So I understand that the big reveal behind “Captain America 600” is that Steve Rogers is coming back as Captain America, with the actual resurrecting taking place in the “Captain America Reborn” mini-series. Marvel caught a lot of heat when they forced retailers to order the “Reborn” mini-series without revealing what it was soliciting, and based on this week’s revelation, they certainly deserve all of it. Their hype machine implied that something was going to be revealed on 6/15/09 that would garner “Cap 600” national media attention, with most people speculating that there would be some announcement as to who would be playing Cap in the upcoming movie. Yeah, there was some talk that it was just going to herald the return of Rogers as Cap, but most people thought to look on this optimistically. Something along the lines of “Come on, Marvel wouldn’t be that stupid. There has to be more to this than bringing ANOTHER character back from the dead.”
Now would be as good a time as ever to invoke the old adage, “You can’t go broke underestimating the taste of the general public.” Only in this case it’s more like, “You’ll never be disappointed by underestimating the end result of Marvel’s hype machine.”
That said, with Ed Brubaker writing all of this I have little doubt that it won’t be well worth reading. My disappointment over this announcement stems from how little time they’ve given to Bucky as the “New Cap.” Bringing him back from the dead, let alone setting him up to take over Rogers’ legacy was a questionable decision at best, but Brubaker pulled it off without a hitch and made the idea of seeing this rookie superhero (and former brainwashed Soviet assassin) a compelling read. Two and a half years later, it seems that Bucky’s tenure as Cap isn’t going to count for a whole lot of stories. He didn’t assume the mantle until halfway through the “Death of Captain America” arc, and the next volume will showcase his first set of adventures that don’t involve facing off against the Red Skull. Assuming that Rogers returns after “Reborn” (which might take upwards of a year or more, since artist Bryan Hitch hasn’t met a schedule he couldn’t destroy), we’ll get at least one, maybe two more volumes about Bucky’s adventures as Cap.
Bucky will naturally be spun off into his own title after the return, but I’m getting the feeling that we’ll have only scratched the surface of seeing how he handles being Cap and seeing how the rest of the Marvel Universe reacts to him being Cap. The way things are going, I would’ve waited another two and a half years to see what Brubaker and co. would’ve done with the concept. Yet I get the feeling that they’re doing this now so that they’ll have Rogers back as Cap just in time for the movie in 2011. Why they’re doing that when it’s been shown that comic book movies only tend to spur sales of the books they’re directly based on (see “Watchmen,” “300,” “V For Vendetta”) is beyond me. Yes, it did work for the launch of “Invincible Iron Man” last year (… for a month), but I doubt the general populace really cares about what Cap’s doing in his comics these days.
Oh well, as I said above, as long as Brubaker’s writing all this, I’m still on board. I guess I should also admit that it’s interesting to see Marvel cut off a promising idea at the knees; as opposed to beating it into the ground like they’ve been doing with all their other franchises over the years. I’m also glad that this stunt has provided yet another example of why I wait for the trade instead of buying single issues.