I’m reading the Captain America: Death of the Red Skull TPB, on issue 299, and it’s pretty awesome. Why?
As the Red Skull makes clear time and again with his derisive comments, Steve is friends with a lot of different people.
We have, of course, Sam Wilson, who was the first Marvel African-American superhero (but not the first black hero). He’s a long time partner of Cap (it was called Captain America & the Falcon for a long time), he recently ran for local government, although he lost, and he’s a social worker. Pretty awesome.
We have Bernadette “Bernie” Rosenthal, who is Jewish. She’s Steve’s fiancee, a glassblower and ceramics teacher, will later go on to become a lawyer and represent Bucky Barnes in court, and loves trashy action movies and WWE. Pretty awesome.
We have Arnie Roth, who is gay. Steve’s oldest friend from childhood, he’s aged whereas Steve hasn’t. He’s fat and balding with a terrible combover. Steve will one day ask him to run the store beneath Steve’s secret future headquarters. He’s dealt with grief and pain, the loss of his partner, the suffering at the hands of Cap’s enemies, but he still goes on. Pretty awesome.
We have Dave Cox, who is disabled. He fought in the Vietnam war, where he lost his right arm, and became a staunch anti-war advocate and pacifist. Even when mind-controlled, he refused to kill. He has a lovely wife and toddler son, is a confidant of Steve’s and a friend of Sharon’s, whom he misses. And although I’m unsure of his fate, I hope he pulls through, comes out of his coma. Pretty awesome.
Then there’s Jack Monroe, who I know much less about and sort of breaks the pattern. Youth one may say, since the young aren’t taken seriously. Youth is what the Red Skull suggests. But Steve still believes in him, even if Jack frustrates him with his inexperience, rashness, and problematic views.
Anyway, look at that. Steve’s got all sorts of different friends, and they all have lives and hopes and dreams. It’s really awesome. The Red Skull mocks all that, but Steve believes in his friends. He knows what they are capable of. He knows that they are awesome.
It’s so great.