Last night, ABC television showed “Marvel’s Captain America: 75 Heroic Years.” A documentary discussing Captain America’s adventures from the early days before the United States entered World War II to the upcoming movie “Captain America: Civil War.” The special interviewed comic book and movie legends old and new about the importance of Marvel’s Red, White, and Blue Avenger. Towards the conclusion an image was shown of a new Captain America costume highlighting Steve Rogers’ return to the role.
Steve Rogers the hero who first donned the uniform of Captain America has not been the man in the mask since “Captain America” Volume 7 #25 published in December 2014. In that story Rogers relinquished the role to his longtime partner and good friend Sam Wilson aka the Falcon. The Falcon donned an all-new Captain America costume and went about his hero business as the Sentinel of Liberty in the Marvel Comics Universe. Wilson as Cap currently appears in the “Captain America: Sam Wilson” series by writer Nick Spencer and artist Daniel Acuña.
With a new movie on the horizon, Marvel is eager to get Rogers, who is played by Chris Evans onscreen, back into the role of Captain America. Launching in the spring from Spencer and artist Jesus Saiz will be “Captain America: Steve Rogers.” This series will be published at the same time as “Captain America: Sam Wilson.” Two Captain Americas will be protecting the Marvel Universe.
But Wilson will not be returning the classic round shield that Rogers has slung for seven and a half decades. Instead Rogers is getting a new shield more triangular shaped that can actually separate into different blunt objects for Cap to fight with. The new costume is a bland version of the one worn by Wilson. Begging the question why the redesign?
The original costume as designed by Cap’s creators Joe Simon and Jack Kirby has stood the test of time with only some slight tweaking over the decades either for aesthetics or to create more detail. The look is iconic. There is something just so interesting about Cap’s winged cowl with the “A” emblazoned on the front. The star on his chest and the red and white stripes surrounding his mid-section make the patriotic costume shine as a symbol of America. The red swashbuckler boots were always there to give Cap that heroic look.
While Marvel and the costumes’ designer feel they are updating the look of Cap, there is something about the hero’s legacy that gets lost with this new look. Simon and Kirby when they created Cap were very much of their time. Both worked on the hero prior to their service in World War II and the costume was contemporary for the time. After all Captain America is a superhero first and foremost he should have a heroes’ costume.
Wilson is wearing his own distinct Captain America costume there is no need for Rogers to ditch his original threads. The classic is not broken, it is not dated, and it is symbolic. It was showcased on “Marvel’s Captain America: 75 Heroic Years” where Captain America was celebrated for his patriotism. That feeling should be back in the comics.
While the return of Rogers to the role is exciting, especially since Spencer has said he will tone down his political activism from the Sam Wilson series to have Rogers tackle more timeless threats like the goons of Hydra, it would be nice if the return meant a restoration of Cap’s iconic uniform.
While other heroes have worn the costume of Captain America or worn their own versions of it, Steve Rogers is the original and should be wearing his original costume. Artists for decades have made it look cool. There is no need for an edgy modernization especially when that design is bland and pales in comparison to the iconography of Simon and Kirby’s original look.