Later Wolverine IS the authority figure and you can get character stuff out of that contradiction. Spidey though should not be successful, or it takes him too far away from what makes him a great character.

Self-defense is in fact a circumstance in which taking another life is allowed by law.

Now, I'll be willing to grant that the law might be different wherever you are. But in the UK at least, you are only allowed to apply reasonable force when talking about self-defence. If someone is strangling you to death and the only way out is to kill them, then maybe. If someone had just cornered you in an alley and asked for you wallet and you stab them repeatedly in the neck, then no, that's not allowed.

Anonymous said...

Agreed, self-defense isn't carte blanche to kill; I never said it was, and I don't think I even implied it was. But I thought it was appropriate to note there are some situations where Captain America could accept the fact that Logan takes human lives.

More examples of Cap accepting one human taking another human's life:

- He's a soldier; he fought in WWII. Even though he never directly killed anyone in WWII (source: the issue after the one where he killed an U.L.T.I.M.A.T.U.M. agent with a machine gun), he worked alongside lots of people who did, and Cap treats them with respect.

- War crimes trials. After "Galactic Storm", Cap wanted to put the Supreme Intelligence on trial, a trial run by the Kree survivors. If they had handed down a death sentence, it is strongly implied that Cap would have supported it. (He didn't support Iron Man leading a team of Avengers to kill the Supreme Intelligence.)

- When Diamondback was hopped up on Super Soldier Serum and killed someone who had nearly killed her a few months previous, she eventually confessed to Cap. He said that he can't put himself in her shoes, but he does think it needs to be taken to court so that the law can decide her punishment. (Since the killing happened on A.I.M.'s island of Boca Caliente, if memory serves, it was not felt that a crime had even been committed.)

The conclusion I come to is: Cap has a deep and abiding respect for human life, and will put himself at tremendous risk to protect the lives of even killers. That said, he also understands that not everyone lives up to his personal standards, and the fairest standard to hold others to is the law.

LiamKav said...

Wait, Cap never killed anyone in World War II? Even though he used guns and grenades (according to Brubaker/Bucky), he always only wounded them? That's... ridiculous.

Austin Gorton said...

@LiamKav: Wait, Cap never killed anyone in World War II?

That was, I believe, the stance established by Gruenwald when he was writing Cap lo' those many years.

It's certainly a retcon, as no one was shy in showing Golden Age Cap killin' Nazis.

I believe Marvel's "official" perspective on it these days is a little different than Gruenwald's: as a solider in WWII, Cap certainly took the lives of enemy combatants (as seen in his original stories from the 40s, and via flashbacks in the Brubaker stuff) but as a post-war, post-frozen superhero, he refrains from taking lives and doesn't believing in indiscriminately killing villains.

At least, that's how I've always understood it.

Anonymous said...

Gruenwald's take on Cap's not-killing was hotly debated in the letter columns of the day. I think the editorial clarification at the time was that, while Cap may have blown up his share of Nazi bases, he never shot anyone, refused to accept a surrender, simply "let" anyone die, etc. Hence my comment that he never "directly" killed anyone. (Many people pointed out at the time that an enemy-life-protecting perspective would have been counterproductive and even injurious to his side during a military operation. Real-world-wise, I'd have to agree. Superhero-wise ... ?)

I haven't been following Brubaker's work, but if he says that Cap directly killed enemy soldiers during time of war, but in a fashion appropriate to such mores that apply during war, it's a reasonable revision and I don't think it detracts from Steve Rogers' respect for life.


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