This post is part of the Animation Wednesday series, a regular column which looks at animated TV series and movies of the past, present and future.
Sometimes I think about doing a kind of a backwards version of Animation Wednesday, where I list terrible cartoons of the past, present and future and explain why they suck. I do a rundown of a couple of notably bad ones in the future, but generally I try to focus on stuff I like, so people who are interested in animation have some good recommendations. But for this post, I have to focus on something pretty bad to lead into something really good.
It’s a common practice. You meet someone and discover he or she reads comic books. You ask about which of the big two publishers, Marvel Comics or DC Comics, he or she prefers. If you agree, you have a lot to talk about. If you don’t, you have even more. And there’s nothing wrong with that. But the idea of one company being inherently “better” than the other, and the idea that you have to pick a side, is flawed, and when people take it too seriously, they cheat themselves out of a lot of good stuff.
So there’s a new Spider-Man in town. His name’s Miles Morales, he’s got a new costume, and he’s biracial, half-black and half-Hispanic. This is a good thing, and one that’s long overdue.
Before I go any further, here’s two important pieces of background information, to provide some context. The new Spider-Man is appearing in the Ultimate Spider-Man series, part of a smaller shared universe Marvel set up about ten years ago to provide more contemporary takes on classic characters (incidentally, it’s also where the idea to use Samuel L. Jackson came from). Earlier this summer, the Ultimate universe’s Peter Parker died in a climactic battle against Norman Osborn (don’t worry, he won). This doesn’t affect mainstream Marvel continuity (termed “Earth-616″), where the Peter Parker most people are familiar with is still having the same webslinging adventures he’s been in since 1962.
I enjoyed Captain America: The First Avenger quite a bit. I didn’t mention this in the review, but I actually saw it twice in a row, and I’d totally be willing to see it again in theaters. Since I’m still running on a patriotic high, I decided to make a list of patriotic superheroes. Although Captain America is probably the most famous star-spangled hero, he’s not the only one, or even the first. There have been a number of cool-looking, inspiring, or at the very least interesting red, white, and blue heroes over the years. So without further ado, here’s the top five patriotic superheroes who aren’t Captain America!!
5. U.S. Agent
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Secret Identity: John Walker
Ok, so the guy isn’t super different from Captain America, but bear with me. John Walker was a U.S. soldier who briefly took up the mantle of Captain America after Steve Rogers left the government. Rogers had issues with following the directives of the U.S. government, and Walker was recruited and trained to be a Cap who more willingly followed the chain of command. Walker served as a more aggressive, lethal Captain America until suffering a breakdown and being replaced by Rogers. He eventually resurfaced as U.S. Agent, a government-sanctioned superhero who served on a number of Avengers-related teams.