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Another look at ESPN’s Marvel Comics-themed season preview, featuring the Miami Heat

Oct 19, 2010, 7:48 PM EST

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A little more than a week ago, ESPN and Marvel Comics announced their plans to release an NBA season preview issue of ESPN the Magazine featuring the characters and iconography of the Marvel universe. The first two images released featured Kobe Bryant and a number of other NBA stars, and this latest image, provided by ESPN, gives you a sneak preview at the Miami Heat’s spread.

Depicting LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, and Chris Bosh with Captain America’s shield is a nice departure from the “Superfriends” rhetoric that’s been thrown around thus far, which was thankfully off-limits anyway due to its D.C. affiliation. Like it or not, this it the team that will capture the American consciousness for the next eight months, so it’s only befitting that they’re shown wielding the weapon/safeguard of America’s most obvious hero.

Plus, along with donning the red, white, and blue, Capt. America always came off as more than a little self-righteous. Just a little full of himself. Fits the bill, no?

What’s odd, though, is that in Captain America, those at Marvel and ESPN have aligned the Heat with one of the more unremarkable superheroes out there. The Cap’n is a perfect physical specimen among men, but considering this preview issue shows other NBA stars as more than men, the selection of one of the more ordinary heroes (albeit one doped up on a performance-enhancing serum) to represent the Heat is an interesting one. There’s no value judgment there; maybe the national symbolism supersedes in this case. Regardless, you’ll have this gem and many more to enjoy when the full preview mag comes out this Friday.

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