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Avengers Fairy Tales #1

Posted: Tuesday, March 11, 2008
By: Steven M. Bari

C.B. Cebulski
Joao M. P. Lemos, Christina Strain (colors)
Marvel Comics
Editor's Note: Avengers Fairy Tales #1 arrives in stores tomorrow, March 12.

Plot: A retelling of the classic Peter Pan with Marvel's Mightiest Heroes! Avengers Assemble! Captain America as The Boy-Who-Time-Forgot! Scarlet Witch as Wendy! Thor, Iron-Man, Hawkeye and Black Panther as The Lost Boys! Klaw as Captain Hook? Meh.

Commentary: Marvel's Fairy Tales series is a great experiment in defining their line of characters while opening them up to a newer, younger audience. The series certainly falls into the group of kid-friendly comics without being an over the top fan service. Avengers Fairy Tales #1 is a wonderful re-imagining of the classic Peter Pan with stunning art, and an interesting interpretation of Marvel's American hero.

C.B. Cebulski omits a great deal from the J.M. Barrie original and focuses on the concept of time and one's maturity. As in Peter Pan, Wendy represents the mature conscience to Peter's selfish adolescence. The casting of Captain America, Steve Rogers, as this adventure-loving, egocentric, and careless child is jarring in contrast to his oft-noted qualities of valor, friendship, and truth even against the tide of popular consensus.

Yet the comparison to the reckless Peter Pan, who is nonchalant and fearlessly boastful, does open some interesting questions about Cap. Was he really dedicated to the cause of protecting America and its ideals? Or was he glory-lover hiding his ego behind the illusion of truth in a star-spangled suit? I would like to think Steve Rogers died believing honestly in the duty to defend the innocent from evil.

Cap, however, may be a little more akin to the reckless boy than we realize. Both are anachronistic, left to grow up in world not their own, thus engendering a set of characteristics dissimilar to their current world: extreme bravery, incomparable resolve, and unbending values. As inspiring as these qualities seem, they also make up the personality of megalomaniac. So, is Captain America really a boy in a man's body?

Detractors of comics have been trumpeting that horn for years, but C.B. Cebulski writes Captain America as boy who becomes a man, learning the importance of sacrifice. And it is sacrifice for those seemingly selfish qualities that separate the megalomaniac from the super-hero.

Now that if isn't a terrific lesson for children in age of malnourished, deformed shopaholic, materialist idols (i.e. Bratz), then I'm a man out of my mind.

Final Word: A new classic for young and old.



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