Wednesday, February 11, 2009

The Death of Captain America, Pt. 2 (after some TDK)

Sorry this is late. I had a bud over and we re-viewed The Dark Knight, and what it meant for us to lose a relationship that would have gotten us married.

Oops! Maybe I should re-word that!

Two middle-aged guys were reminiscing over losing their very significant girlfriends nee fiance'-types while watching The Dark Knight.

That sounds marginally better. :D

But watching this again did help. We saw there could be a greater plan for our stories than just what we had lost. We saw that maybe it was for the best. Remember how Rachel left a note that said "Bruce, let's be friends? 'Cause this Batman thing is too weird for me. BTW, I'm marrying Harvey."?

When she gets blown to itty bitty pieces, I remarked to my bud "See, this is what happens when you cheat on the hero. You KNOW he's doing it for Gotham. You know he's in love with you, and still, you leave him for the big political guy 'cause you can't take his weirdness. She didn't see Bruce as a hero. She saw him as an emotionally damaged playboy pretending to be Batman. She didn't see him as he was NOW - a hero pretending to be a playboy!"

Now, don't get me wrong: Bruce is hurt with Rachel's death, but he can take the loss. He's already been through losing his parents to a random act of violence and seen his own evil side. Harvey? Not so much.

But what does this have to do with The Death of Captain America? Well, at first glance not a lot. Except maybe, if Steve Rogers hadn't died, we wouldn't see his friends grow up.

Death changes us. That's what this series is about. The hero is killed, and what are we going to do about it?

We wouldn't see Bucky take on his mantle, and Sharon begin questioning her superiors. We wouldn't see Tony Stark realize he can't control everything, and see he can make really bad decisions with all the right intentions. That he's too busy looking at the big picture and forgetting its the little guys - the regular agents like Sharon - who can change everything.

If Tony Stark had concerned himself more with the internal actions of SHIELD, he would've caught Faustus.

But though he's tempted to drink again, he doesn't. He swings around and - and -

Well, he begins following Steve.

He opens Steve Roger's last letter and reads his wishes about how he wants Tony to help Bucky. He starts to realize that what made Steve great is his compassion, his empathy, his understanding.

When Bucky finally becomes the new Captain America, he tries to get a rowdy crowd to listen to him - and they began throwing beer cans at him. They refuse to listen to him. They know the real Cap - how he spoke, how he led. They refuse to accept him because he's not the real deal.

And that, my geeky, "I'd rather read comics and watch movies than deal with girlfriends", crew, is just like Jesus said.

When He spoke, people listened because there was something different about Him, in His voice, His ways. They were amazed. They were knocked off their feet. Why? I think it was because he had empathy and compassion along with His humility and authority.

Matthew 7:28,29
When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law.

John 7:45,46
Finally the temple guards went back to the chief priests and Pharisees, who asked them, "Why didn't you bring him in?"

"No one ever spoke the way this man does," the guards declared.

John 18:4-6
Jesus, knowing all that was going to happen to him, went out and asked them, "Who is it you want?"

"Jesus of Nazareth," they replied.

"I am He," Jesus said. (And Judas the traitor was standing there with them.) When Jesus said, "I am He," they drew back and fell to the ground.

Furthermore, as Bucky discovered, if you do not have a great heart for people (and he doesn't, not yet anyway, with his history of being an assassin), no one will want to listen to you. You see, people need a leader who will care for them. A good shepherd will be listened to, says Jesus:

John 10:5
But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a stranger's voice."

Leadership requires compassion. Years ago, I learned a lesson that I've had to re-learn today.

People will listen to a person who cares about them. That's the criteria. It doesn't matter if you are right, factual, truthful, sincere, etc. I think those things are necessary for integrity. But if they beleive you care about them, they will listen.

Even if you have an awful plan. Even if you are stupid or misguided. Even if you will put them in grave danger.

In a media-saturated world, we hunger for someone who cares for us - the little guys.

Steve Rogers was selfless. He would die for his country. That's how he became Captain America.

And giving up your life to save others is heroic, certainly. But there is a price: you will be betrayed by those closest to you, not out of malevolence, but simply because they are unwilling to pay the same price to ride the same ride.

They will want out. They want control. They want life without danger and terror and challenges.

Sadly that life does not exist. Not here. Not now.

One of the great things Brubaker does is show how big the shoes of Captain America were. How many enemies he has and how hard it is for Bucky to be him.

He's learning.

Here's to all the men who've loved and lost, who've decided to step up and help, to those who've come back from the dead [metaphorically or not] to fight again, no matter the wounds, the loss, the mistakes of the past.

May God bless you and make His face shine upon you.


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