So Thor is now a woman and the mantle of Captain America is being donned by Sam Wilson. This means that Marvel comics has taken two of it’s most well known properties, thanks to the films, and completely changed them. So people that love Chris Hemsworth (who doesn’t?) and want more “motion picture Thor” are going to find a hammer-wielding woman in the helmet and armor. People who identify with Chris Evans will now find Sam Wilson in Cap’s star-spangled boots. Marvel is flipping the script. Newsmedia is running with this story…hard and why wouldn’t you. African Americans and women running rampant through ‘murican comics! Only in Obama’s America… But, if you look a little closer, you can see that there is some precedence for these changes.
Thor is a god whose magic hammer is wrapped up in his power and denotes his worthiness to be mighty…to be the God Of Thunder. Well, the man has lost his touch and there is a new lady in town who is the only one worthy to wield the might of Mjolnir. This woman’s identity is a secret, but Jason Aaron promises that she will be just as much of a bad a as the current Thor.
Although it has potential to be far different than Jason Aaron’s “Thor God Of Thunder,” it’s not that weird or out of character for Thor to be a woman. I was never that into Thor, but Aaron’s run made me a believer. When I heard that Thor would now be a woman, I just kept running through story arcs from “Thor God Of Thunder” and imagining what they would be like with a female protagonist. After all of that deep mental research, I have got to say that I would kind of love to see a lady Thor hooking up with Viking dudes and getting wasted while fighting dragons. That could be really entertaining. That behavior could also be why the previous Thor has been deemed unworthy. Since there is an old king Thor in Jason Aaron’s story lines, it will also be interesting if the man can earn back the mantle. Maybe by the time Thor 3 comes out. *wink*
So, in the newest chapter of the Marvel Universe, Captain America is going to be a black man. Not in a C. Thomas Howell kind of way, but rather in the way that Sam Wilson (The Falcon) is going to be taking up the mantle. Even Stephen Colbert commented about it being more appropriate to refer to Sam as “Captain African America.” If you don’t know who Sam Wilson is, here is a brief synopsis:
“Wilson, created by Stan Leeand Gene Colan, first appeared in 1969’s Captain America #117 and was—somewhat depressingly, given the date—the first African-American superhero in mainstream comics (The Black Panther, who had debuted in Fantastic Four years earlier, was African, coming from the fictional country of Wakanda). By 1971, he was upgraded to co-star status when the series was retitled Captain America and the Falcon, a change that lasted until 1978 when Steve Rogers went solo once more.
Since then, Wilson has enjoyed short-lived runs in various titles, including most recently Avengers,Mighty Avengers and the current Captain America series. Additionally, the character debuted on the big screen earlier this year in Captain America: The Winter Soldier.”
Graeme McMillan at The Hollywood Reporter
This also seems, on the surface, like a crazy shake up, but it is not that weird either. In Marvel comics’ continuity, the first Captain America was a black man named Isaiah Bradley. In the series “Truth: Red, White, and Black” we are let in on the secret that America’s attempts to re-create the Super -Soldier program in 1942 were more like the Tuskegee experiments than we would like to believe.
So there is precedence for an African American Captain America. But, more than that, Sam Wilson is more than qualified to take the job. He is an excellent hero who has a great working relationship with the superhero community and the respect of the Marvel Universe. In another article by Graeme McMillan on Wired.com (boy, does he get around) he suggests that there might be:
uncomfortable weirdness around an African-American Cap working for a white master (From Marvel’s press release about the new Cap, former Cap Steve Rogers will be “running Cap’s missions from his headquarters in Avengers Mansion” and will “also tutor Sam in how to throw the shield, a skill that’s deceptively difficult for the new Cap to master”)
Graeme McMillan at Wired.com
To me, this seems like a bit of a jump to make. Steve Rogers has often been in more of a managerial role many times since the Heroic age. Steve managed Bucky as a Captain America for awhile. Even though it seems, for some people, like Steve’s management of Sam could be a “slave/master” relationship, Bucky Cap was certainly not his slave or anything like that even though they had what I would presume will be the same relationship that Steve and Sam have.
So, I guess what I am trying to say is “kudos to Marvel for doing something interesting, but if they think that they are greatly impacting race relations or gender equality issues, I am not sure yet.” I think that Thor will be interesting with a woman in charge and will come down to a “can they pull this off?” scenario. I think Sam Wilson has deserved a bigger piece of the Marvel universe pie for awhile and am glad to see him in a Cap costume, not simply as a black man, but as a deserving hero. So, everybody calm down. Pay Marvel your money and we will all hope that these series’ are good enough to show well for both women and black African Americans or don’t.
Here are some other interesting articles to read:
~ Scott Deaux ~