A few weeks ago, Marvel Comics announced that the comic book character Sam Wilson, otherwise known as the Falcon, would be taking over as the iconic superhero Captain America. This news has been making waves as the change would make Sam the first canon-official black Captain America.
For those like me who are constantly advocating for more diversity in comics, this seems like a major victory. And it is. Captain America is one of the most famous comic book heroes, and the character has been around for more than 50 years. Sam Wilson as a character hasn’t been around quite as long, but if anyone is deserving of the Captain America cowl and shield, it’s Sam.
I really do love Sam Wilson and the Falcon, and given my adoration of him, I should be the first in line to buy the first issue of Sam’s turn as Captain America. That, however, will not be happening. I have a lot of mixed feelings about this upcoming story arc, and it’s all because of the man writing it: Rick Remender.
Remender, who has been working on the current run of Captain America (of which Sam is apart), and who will write Sam-as-Cap’s story as well, has been making some waves of his own lately. Recently, he wrote a scene that implied Sam raped an underage girl. The panels in question showed Sam and the female character drinking wine together and then the morning after. That would be fine, except for most of the comic arc the female character, Jet, has been understood to be 14. Just prior to the scene in question she is said to have aged due to how time passes differently in the dimension they were in at the moment, but this fact was only mentioned in one (easily) overlooked panel.
Remender gave no explanation for this scene and attacked fans for making Sam into a rapist instead of acknowledging the scene might be questionable. Meanwhile, Remender’s editor at Marvel Comics, Tom Brevoort, accused fans of using rape to further an agenda and use a comic book scene to detract from the experience of actual rape victims.
Beyond the fiasco with Sam and Jet, Remender has done terrible things with story lines in not only Captain America, but also his run on the Uncanny Avengers. He unnecessarily killed Sharon Carter, Cap’s love interest at the time, and did the same to long-time characters Scarlet Witch and Rogue in the latter series. Moreover, in the Uncanny Avengers, he had a character eschew his minority status as a mutant — referring to it as the “m-word” — and when fans reacted poorly to the scene for what it represented, Remender told them to drown themselves in “hobo piss.”
This isn’t just a case of a few very vocal fans being oversensitive: sales on Remender’s run on Captain America suffered a quick and precipitous drop in just a few months after it came out. In fact, the numbers for Remender have been rather lackluster for a big-name hero like Captain America.
The point of all of this is that, frankly, I’m terrified of what Remender might do with Sam-as-Cap. I want to see Sam succeed as Captain America, but I’m not sure that Remender is up to the task. Moreover, it is possible that if Sam’s turn as Cap leads to poor sales, people are going to chalk it up to Captain America being black rather than Remender’s awful writing and characterization.
No, I will not be first in line to buy the first issue of Sam Wilson’s turn as Captain America. My refusal to support Rick Remender outweighs my love for Sam, and that’s a damn shame.
Top image via marvel.com.