KNIGHT VS. ASSASSIN – EXPLORING THE CAPTAIN AMERICA/WOLVERINE DICHOTOMY

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Last week Marvel released an interesting book called Avengers: Endless Wartime. It’s a story about the ghosts of WWII coming back to haunt Captain America in the form of flying sentient drones born of quasi-mythical creatures. With missiles. To tell the truth though, I haven’t finished it yet. Even so, I’d recommend giving it a read. It’s really fun, and it’s in part by Warren Ellis, so you know the banter will be choice. While the writing was overall quite good, especially at capturing the essence of the different personalities that comprise the team, something was really off…

Logan and his clashes with Cap.

Honestly, I love seeing them go at it. Both are the product of experiments to produce a super soldier. Both fought in World War II. Both are heroes in their own right. But Cap has always been the poster boy for the perfect soldier – saving lives, leading from the front, making himself into a target so the other GIs can get their jobs done. It’s kind of like why Moon Knight wears a costume that’s completely white. He wants his prey to see him coming. Logan is a different sort of soldier – he stalks in the shadows, handling special operations, fighting in the mud, sneaking into high-value targets and taking care of business without anyone seeing him. In the kingdom of the allies one is the knight, and one is the assassin.

But in the past few years, Logan has changed. He’s figured out what kind of man he is, he knows the value of a good team, and his sense of honor has started to give him more options than just being a feral animal. He runs a school for God’s sake…and not just any school – one of the two major mutant schools that exist right now, and his is less focused on violence and militia training and more on actual education. I’m looking at you Mr. I-don’t-have-books-in-my-school Summers.

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But it still stands that when he’s going on missions with the Avengers, Captain America always treats him more like a weapon than a teammate. A weapon that he respects, but really someone who can take a beating and kill the things that he can’t or won’t… and usually that is the reason that Logan is on the team. I just find it odd that someone who is so egalitarian, someone who makes it a point to treat everyone with an even hand, can turn to one of his comrades and basically tell him to “go get ‘im.” He even speaks to Bruce Banner—the guy they airlift into hairy situations and drop like a bomb—with a touch more caring.

Some would say that this is just how the commander speaks to his troops in the field. But I’ve never seen him bark orders as harshly to others as he does to Logan, and it seems to come down to the main difference between the two: Logan is a killer, and Cap doesn’t look too fondly on that.

Which makes no sense at all – as Logan says, Cap fought in a war. There is no way cap didn’t kill enemy combatants while leading raids or blasting bunkers. There’s no way that Cap hasn’t ever carried a gun, or taken some limbs off with his shield. It’s wartime; you do what you have to do. But he looks down on Logan, and many times ignores his take on the situation, even when he’s right. Maybe because Logan acknowledges, or is even proud, of the things he had to do. Maybe because Logan represents the darkness that lurks inside Cap, maybe because he smells like wet dog all the time.  Either way, this guy is the one person that Captain America just plain doesn’t like.

You know, other than Arnim Zola. And the Red Skull. And pretty much every Nazi officer.

I’d love to read a comic of just Cap and Logan hashing out their differences over the course of a mission. The tension between the two is usually ramped up so high that eventually you think either “they need to get into a boxing ring and spar until one of them drops” or “for God’s sake get a room you guys.”

These are both soldiers, both dedicated to fighting evil, both wrestling with inner demons. But while Logan just has a rough attitude, Cap undercuts him every chance he gets. Like I said: It’s weird.

I guess he isn’t the complete golden boy we all thought.

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About Author

Janra Roberts

Husband, Blue Lantern of Sector 2814, holder of the coveted third degree black belt in Troll-fu (with bitchin’ flames painted on the side to make it go faster), Janra has long searched for the end to his insatiable appetite for cartoons, movies, and comic books. Alas, the only way to curb his hunger is to complain about them on the internet. If you can't get enough of him, you can listen to his radio program, Press Start to Continue (www.facebook.com/starttocontinue), where he plays video game theme remixes.

  • Strongest Mustache

    maybe its all really stemming from how cap found out wolverines secret xforce killed the child version of apocalypse? cap was pretty disgusted and pissed about that.
    but his view of wolverine has all been spiraling downward since house of m. in the beginning of house of m they pretty much brought wolverine in case they needed wanda killed. from there into new avengers was really when his distaste for wolverine seem to grow…