Avengers, Black Panther, Captain America, Falcon, geoff johns, nazis, oliver coipel, Red Skull, red zone, Vision
The six-issue Avengers story Red Zone shows the Earth’s mightiest heroes confronting a creepy red mist that is killing a whole hell of a lot of American citizens. It ran from issues 65 to 70 in the Avengers series that started in 1998 under the critically acclaimed team of Kurt Busiek and George Pérez, and it was collected in a long out-of-print hardcover edition in 2010. I don’t think it’s complete without issue 64 starring Falcon.
But I just like Falcon. He flies around being awesome and has a hawk for a best friend. Animal friends are tight.
Geoff Johns’ script, with pencils by Oliver Coipel, begins at Mount Rushmore: a quintessentially American icon of national pride and a tragically misguided monument to obliterating indigenous peoples and cultures. Some evil force has chosen to maintain that tradition of murder by releasing a villianous virus in the area, and the Avengers are called in to help. Even super-soldiers need to suit up to confront the crimson contagion.
Hats off to any creative team who takes on the task of crafting a compelling story involving the Jack of Hearts character. But somehow, this tale works by delivering dramatic moments that even make a synthezoid cry as the scarlet sickness leaves a trail of innocent bodies in its wake.
The Avengers pierce the heart of the mysterious viral source, but that turns out to be just one of the pieces of the puzzle some arch-fiend has planned for them, and they inadvertently release more bad guys.
And who is behind this mysterious wave of red death? Did the word “red” give you a clue? Yes, it’s everyone’s second least-favorite Nazi scumbag who has disguised himself as the U.S. Secretary of Defense under a clever anagram of his name.
Captain America is not amused by the Skull’s newfound love for the Über-Capitalist American Way any more than Dr. Doom liked it when the Red Skull tried to take over Latveria. You know you are an especially evil scumbag when both Captain America and Dr. Doom agree you need to get your ass kicked.
Although Cap kickstarted his career by punching Hitler in the face, the Red Skull has some truly evil plans that require Avengers-style teamwork to overcome — teamwork, and a whole lot of punching. So much punching, in fact, that Black Panther ends up smashing the Skull’s stupid bony face and shattering his jaw.
Frickin’ Nazis, dude. Always trying to kill people and be mean to everyone and take over governments with their racist agendas. It’s a good thing that could never really happen in America, right? Right? Oh shit.