Continuing off of their previous effort where Spider-Man helps New Yorkers get a job in these tough economic times, Marvel is now handling an issue that exists independent of the economy, education, or politics. That issue is suicide—specifically teen suicide. Teen suicide has been in the news in recent months as a number of students, both gay and straight, took their lives for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is bullying, depression, trouble at home, lack of friends, a combination of these three, or something else (which may not be readily apparent). So Marvel Comics put out a Captain America comic to try and put the issue out there, and perhaps get people considering suicide to look for help.
Captain America: A Little Help is an 11-page story written by psychologist Tim Ursiny and penciled by Nick Dragotta. The comic is mostly wordless but tells the tale of a teen named Zach who is dealing with some major issues. While we do not get the full story, his mother is dating a new guy who may or may not be the one. Zach also recently went through a breakup with his girlfriend and is not handling it very well. With no one around to talk to, he decides to head to the roof and jump. Luckily, Captain America provides a good distraction as a fight begins on the adjacent rooftop between him and some nondescript terrorists with giant mechs.
When Cap tries to battle one of the giant mechs his mighty shield goes flying across the street to Zach’s rooftop. At a moment’s notice, Zach flings the shield back to Captain America and assists in the victory.
In return, Zach receives a thumbs up and a new lease on life. He immediately returns inside, heads to the Yellow Pages and calls the Suicide Prevention Hotline to get some help. What struck me about this issue was the art did a wonderful job of telling the story it needed to tell. Even on the iOS version there was a story flow that gave you enough of what was going on where words were indeed unnecessary. Captain America: A Little Help is available for free on Marvel’s iOS app as well as on Marvel.com. It also appears in I Am An Avenger #5, still available for purchase in local comic shops.