Some Costuming Fun In Captain America: The Winter Soldier

captain-amerca-the-winterIt might be well over a year away, but that doesn’t mean that we can’t start speculating and talking about what we do know. The last couple of weeks have revealed some new information about Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

I guess the most dramatic is that Cap has a new look. Actor Chris Evans will be sporting a new Captain America uniform that borrows most of its design and inspiration from the Steve Rogers: Super Soldier era when James “Bucky” Barnes had adopted the Captain America mantle. It’s also another neat tie between the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Ultimate Universe and Marvel proper, as Nick Fury Jr. sports this same outfit. And that character is based on Samuel L.Jackson’s portrayal of Nick Fury in The Avengers, which is based on the Ultimate Universe Nick Fury.

captain-amerca-the-winter-s

Speaking of Bucky, the Winter Soldier-ized version of the character looks to play a big role in the film. The way they have Sebastian Stan dressed up and wigged (is that even a word?) looks exactly the way the character was designed by Steve Epting and Butch Guice, right down to the cybernetic arm.

As much as I’m interested to see how Anthony Mackie looks as the Falcon, I’m more intrigued to see what Batroc the Leaper is going to look like. I think it’s awesome that UFC champ Georges St-Pierre is playing him, but his real-life no-nonsense-ness (I know that is not a word) really contrasts how cartoony the character is. I guess we’ll find out when the movie is released on April 4, 2014.

Uncanny Avengers: Thor Drinks Lattes And Brainsnatching Fun

Uncanny Avengers #1 reminds me of one of those comics that reminds me of my childhood when my brother and I would pool together all of our super hero toys and make up our own groups. Is USAgent in the Justice League? Sure. Does the Avengers consist of Iron Man, Thor, Batman, Wonder Woman and the Savage Dragon? You betcha. What writer Rick Remender did in this issue was brought together that spirit of non-traditional team ups.

The Marvel Universe is still recovering from the whole Avengers/X-Men feud, and this book sets the stage for the two team’s first real joint partnership. Captain America and Thor are really giving Havok the hard sell on how much they respect him and Charles Xavier’s legacy, and how both sides need to put them past them. And unlike his brother Cyclops, Havok sees the value in working with non-mutantkind. The three get to team up for the first time to stop a lobotomized Avalanche.

The mutual admiration doesn’t extend to Scarlet Witch and Rogue, who will not forgive Wanda for intentionally almost eradicating the mutant population. This all takes place at Professor X’s grave site, which is something he would have never wanted to see. Before they can resolve their differences, Red Skull’s forces arrive to not only take them out but take the Professor’s corpse. Red Skull needs it for some diabolical plot to exterminate the mutant race.

Remender puts this together in a really fun, only in comics way. We have an awkward team up (that is surely to improve as the series go by as they grow personally), lots of big characters and a plot that is simply ridiculous, but in a good way. All the while, he finds a way to make the dialogue work. The only thing that came across kind of odd was the scene where Cap and Thor are talking about stepping out to get something to eat with Havok, and Thor talks about how much he likes lattes. Very silly yes, but it would work. I could totally see the character get into really weird human food like that.

The art is by John Cassaday is great as usual. This is definitely a fun book and I’m sure I’ll catch up with it once it comes out in trade format.

Friday Fights #9: Bane vs. Captain America

This week we have two of the bigger stars of the comic book movies of this past summer in a battle for supremacy; can Captain America fight Bane.

The answer is a resounding yes. Bane may be super strong due to his Venom, but Cap has fought stronger. If he can deal with a rampaging Hulk, than Bane is cake. Not to mention, that Captain America is a way better fighter on his feet.

WINNER: Captain America

And I would go as far to say that Captain America would have never been defeated by Bane during the Knightfall story line. Obviously, Batman could defeat Bane. The villain’s only chance to win was his master plan of distracting him to exploit his vulnerability: Batman’s pride.

Batman didn’t ask for help and almost lost his life–and the city as a result. But Captain America is everyone’s favorite super hero for a reason and would have decided to call in favors for the betterment of everyone.

 

Who Are The Avengers Now?

Remember how last year DC Comics did a huge relaunch/re-branding with the New 52? Marvel is doing their version of it called Marvel NOW, which is a jumping on point for new readers. Thanks to this summer’s blockbuster, comic readers are still on an Avengers high.

Marvel gave us a preview of the next era of the Avengers yesterday by previewing the covers of the first three issues of the relaunched series. These covers conveniently form a triptych and show us the new team. So who are the latest characters to make up Earth’s mightiest heroes?

The obligatory big three–Captain America, Thor and Iron Man–are there, each getting their own cover. Their movie cohorts Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye (who is still wearing his film costume) are also on board.

Spider-Man and Wolverine are still part of the team, because, well they are popular. And Spider Woman and Ms. Captain Marvel still make the cut because they were such integral parts of the team during the 2000s. Falcon is there because he’s always appearing as a member.

But there are three people who are new to the team. Cannonball and Sunspot (thanks to Bleeding Cool’s astute observation) get promoted to the big leagues so to speak, leaving the New Mutants/X-Men titles they’ve been hanging around in for the last thirty years. years. But there is a third character, silhouetted in black in the bottom right corner who is a mystery.

I’m going to put my guess out; it’s Ikaris from the Eternals. He hasn’t ever really played a major role in the Marvel Universe, so it would be something new and different. Plus the insignia looks pretty close from a far. You can view a larger image here.

Marvel’s Upcoming Movie Calendar: Guardians of the Galaxy and Beyond

Marvel Studios unveiled a new slate of films for the next two years. So what does the film division of the “House of Ideas” have for us? The biggest announcement was the confirmation of a Guardians of the Galaxy film, slated to come out on August 1, 2014. For most people new to comics or just fans of the movies, the question is why should you be excited about this.

Guardians of the Galaxy first debuted in Marvel Super Heroes #18 back in 1969, a few months before Apollo 11 landed on the moon. Space travel was a big thing at the time and Arnold Drake and Gene Colan created a team of super powered aliens in the 31st century. Present day astronaut Vance Astrovik (with a name like that he really could do nothing else than be an astronaut) is rocketed into space in suspended animation and wakes up way far into the future. That must have been one hell of a nap.

Anyway, Vance teams up with some well-meaning alien warriors to stop the Badoon, a race of genocidal aliens bent on conquering the universe. Occasionally the Guardians would travel back to present day in crossovers with the Avengers and Defenders. The team is probably best known for Image Comics founder Jim Valentino’s series from the early 1990s.

Guardians of the Galaxy was rebooted a few years back, this time taking place in the present day. Long story short, it’s a collection of Marvel’s alien heroes teaming up to prevent catastrophes, whether they be cosmic natural disasters or intergalactic warfare. I would assume that the film will be of how the team gets together and has to save Earth from something awful. Maybe they even might involve Thanos, since it looks like this will be out before Avengers 2,

So who are the Guardians? Based on the concept art that Marvel revealed it looks like the team is the following:

  • Star-Lord: a human who winds up becoming an intergalactic police officer.
  • Gamora: Thanos’ adopted daughter who happens to be the most deadly woman in the Marvel Universe (think a lady version of Chuck Norris).
  • Groot: A humanoid living tree who debuted in Tales to Astonish long before the Fantastic Four.
  • Rocket Raccoon: An anthropomorphic raccoon with mastery of combat and military strategy.
  • Drax the Destroyer: A synthetic humanoid created to kill Thanos.

So yeah, it sounds like Thanos is going to be involved in this. Call it a hunch.

Anyway, this is a big gamble since it is going to be a movie featuring C and D list characters. No matter how great the film is, it’s going to be a harder sell to the public. Do you remember the last time you saw a Drax t-shirt? Me neither. I would assume they are banking on how well received the previous Marvel did. At the very least I hope I can get a stuffed Rocket Raccoon out of this.

As for the rest of the announcements:

  • Ant-Man will be directed by Edgar Wright (of Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz fame). They even showed some test footage of it, which sadly hasn’t leaked out yet. Apparently they were super-strict about the no photography/videography rule.
  • Captain America: The Winter Soldier is slated for April 4, 2014 and pretty much confirms that Bucky will be back, turned into the Soviet killing machine. It’s reported that Anthony Mackie (The Hurt Locker) is in negotiations to play the role of the Falcon, Cap’s sidekick/partner.
  • Thor: The Dark World comes out November 8, 2013. Just in time for Halloween!

X-Sanction #2-4

It’s six months later and I’ve finally gotten past issue #1 of X-Sanction. This Loeb and McGuinness pretty much sets up the whole Avengers vs. X-Men crossover this summer in a quick manner.

The whole point of X-Sanction was to set up a rift between the two camps. Cable is protecting his adopted daughter Hope–the last mutant and the future savior of mutantkind–from the Avengers. And by protecting her, I mean killing the Avengers.

Cable is under the assumption that they will kill his daughter and he won’t allow that. Loeb uses a series of flashbacks to the future where Cable finds out that the Avengers wind up possessing several weapons designed to kill mutants. Because the Avengers are awesome, Cable is nearly dead thanks to being physically beaten and the techno-organic virus wreaking havoc on his body. Hope–now controlling the Phoenix force–is able to not only save her adopted father, but completely remove the techno-organic virus, something that has not been accomplished in the disease’s twenty plus year history.

What it also accomplishes is a huge distrust between Captain America and Cyclops, which again makes this a starting point for Avengers vs. X-Men.

So should you read this?

I’m going to say its you can pass it. Don’t get me wrong, it all made sense story wise and McGuinness’ art is always great. But at the same time, this is just a feeder story for another crossover.You can skip this and start straight at Avengers vs. X-Men #1 without losing anything.

The Avengers discover Captain America

the Avengers find Captain America frozen

This was a fun picture I took a few years back of the Avengers finding Captain America. We were in the middle of probably the biggest blizzard/winters I’ve ever experienced; there was pretty much two feet of snow accumulated. Anyway, I wanted to take some pictures with my toys out in the snow.

Having recently acquired the Wasp and the mask-less Captain America, it  seemed like a fair enough idea with this picture. I really like how it turned out, but unfortunately it doesn’t really show that Cap is frozen in a block of ice!

I stuck the action figure in a bowl of water, letting it freeze him. I think I might have to do some Photoshopping on it this week…

Captain America and the Avengers Arcade Game

The X-Men weren’t the only super hero team to have an arcade game during my childhood. Earth’s mightiest heroes made their gaming debut in 1991′s Captain America and the Avengers.

The arcade game was simple. You and three of your friends (or in my case, my younger brother) could choose from Captain America, Iron Man, Hawkeye and the Vision to take on Marvel’s bad guys. Even at the time, I wondered why they would have chosen Vision over Thor.

The plot is very straightforward. You have to lead the Avengers into battle to stop the Red Skull and his army of mercenary villains from taking over the world. Some of Red Skull’s allies were logical, like Crossbones, Ultron and the Mandarin, all of whom had longstanding feuds with members of the Avengers. But you fight some odder choices like the Juggernaut, who is more appropriate for an X-Men game, and the Sentinels, who really have nothing to worry about with the Avengers.

The really cool thing about the game is the games special attacks, where other Avengers like the Wasp, Quicksilver and Wonder Man drop by to lend a helping hand.

After its debut in the arcades, Capain America and the Avengers was ported to the Super Nintendo and Sega Genesis. I think it would make a fun addition to XBOX Live or the PSN, don’t you?

X-Sanction #1

I feel kind of sorry for the X-Sanction mini-series. The creative team of Jeph Loeb and Ed McGuinness have nothing to do with it. Unfortunately for X-Sanction, it comes before and is a prequel of sorts to the upcoming Avengers vs. X-Men mega-crossover. That said, it still looks like an interesting book.

I can sum up this issue pretty quickly. Cable has been informed that Hope, the last mutant born after M-Day (the time Scarlet Witch wished all the mutants away) and his ersatz daughter, will be killed at the hands of the Avengers. Obviously, he’s not going to let that happens so our time-travelling cyborg mutant has his sights set on them. This issue has him taking out Falcon and ends with him in a position to literally pull the trigger on Captain America.

You can’t help but have that feeling that you know what is going to happen by the end of the mini series. Cable is going to do something drastic that is only going to widen the rift between two sides. I think I’m going to wait till this is in a hardcover or trade paperback format to continue reading. That’s no fault of Loeb or McGuinness; I just have too much other stuff already in the reading pile at this point.

Marvel Secret Wars Commercial!

Let’s look at a classic super hero toy commercial! This comes from 1984 and it is for Mattel’s line of Marvel Secret Wars toys! This one is for two vehicles, Doctor Doom’s Doom Roller (which looks like the gerbil ball from hell) and Captain America’s Turbo Cycle.

Those figures were pretty cool due to their simplicity and super durability. But the one thing that sticks out to me was how unenthusiastic the children are. They’re playing with some cool toys! Let alone, a Doctor Doom action figure! I bet they were too impressed by the RDI Halcyon to play with such simple toys.

12 Gifts of Christmas: Disney Store’s Marvel Selects Exclusive Avengers

If you know someone who likes the Avengers, stop by your local Disney Store. They’ve teamed up with Diamond Select Toys for an exclusive line of Marvel Select figures featuring the Avengers!

What’s so special about them? Marvel Select is a line of high end collector action figures that are super detailed. This line features four Avengers who were heavily featured in some of the recent Marvel films wearing their classic gear. They also come with really elaborate stands and backdrops. Thor can stand victoriously on a huge boulder and Captain America comes with a base and background to recreate the iconic John Cassady cover.

They hit it out of the park with the Black Widow and Hawkeye figures. Not only do they come with a base of building wreckage and a dismantled Ultron, but they come respectively with a tiny version of Ant-Man and Wasp! The detail on Wasp is amazing; she’s sitting on an arrow!

Honoring Our Armed Services On Veterans Day and Remembrance Day

DSC_0050Today in the United States we honor the men and women who have served in our armed forces through Veterans Day. Up north in Canada (and in many parts of the Commonwealth of Nations) they honor members of their armed forces who died in the line of duty with Remembrance Day.

With these brave men and women being our real world heroes, its no secret that our fictional heroes show the same level of courage, bravery and selflessness that our armed forces do every day.

That said, its no surprise that comics creators have looked to our servicemen as inspiration for the basis of several characters, going back to Captain America being a product of and serving in World War II. Some characters, like Flash Thompson, are defined by their actions in combat. He’s a paraplegic due to injuries suffered during the Iraq War, but he still wants to protect his country by volunteering to be a host of Venom. Granted they don’t bond with an alien symbiote, but many of our veterans choose to still serve our country after suffering from serious wounds.

DC has its share of proudly serving military heroes, two of which are Green Lanterns. Hal Jordan was an Air Force pilot and John Stewart was a Marines sniper. Captain Atom is always depicted as being in the Air force.

Anyway, this is enough about our fictitious military heroes. Go out and support our veterans. Vote for politicians who stand up for veterans services. When you see vets collecting for charities, donate what you can. But most of all, thank them.

It May Have Taken Me Four Months To Beat Captain America: Super Soldier But It Was Worth It

I finally beat it. Yes I did. Great pal Frank was kind enough to give me the game for my birthday and I started playing Captain America: Super Soldier in late July. So why did it take so long?

Because the game is challenging, but in a good way. Super Soldier requires a lot of skill and timing, two things that I apparently don’t have. If your going to lead Captain America to rescue Allied prisoners of war and stop Hydra’s latest nefarious plot, your going to need them.

The game is set in this summer’s film adaptation continuity with Captain America infiltrating Hydra’s Bavarian headquarters (a huge castle compound formerly occupied by Baron Zemo) to rescue Bucky, Dum Dum Dugan and the rest of the Howling Commandos Invaders. He later discovers that Arnim Zola has some sort of massive weapons project under the castle that must be stopped. Along the way you fight off hundereds of Hydra agents, Baron Von Strucker, Madame Hydra and the awesome weird Arnim Zola robot.

Storywise, the game makes a lot of sense and is executed very well. All of the cut scenes and story elements flow together, and I would give this credit to comics writer Christos Gage who plotted the game. Visually the game is awesome. There’s a definite World War II/steampunk vibe to it, which works with the Zola character being a mad scientist.

The voice acting brings the cast of the film back together, including Chris Evans as Captain America.

Like I said, the game play takes some getting used to and once you get all of the nuances down its a pretty quick and easy game. There’s definitely some replay ability to the game, whether it be unlocking alternate Captain America costumes (let me telling you, playing as the World War II style Captain America from Bryan Hitch’s The Ultimates is epic), the various challenge modes, and even collecting the various film reels that tell the story of how Red Skull wound up seizing the castle from Zemo.

I don’t see why this game got so many bad reviews. It wasn’t a groundbreaking game by any means, but it was very enjoyable. It came across like an interactive movie, due to its combined visual awesomeness and you controlling the fight scenes/sequences. I recommend it. Based on my experiences, it was certainly worth the four months I spent on and off trying to stop Madame Hydra.

Politics of Super Heroes

Today, like millions of others across the United States, I’m heading out to my local polling station for Election Day. What if super heroes could Let’s look at the political leanings of our favorite super heroes. Information about the labels used in this article are courtesy of the Pew Institute’s political typology study.

We’ll start our examination with Superman, the first super hero. Ultimately, he’s guided by what he feels is right and wrong, so I think he would be extremely moderate when it comes to the ballot. He always wants to do the right thing, so I can see him reading and making charts comparing the candidates. The main factor in his decision is if it is the right thing to do.

Batman is firmly on the conservative side of the political spectrum. His advanced interrogation techniques, warrant-less investigations and physicality would drive the ACLU nuts! Not to mention the fact that he likes spying on people for no reason (the whole Brother Eye story) and secretly collecting databases on his friends’ weaknesses (in case he ever has to, well, kill them), Batman is a firm believer in national security over personal rights. When he takes the mask off, Bruce Wayne is a billionaire industrialist, so obviously he would be pro-business. Not to mention that he inherited everything through investments, so I would imagine he’s happy with the way the capital gains taxes are as is.

Captain America is the ultimate populist hero, so like Superman, he would be a moderate independent. He would never publicly endorse a candidate. Cap feels that feels that he is the self-appointed guardian of the American dream, so he would vote against anyone who threatened that. At times he might skew a little liberal economically; he’s a product of the New Deal you know! Captain America is also a strong advocate in civil liberties, as his defense of them was a big part of the Civil War event. For more insight into his political beliefs, look no further than Captain America #250, where he mulls running for president.

If you’re looking for a super progressive/liberal type super hero, look no further than Mr. Fantastic. One of the–if not the–world’s foremost scientists, he would absolutely go nuts listening to someone argue why creationism must be included in education. In the current Future Foundation book, he’s empowered a global task force of the world’s greatest minds to fix problems before they get out of hand. He’s an advocate of being a world citizen and thinking globally.

His Fantastic Four teammate the Thing is a bit more conservative than him. Thing takes pride in being a self-made man. What would annoy a 500 pound rock monster of a man? High taxes and ridiculous government spending. You try explaining to him why his tax dollars are needed to build a bridge to nowhere!

So what would everyone’s favorite Green Lantern political type be? Obviously Hal Jordan is too busy with his super hero business and personal life to vote. I would bet money that he probably isn’t even registered to vote. Well, he was registered to vote at one point, but that was probably so he could hit on some girl who worked in the city election office. At least that’s what post Green Lantern: Reborn wants us to think.

Meanwhile, Hal’s BFF Green Arrow is a well-known super liberal super hero. He is a strong advocate for pretty much all of the traditional liberal causes (just remember the Hard Traveling Heroes stories if you don’t believe me).  If he were a real person, he would probably pal around with other progressive billionaires like George Soros and Warren Buffet.

Hawkman is Green Arrow’s longtime political counterpoint in the Justice League. This winged super hero has been portrayed as being a super conservative over the years. He proudly supports the death penalty, is socially conservative and believes that people themselves are accountable for their personal success. No soup for you unless you work for it!

I think that it is universally accepted that Professor X is a card-carrying liberal. He’s a civil rights icon and a strong advocate against discrimination. He would be the first in line to stand up for Affirmative Action.

But Charles Xavier can never run for office, and it’s not because he’s a mutant. It’s because of his immigration scandal. You know the one I’m talking about; look to the right.He brought Colossus, Storm and Nightcrawler into the country 36 years ago with student visas–and they’re still here! Plus, bringing a known criminal illegally into the country in Wolverine?

Lex Luthor seems to skew towards being a staunch conservative. I’m not saying that staunch conservatives are super villains; just look at the facts. Aside from wanting to get rid of Superman and occasional thoughts of world domination, Luthor has been one hell of a business man. The DCU is dominated by LexCorp and its various subsidiaries, and as its owner/CEO, Lex would totally support any candidate who championed less government regulation over the business and finance sectors.

So what kind of political views would the Punisher have? Anarchistic tendencies aside, its anyone’s guess. He would agree to a certain extent with libertarians that the government is too large and ineffective, and that people should have more control over their lives. That works for him; he thinks the legal system is corrupt and spends his days hunting down criminals. Plus they don’t believe in gun control, and the right to carry a concealed Uzi or M-16 is something that is near and dear to his heart. But as soon as they start saying that things like drugs and prostitution shouldn’t considered crimes anymore, you lose him.

Spider-Man’s whole “with great power comes great responsibility” mantra leads me to believe that he would be pretty mad about the country’s current financial boondoggle. Spidey would agree with the Occupy Wall Street crowd’s view that many big businesses have been abusing their financial power. He would probably skew liberal on many social issues, especially education. As a product of New York’s public schools, and later a teacher there, he sees the importance of having a well run public school system.

Iron Man’s family has made its fortune as a military contractor and through inheritance and investment. Fiscally and defense, he is very conservative. But in some ways, he’s also very liberal. The employees at Stark Enterprises are treated extremely well. He’s a big supporter of global welfare and the environment, even if it’s against his business interests. Plus, championing the Super Hero Registration Act to create a new government agency to administer super heroes nationwide only gives the federal government more power. I don’t think you can pigeonhole Tony Stark to a certain ideology.

Captain America’s Deleted Scene: Stage Show and Fun At War!

It just seems like yesterday Captain America was out in the movie theaters. To help promote its upcoming home video release, Marvel.com has put up this deleted scene from the movie. It’s neat for two reasons.

I love the juxtaposition between Cap and Bucky, showing the difference in their war efforts. Cap is up on stage at won of the war bonds, while Bucky is off with the Howling Commandos fighting Hydra in Europe. Ultimately, we all know Cap would rather be on the battlefield than embarrassing himself on stage.

The other thing I love is that its a rough cut, with all the cues for the special effects that need to be added or changed. I won’t lie; I’m a sucker for that kind of stuff.

Captain America comes out next Tuesday.

Happy 98th Birthday Joe Simon!

Did you know that yesterday was comic creator Joe Simon’s 98th birthday? This legendary writer/artist/editor is most known for the creation of Captain America with his longtime collaborator Jack Kirby, but that only scratches the surface of his career.

Here are some Joe Simon facts that you may (or may not) know about!

  1. Joe was the first head editor of Timely Comics, which evolved into what we now call Marvel Comics!
  2. Joe and Jack at one point were neighbors, living across the street from each other out on Long Island!
  3. Joe’s wife Harriet also had a career in the comics industry as well; she worked as a secretary for Al Harvey (founder of Harvey Comics)!
  4. Joe was an influential force in the development of both romance and horror comics!
You can learn more about his career and the Gold and Silver Ages of comics in the recently released Joe Simon: My Life in Comics. He will also be appearing at this weekend’s New York Comic Con.

U.S.Agent

U.S.Agent

Remember the 1990s when we had a new Batman, new Green Lantern, new Spider-Man and even a gaggle of new Supermen? The character now known as U.S.Agent was a replacement Captain America back in 1986, and eventually wound up carving his own identity once Steve Rogers took the job backU.S.Agent.

So when they released a figure of U.S.Agent as part of the recent Captain America line of action figures, I was pretty excited to get a chance to add him to the collection. It also gets me one step closer to having a set of the West Coast Avengers.

His costume is awesome, as it is a darker version of the American flag. The accessories are pretty cool. U.S.Agent comes with his most recent shield and a Uzi. After all, he’s a much tougher (and more violent) version of Cap. For picture and display sake, I swapped it out for one of the M-16 assault rifles that are so prevalent with GI Joe figures.

U.S.Agent is a brute of a guy, so I imagine him being one of my most combat-ready toys. I could really see him being air-dropped over an AIM or Hydra base, with two machine guns, a lot of ammo and maybe a Monster energy drink,.

Splash Page Saturday #8

Here’s a really cool splash page from Ron Garney’s “Captain America: Operation: Rebirth” storyline. I love the emotion of the panel, with Captain America letting Red Skull know that he’s willing to put aside his own personal code of ethics and that killing the villain is an option. Just everything about this panel works, from Cap’s attitude, to the fearful and choked expression on Red Skull’s face. Even look at Red Skull’s hands, trying in vain to get the shield off his neck.