3. THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA (CAPTAIN AMERICA #25-42, 2007-2008)
Death is nothing but a lame way to spend a weekend in the world of comic books. Characters seemingly die and then rise from the grave on a monthly basis, and it’s usually before their loved ones’ funeral clothes even come back from the dry cleaners. So, when Ed Brubaker killed off Captain America in 2007, fans didn’t actually believe that the star spangled Avenger would be kicking it with Saint Peter for long; however, what they didn’t anticipate was that the storyline would be nearly flawless.
Brubaker removed Captain America from his own book and somehow made an already extraordinary comic even better. By having his longtime partner, Bucky Barnes, become the new Cap, Brubaker added a level of vulnerability and self-doubt to the character that had never been seen before. Featuring battles with Iron Man, the Red Skull’s daughter, and corrupt corporations, this story was much more sophisticated and methodically paced than earlier comics. And as the sprawling plot continued to unfold, Brubaker added heaping piles of political commentary, mystery, and action to go along with the bubbling emotions.
This is widescreen comic book storytelling at its finest, and even though character deaths tend to be a bit gimmicky, The Death of Captain America is a landmark story in the genre.