Five stages of lame: Captain America gets short shrift

Posted: May 07, 2007

The reason to pick up "Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America" No. 2, is for the spot-on portrayal of Spidey.

To recap the premise of the series, each issue will have a hero or group of heroes going through one of the "five stages of grief" in the aftermath of the death of the beloved icon.

This issue has both teams of Avengers representing "Anger." Or at least that's what the promo says.

Inside the issue are more than 10 characters, and only two, Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel, seem to be exuding any anger.

Mainly what we get is a pointless battle, a poker game, and some truly silly dialogue and unfunny attempts at humor.

If you have never heard of Captain America, this issue will not help you understand what a huge, tragic loss to the Marvel Universe his demise is.

That's because the heroes inside - again, apart from Spider-Man and Ms. Marvel - don't really reveal why, either through their words or actions, Steve Rogers was a special man.

And that makes me angry.

Hot as a "Pistol"

One person who doesn't have a problem expressing his anger over Captain America's death is "Pistolfist" creator J.S. Earls.

"It's definitely temporary and it's definitely a stunt," Earls said. "They have a Captain America movie in the works, for crying out loud! You know they want to cross-promote that!"

"I was surprised, but I wasn't," he continued. "To Marvel, Captain America is a safe character to kill. By and large, they don't seem to respect the character. In their opinion, he's too outdated and idealistic. I question whether they truly respect what he stands for.

"There is a disconnect between Marvel's bigwigs and Middle America," Earls said. "They've bought into the anti-American hype - and in some ways help spread it.

"Most of America's soldiers do wonderful things throughout the world. They are almost always the first ones to help out when crises occur around the globe. That's what Captain America was. A brave, selfless, and true American soldier.

"However, Marvel doesn't seem to get that. Comics have too many self-serving antiheroes these days instead of selfless heroes, and Marvel just killed a good one - for hype and money."

Liv Tyler is Betty Ross

According to the Hollywood Reporter, Liv Tyler (Arwen in the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy) will play Betty Ross in Marvel Studios' upcoming film, "The Incredible Hulk." (The film is not a sequel to the 2003 Ang Lee "Hulk," but a new take on the character.)

Ross is a fellow scientist and ally of Bruce Banner, who will be played this time by Edward Norton ("Fight Club"). Reportedly, the movie opens with Banner and Ross estranged, until the Hulk's rampages and Banner's attempts to find a cure sweep her back into his life. Shooting is scheduled to start this summer in Toronto.

'Spider-Man 3' a record

With a $250-million budget, a record number (4,252) of theaters showing a reported 10,000 prints of the film nationwide and a predecessor that set numerous box-office records, "Spider-Man 3" would likely have been viewed as a disappointment with anything short of a record-breaking opening weekend.

Consider those gargantuan expectations met.

The film kicked off by breaking the all-time opening day, single day, and Friday box-office records with $59 million and finished with a whopping, record-breaking domestic total of $148 million for the weekend. ("Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest" had previously held those records with a $55.8-million opening day and $135.6-million opening weekend.)

The impressive start (add in $227 million so far from foreign markets) makes a fourth film a virtual certainty. *

E-mail comicsguy@phillynews.com

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