Even a superhero has to suffer death.
After 66 years of battling villains, Captain America is dead.
In the drizzling rain at Arlington National Cemetery, thousands of grieving patriots solemnly watch as the pall bearers — Iron Man, the Black Panther, Ben Grimm and Ms. Marvel — carry a casket draped with an American flag.
In this undated graphic released by Marvel Entertainment, Inc.,, six of his fellow Superheroes carry the casket bearing the remains of Marvel comic book character Captain America.
The latest issue of Marvel Comics, due on newsstands the morning after July 4, US Independence Day, will see Captain America felled by an assassin’s bullet on the steps of a New York federal courthouse.
Captain America was headed to court after refusing to sign the government’s Superhero Registration Act, a move that would have revealed his true identity. A sniper who fired from a rooftop was captured as police and Captain America’s military escort were left to cope with chaos in the streets.
But the sniper didn’t act alone, and didn’t even fire the shot that killed the captain.
With the story line so relevant to present-day politics, and the timing of the latest issue so precise, it’s hard not to think the whole thing is one big slam on the Bush government.
“Part of it grew out of the fact that we are a country that’s at war, we are being perceived differently in the world,” writer Jeph Loeb said. “He wears the flag and he is assassinated — it’s impossible not to have it at least be a metaphor for the complications of present day.”
But Loeb says he was working with more personal material: the death of his 17-year-old son from cancer.
“So many people have lost their sons and daughters over the years, for the greater good or to cancer or other horrible things,” said Loeb, an executive producer for NBC’s “Heroes.” “I wanted this to be something people would identify with.”
In the final frames of the book, the Falcon delivers a eulogy asking superheroes old and young to stand up and honor Captain America.
Captain America, whose secret identity was Steve Rogers, was an early member of the pantheon of comic book heroes that began with Superman in the 1930s.
He landed on newsstands in March 1941, nine months before Pearl Harbor — delivering a punch to Hitler on the cover of his first issue, a sock-in-the-jaw reminder that there was a war on and the United States was not involved.
Since then, Marvel Entertainment Inc., has sold more than 200 million copies of Captain America magazine in 75 countries.
In the most recent story line, he became involved in a superhero “civil war,” taking up sides against Iron Man in the registration controversy, climaxed by his arrest and assassination.