By now you already know about the return of the original Captain America, Steve Rogers, after his death at the hands of an agent of The Red Skull back in 2007. Announced just yesterday in a media blitz that had comics fans everywhere saying "I told you so," the end of Rogers' long hiatus (in comics time, at least) was the news everyone was waiting to hear about since, well... the news of his death.
"Captain America" writer Ed Brubaker, who scripted the character's death and will also be scripting the five-issue "Reborn" series featuring Rogers' return, has already gone on record saying the gone-and-back strategy was planned from the very start. So, while response to Rogers' return has been mixed (with many of the most vocal critics of his death now equally critical about his return), the most important question coming out of the media frenzy could be the simplest: why did he have to die in the first place?
"A lot of times it was impossible to talk about what Steve Rogers meant in the book while he was in the book," Brubaker told MTV News. "He just draws so much attention to himself."
The writer of the solo "Captain America" series since it was relaunched back in 2005, Brubaker has become Marvel's go-to guy for everything related to the star-spangled Avenger -- and for good reason. Along with being credited for the character's return to relevance in the comics universe, the writer has managed to make "Captain America" one of the publisher's best-selling titles in recent years despite the absence of the series' main character. (DC recently kicked off their attempt at a similar feat with various Batman titles after the "death" of Bruce Wayne.)
Nevertheless, Brubaker reiterated that plans have always been in the works to bring Steve Rogers back, even with the success of the series in his absence.
"There was never any thought on my side that we wouldn't bring him back, so it's not like there was ever a fight about it," said Brubaker. "I only killed him with the intention of bringing him back."
As for how the character will make his return to the comics world, this week's 600th issue of "Captain America" offers the first hint that he'll be back, and the July 1 release of "Captain America: Reborn" will feature the full-on return to action for the iconic hero.
"Part of what 'Reborn' is about is examining Steve Rogers' life, with two or three plot lines that intertwine," explained Brubaker. "We've got the modern story where the heroes are trying to bring him back, and then we've got a couple of other strands of stories, so we see a lot of stuff about Steve Rogers and why he is Captain America."
And while all of that might sound like old hat to comics fans, Brubaker promises that he'll still have some surprises left for readers -- and they're a far cry from what everyone's been talking about on comic book message boards and fan sites.
"Just because we're bringing back Steve, don't think you know everything we're going to do," said Brubaker. "I wouldn't have 'Captain America: Reborn' be this big of a deal and not have some tricks up my sleeve."
"Captain America: Reborn" hits shelves July 1 and features a story by Ed Brubaker and art by Bryan Hitch.
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