You can’t keep a good captain down apparently, as Marvel returns Captain America and Captain Marvel from the dead and DC continues to reinvent their Captain Marvel as well.

Captain America
When Captain America was assassinated — killed — in Captain America #25 last March, the press was shocked and the nation mourned, but comic book readers knew it would only be a matter of time before Marvel brought Captain America back. None of us expected it to be less than a year. Marvel has announced that in Captain America #34, scheduled for release in January, a new Captain America will return … in a fashion. Unlike when DC killed and resurrected Superman in the ’90s, technically the original Captain America is dead and will stay that way, but someone else will take up the name in a revamped, “modern” costume. The Punisher briefly wore a hybrid Punisher/Captain America costume following the assassination, but he was still Frank Castle, The Punisher. This new Captain America will hopefully fill the void left in Captain America’s wake, but only if the return is
handled well.

Captain Marvel
This resurrection of the deceased hero, Captain Marvel, is done in a true comic book fashion. An alien warrior with superpowers, Captain Marvel (alien name Mar-Vell) was a member of the Avengers and in a dramatic end, died of cancer. Comic fans have hailed this passing as one of the greatest comic book deaths because unlike most dead heroes that return in one way or the other, he stayed dead. There have been flashbacks that reinvent the character like in Grey’s Anatomy writer Allan Heinberg’s Young Avengers where Mar-Vell had a son. But this new miniseries, set to be released in November, brings Captain Marvel to the modern day Marvel Universe. This was probably done in response to criticism by fans when Captain Marvel reappeared somewhat clumsily during Civil War. Despite writer Brian Reed’s assertions in a Marvel Comics press release that this “is a story about a man out of time,” it feels more like a story about a slow first quarter.

This is confusing. Marvel Comics has the character Captain Marvel, but DC Comics also has a character called Captain Marvel. So due to legal reasons, the series has to be called Shazam! This Captain Marvel is from the ’40s and one of the properties DC Comics absorbed later on, buying the character from now defunct Fawcett Comics. Billy Batson is a kid, but when he speaks the word “Shazam!”, he is transformed by a magic bolt of lighting into Captain Marvel, the world’s mightiest mortal. You may have seen him in the Cartoon Network series Justice League Unlimited. Yesterday Trials of Shazam! #9 was released. Written by Judd Winick (Exiles, Green Arrow) does what Marvel did for Captain America — he’s stuck a new person in Captain Marvel’s uniform. Freddy Freeman was Captain Marvel Jr., so it makes sense that he would one day become Sr., but this Marvel is not the Marvel. Luckily, Jeff Smith (Bone) wrote a story using the classic Captain Marvel in Shazam!: Monster Society of Evil HC, so Billy Batson is not forgotten.

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