Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Don't Panic

Okay, so I found out on Twitter (via various) last night that Tom Brevoort dropped a fun Captain America image in our laps. A female Bucky.

I'd like to smack the guys who say that Natasha and Sharon are the obvious choices over the head, and not for lack of continuity knowledge. It's an insult. Natasha and Sharon have identities. Damned good ones, at that. Sharon may arguably be the sidekick-girlfriend (which works for her, she's as very cool sidekick/girlfriend and right-hand woman to Nick Fury--they really should've kept her that way in the Ultimate Avengers movie rather than trying to put her personality on Natasha), but she is a well-established as a superspy and a sidekick/girlfriend under the name Agent 13. Black Widow is commonly a partner and love interest, but she's one of the leading female Avenger characters, and of all the supporting cast roles she's had she's never changed identities to suit her boyfriend. Switching to be a female Bucky would be a serious downgrade from their own well-rooted identities.

And nothing that these women have done, and nothing in their plotlines suggests that taking on Bucky's costume would be natural. If Tasha wants to hide her connection to the New Captain America, it's too late. Sharon's emotional connections are to Steve. She may have a lot in common with Bucky, but she's got no reason to emulate him. It could be pulled off--as part of some temporary trick--but the assumption is horrible. It just doesn't fit either woman.

Not to mention they have the Spy vs. Spy theme going on with their current costumes and we've yet to see an artist play with that.

My own first thought on just reading about the picture was that Bucky had a long-lost daughter or granddaughter surface because there is ample opportunity for him to have had children. And grandchildren. (I still fully expect some day he'll run into Rick Jones and ask if his grandmother was a Red Cross volunteer named Katherine Jones who was in London during 1943. It explains nicely why there was a perfect Bucky lookalike around when Steve defrosted.)

Then I saw the picture.

Admittedly, she does look like Natasha (its the red shading), and if Natasha ever had any kids it would have been pre-Widow treatment (I've been informed she's sterile since getting that Russian serum). A writer who wanted a Black Widow/Winter Soldier story would be easily able to fit the affair with Bucky in while she could still have kids, and get a baby or a set of twins out of it. Especially with Tasha's messed up memory. Perfect soap opera/superhero baby setup. They could bring them in at any age they want and do their motherhood story with Tasha without taking her out of action for nine-plus months of storytime.

But it's almost certainly not a new character. It's also certainly not Natasha or Sharon. She's wearing goggles. I adore goggles on a superhero costume, but they are like leather jackets -- a 90s thing. Tasha or Sharon would have been given a more 21st Century look for a new costume. Same with a new character.

It's the Heroes Reborn character (Yes, that's all the poor girl gets on Wikipedia), and I'm really happy about that. I always liked the idea of a female sidekick for Cap, but the art was just too horrible to try out. I've been wanting a chance to read this character without really dreadful art.

I'll be happy as long as she doesn't die horribly. (Yes, I'm looking at you DC and your female Robin stunt.) I sincerely hope this is not just killing an "excess character" off. It's one thing if she's just a ten-page backup story that ends with her retiring from superheroics to have a normal life, it's another if she gets horribly killed off as a way of illustrating the dark nature of the world and brushing that whole Onslaught/Heroes Reborn craziness under the rug. Way too often cleaning house in a franchise involves getting rid of young female derivative characters in really shitty ways.

But that's a really awesome picture, so I intend to be optimistic.


  1. I'm having a hard time understanding why you'd want to smack the fans for thinking the obvious choices would be Sharon or Natasha. Even if you feel they have established identities, the fans are just predicting that as the way Marvel would go. If you said you'd like to smack the fans that think it'd be a good idea to have it be one of those two strong ladies, I'd better be able to understand where you're coming from.

    As far as your guess, I don't see Brubaker's run leading up to the inclusion of a Heroes Reborn and don't think it looks like her.

  2. Kevin -- Mainly because they're gleeful about the idea.

    And Kevin, Kevin, Kevin... Anniversary issue. That means backups, flashbacks and pinup sketches, not necessarily a long-term story inclusion. Hell, that page may be the only image of her in the book. Let's run the comparison:

    Rikki Barnes:

    Goggles? Check.

    Goggles held in a leather headdress that covers ears but allows hair to flow over top? Check.

    Little bird belt-buckle? Check.

    Her hair is grown out, she's got a gun now and she's drawn in noir-style, but that's the same character. She's just updated a bit to reflect the times and the current take on Bucky.

  3. Well, next time include the gleeful part so I don't even bother to question your motives. ;)

    But you do realize that the similarities could be just as off-handedly dismissed as you do with the things that are different in appearance from the Heroes Reborn character, right?

    But you do make a compelling argument with that anniversary issue back-up idea. You're probably right.

  4. I still don't understand why nobody bothered to just ask the artist or check out his blog.

    It's Rikki Barnes -

  5. the funny thing is, you say the two posts are "gleeful" about the idea of either Sharon or Natasha being the woman depicted, yet upon checking your sources, both articles simply posit the question of the character's identity with Sharon and Natasha as choices.

    Newsarama: Could this be a new identity for Natasha Romanov? Sharon Carter? The Bucky from Heroes Reborn? Or a whole new player? Discuss!

    The Quarterbin: The obvious persons behind the goggles are Sharon Carter or Natasha Romanov, but I think those two are a bit on the nose for Ed Brubaker.

    Maybe you should actually do the other blog writers the justice of reading their entire piece before smacking them. of course, maybe if the other writers did a bit of research themselves, they would have found that entry from the artist's blog.

  6. Pezdro: Isn't part of the point of having a blog to have a place to rant and react to various things, such as promotional images, that inspire interest or emotion?

    Not every blogger has the personal connections to feel comfortable asking an artist about it, or might be aware that the artist has a public site with information available. That doesn't make their reactions any less blog-worthy. Ideally then, a helpful commenter might well provide a link to the information needed, without feeling the need to present him or herself as huffy or superior in the process. :-)

  7. Anon -- Oh, I read the whole pieces. Both were excitement pieces. The suggestions of Tasha and Sharon were put up not as awful or disappointing options, but as part of the excitement. I'd call that gleeful. I'd also call it especially irritating since my friends who didn't know Heroes Reborn trivia are getting panicky at those suggestions. Sorry you wouldn't react that way, and sorry to use a figure of speech like "smack someone" on my own blog rather than be a dick in their comments anonymously about it, but that's just the way I do things.

    Pedro -- Jeez, man. I appreciate the link but do you HAVE to word it like we're idiots for not knowin g the artist's contact info, or blog? Or the style of a new artist who is not named and doesn't have a readable signature? And the post of Brevoort's is MEANT to incite discussion like this. That's why he didn't give the name of the artist or the character with the sketch.

    I know you're not trying to be an asshole, but this just comes off as dumping on me when I'm having a really shitty week.

  8. That is a pretty sweet picture. I've never heard of this Albuquerque guy, but I'll have to keep an eye on him. I agree that it would suck big time if they demoted Natasha to sidekick-status; she's one of my favorite characters in the Marvel universe, male or female. I like her haircut as drawn by Cho in Mighty Avengers vol. 1 - I know, I'm a TPB reader and thus behind the power curve. Anyway, I don't know anything about Rikki Barnes, but she looks pretty cool so I'll have to check this out.

  9. I never read Heroes Reborn, but the idea of it being that character seems plausible. If you look at Brubaker's X-Men run he actually seems to have kind of a fondness for the nineties and it wouldn't be the first time he'd tried to revive a nineties concept with some untapped promise and tried to rehabilitate it (bringing back the Third Summers Brother plotline in Uncanny is what I'm referring to, but he did something similar in Catwoman by implicitly bringing back the prostitution backstory along with Maggie Kyle and Holly, though that was a late-eighties concept). Also, Marvel in general has been on a pretty clear kick of bringing back nineties concepts for a little while now (X-Men: Legacy draws heavily from the nineties, they brought back Onslaught in a miniseries I think, the new X-Force is largely a nineties revival and Peter David's doing an X-Factor book with three of the same characters he used in the nineties) those are all in the X-Office, but there may be a few I'm missing (maybe the renewed push for the Punisher and Ghost Rider counts).

  10. Goggles strictly a 90s thing? Especially the ones in that picture? Totally scream 30s-40s to me.
    Sure, some of the belts & pockets & pouches outfits of the 90s used retro goggles, but not enough (for me) to re-assign them as era-identifying characteristics from one period to the other.

  11. I don't know, Dude - Goggles are a Steampunk thing, too. And not only is Steampunk alive and well, it's a hell of a lot more popular than it was two years ago, for some reason.

  12. Threadjacking: I'm guessing you've seen the Green Lantern fan-trailer. But in case you haven't I thought I'd pass on the link.