dochermes (dochermes) wrote,

Rick Jones tries on a dead kid's clothes

Rick Jones tries on a dead kid's clothes

This is from THE AVENGERS# 7, back in August 1964. Script by Stan Lee, art by Jack Kirby with Chic Stone inks.

Now, Captain America had been found frozen in the ice and thawed out only a few issues earlier. What with all the brawling with Sub-Mariner and his Atlanteans, the Lava Men, the Masters of Evil and so forth, we had only been shown a few quiet moments where Cap reflected on Bucky's death. In the previous issue, he was all mopey at getting a stack of mail from people thrilled to learned he was still alive and Cap explained he now has "a hunger for revenge! On my oath as an Avenger, I shall devote my, if need be, to finding the one who caused Bucky's death! Only then will I be able to find peace."

Meanwhile, Rick Jones has gotten to be a sort of super-hero groupie. Starting off as the Hulk's sidekick, he then organized the Teen Brigade (a bunch of kids using ham radio to help the Avengers) and in general has been hanging around as a mascot. Adding to the situation is that he looks a lot like Bucky did, and he now has the idea that he can be Captain America's new partner. Cap isn't really committed to the idea but he does start training Rick (and the Teen Brigade) is hand-to-hand combat, acrobatics and stuff, mostly for something to do.

And here, Rick crosses the line. It's only been a short time since Cap was revived and he's still mourning Bucky and blaming himself. Rick admits he is snooping around in Cap's closet, finds Bucky's old costume and has the colossal nerve to put it on. Cap blows up, and frankly I think Rick deserves more of bawling-out than he gets here. I know Rick is suppose to be a shallow impulsive 16-year-old and all that, but really. It's a moment that gives the revived hero some badly needed characterization (Stan Lee said he wasn't sure a gung-ho patriotic character would go over well in the more cynical Vietnam era).

All the grieving and guilt was for nothing, in a way. According to current Marvel canon, Bucky WASN'T killed at the end of WW II, he was turned into a sort of robotocized brainwashed super-assassin called the Winter Soldier by the Soviets and in fact he took over the Captain America role himself for a while. Ah well, one of the aspects of comics I dislike is that dead characters are brought back when writers are stuck for new ideas. To me, it cheapens the significance of a character dying and adds to the increasing attitude that nothing that happens in comics really matters. Next month, there might be a reboot and we start all over again. If only.
Tags: captain america, chic stone, comics, jack kirby, silver age, stan lee, the avengers

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