Monday, March 16, 2015

A Woman's Crimefighting Is Never Done

The comics story device of a girlfriend (or wife) pining away the hours while her super-hero fella is out saving the world is an old one--and during Assistant Editors' Month at Marvel, it was probably inevitable that one of those lower-tier editors left in charge would take that idea and run with it. In the case of Michael Carlin, assistant to the absent Mark Gruenwald, that run became a sprint when he arranged for Bernadette Rosenthal, girlfriend to the one and only Captain America, to give some thought one lonely night to how it might be if Steve Rogers was instead the one left behind, while she was the hero who was responsible for the pursuit of truth and justice:

Scripted by J.M. DeMatteis, the tale of "Bernie America" is a playful romp that has you looking around for Marie Severin, who's crafted her share of whimsical farce stories featuring Marvel characters. But where Severin would portray the characters as outrageous, warped caricatures in appearance, Mike Zeck, regular penciller on the book, helps to make the transition between the main story and Bernie's fantasy a seamless one, though there's no doubt where one ends and the other begins:

"MO-Skull," the merging of the Red Skull and M.O.D.O.K., is probably something I wouldn't have thought of in my wildest imaginings. Fortunately, he's not going to be around long, as Bernie quickly takes the initiative and proceeds to dispatch him. In less than dignified fashion, I might add:

The last part of the tale indeed puts the pining shoe on the other foot, as Steve Rogers becomes the one who finds he must tearfully come second to Bernie's duty as a hero--er, heroine:

Bernie's fantasy only takes up the last few pages of the Captain America issue it appears in--and though it is only a dream sequence, Carlin manages to cleverly segue to it following the regular Cap story, with Cap heading home after his adventure and determined to devote more time to his girlfriend. Bernie, of course, has been in an adventure of her own, though she finds she's happy to put the costume aside for now:

It looks like Bernie's made her peace with Steve's double life. (Though if I were Steve, I'd keep tabs on that Cap costume and shield from now on.)

COMING UP NEXT in our look at

Thanks to Mystique, the X-Men have a really bad day.

1 comment:

david_b said...

Love it.. I challenge today's Marvel to come up with a more scary, daunting villain than...


The very name makes one shudder, would be an awesome Legends custom.

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