Monday, October 05, 2015

The Many Ways Steve Rogers Is Aging, All At The Same TIme

I'm curious what the deal is with Steve Rogers these days. I know he lost his Super-Soldier Serum somehow, so he's supposed to be a 95-year old in appearance as well as age, but there's quite the variety to how he's presented.

In most of the Avengers titles, he has essentially the same build, it's just the face has a lot more lines and his hair is grey or white. But he's in his Commander Steve Rogers get-up, rocking some pretty decent muscles and getting in the middle of battles. But those are the big event books, and Steve is supposed to be leading the opposition to the Illuminati and their blow up worlds for ultimately no purpose. Maybe it undercuts that if he can't be at the forefront, directly fighting for what he believes in.

Deadpool titles have opted for a different approach. Steve's a lot scrawnier, almost like he's regressed to his state pre-serum. He's got a cane he heavily leans on, and liver spots, the hair is kind of messy, and his bones are a lot more pronounced. But of course, those are Deadpool comics, it's meant to be a gag, and it's funnier if Deadpool's hanging out with an old geezer who just so happened to be Captain America. Steve Rogers as Grandpa Simpson.

And then there's a lot of the other books, which split the difference to varying degrees. They usually give him a cane, as Pulido did in the above page from She-Hulk. But how much he leans on it varies. He seemed to not need it terribly much in that story, walked easily enough, still had more than sufficient strength to K.O. Dr. Faustus in one punch. He's got a bit of current Robert Redford to him, weathered but apparently still capable of making people swoon based on presence and how he carries himself. He showed up in the final issue of the most recent volume of Captain Marvel, as Carol read the will of her friend Tracey, and he seemed to be a lot more reliant on it. They were supposed to release her ashes on a beach (except not really, because sneaky old lady), and Steve couldn't really venture out onto the sand, because it was too unsteady for the cane. It emphasizes his frailty more, but not as a joke. Steve winds up sitting on the grass at the edge of the sand watching the younger folks play in the ocean, which could make him a stand-in for Tracy, since he's the aging friend, and I'd have to wonder how long he'd last.

You might have guessed I prefer the third type, since it makes a certain amount of sense to me that 95-year old Steve Rogers would be in decent shape, but not "leap off building and jump kick a guy off the top of a moving vehicle" condition. It still allows him to be around other heroes, but maybe in a more advisory role, supporting or encouraging. Steve Rogers is generally portrayed as a good guy, capable of being easygoing and friendly. Play up his experience and his personality, rather than his ability to do cool stuff with the shield.

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