Marvel has taken a lot of heat in recent days for its shameless She-Thor publicity stunt, but the announcement that Sam Wilson will be the new Captain America does not deserve similar scorn. While its press release on the decision to give Falcon a chance to shine in a new role successfully articulates Rick Remender’s thought processes, it also includes further evidence of Tom Brevoort’s rhetorical buffoonery.
Superhero Hype reported July 16:
This fall, Sam Wilson flies where eagles dare, as the intrepid Falcon assumes his new role as Captain America. A new chapter begins in ‘All-New Captain America” #1 by Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen.
“This is it,” says Remender of the culmination of two years of storytelling in ‘Captain America’ and the dawning of “All-New Captain America”. “This is the fireworks factory we’re arriving at, and now everything’s going to blow up and be very pretty and exciting to look at. It leads into an evolution of Steve Rogers’ character that I had very early when I was given the job. I think that it’s important with these stories to do things that are natural and make sense and have an inherent logic to the universe, but are also constantly shifting and exciting, keeping the drama high. In order to do that it really comes down to creating new dynamics.
“I’ve been having a lot of fun writing Sam. It’s a completely different attitude. The fact that he’s not a soldier shifts things up a bit. Sam’s not going to be Steve. Steve can be very rigid. That can be kind of joyless at times, whereas Sam is absolutely not that.”
This is logical. Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers have a long history together. Iron Man fans know that Tony Stark and Rhodey have a similar dynamic. Fair-minded fans — even if they dislike the move — will admit that on many levels it makes sense for Falcon to become Captain America in the event of Steve Rogers’ death or prolonged absence. In fact, one could make a convincing argument that Anthony Mackie deserves a chance to play Captain America in the event that Chris Evans walks away from big screen Captain America role a few years down the line. Agree or disagree, there is sound logic behind what Marvel is doing.
Enter Tom Brevoort, whose track record of embarrassing behavior can fill many, many blog posts.
“While Sam shares many of Steve’s beliefs in a general sense, he’s also a very different person with a very different background,” adds editor Tom Brevoort, “He didn’t grow up in the 1930s, he’s a modern day man in touch with the problems of the 21st Century. For most of his professional life, Sam has worked as a social worker, so he’s seen the worst of urban society up close, and how crime, poverty, lack of social structure and opportunity can affect the community. So he’s got perhaps a greater focus on the plight of the common man, and perhaps a greater empathy for the underprivileged than maybe even Steve himself.
The idea that Steve Rogers — Captain America — would have less empathy for his fellow Americans than anyone who might temporarily fill his shoes is cringeworthy. To understand what Mr. Brevoort means by the “common man,” one must first view his comment within the context of his own openly-leftist politics.
Ronald Reagan may have put it best during a 1978 radio address to the American people in regards to elitists’ references to the “common man.”:
“I wonder, though, about the people in those cars, who they are, what they do, what they’re thinking about as they head for the warmth of home and family. Come to think of it I’ve met them oh, maybe not those particular individuals but still I feel I know them. Some social planners refer to them as the masses which only proves they don’t know them. I’ve been privileged to meet people all over this land in the special kind of way you meet them when you’re campaigning.They are not the masses or as the elitists would have it the common man. They’re very uncommon. Individuals each with his or her own hopes and dreams, plans and problems and the kind of quiet courage that makes this whole country run better than just about any other place on earth.”
A character like Steve Rogers, who would have experienced the horrors of Nazi Germany up close and personal — who would have lived in a time when black men had significantly less rights than they do in 2014 — would certainly empathize with any grouping that racial bean counters or “social justice warriors” could come up with. A man like Steve Rogers, who we’re told has gone to all corners of the earth to fight tyranny and injustice and pure evil — heck, all corners of the universe — would most-certainly have empathy for all Americans that is equal to or greater than the man who borrows his shield.
Steve Rogers, however, has one thing that he can’t overcome in the mind of Tom Brevoort: he is a blonde-haired blue-eyed white man. It doesn’t matter if he’s fought for freedom and liberty all around the globe, or traveled the stars to save the entire planet — his empathy for the “common man” is always up for debate. In Mr. Brevoort’s world, a social worker in 2014 probably has more empathy for how “social structure” affects a community than the soldier who saw the death and destruction caused by the “social structure” that created Nazi Germany.
Marvel fans can be proud of the fact that Sam Wilson will officially be Captain America for an extended period of time, but they should shake their heads in disappointment that a guy like Tom Brevoort represents the company.