Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice
Hope everyone had a happy 4th of July weekend. Marvel, of course, celebrated with its most prominent patriot Steve Rogers and friends.
For the most part, you can start this book fresh. The issue basically opens out with a recap, from Steve Rogers, the WWII hero, to Steve Rogers being shot and Bucky later taking over. Then we get some time with Cap supporting characters and friends like Sharon Carter, Falcon and Hank Pym while Bucky and Black Widow are off on the race to save Steve Rogers. If you shied away because of the direction Captain America went after Bucky Cap and have been waiting for Steve to return, you can start here and won’t really be lost.
A plus for those anti-Bucky fans, there are some Steve Cap scenes to make you happy. They’re all pretty much during WWII, aside from a recap of the famous shooting, but the best ones are toward the end and should make anyone excited for the rest of the book with more promise of Cap.
I find the weakness in the story to be the actual explanation with Cap’s current condition and how to bring him back. Without giving too much away, it involves time and seems mostly to serve as a narrative tool for revisiting important moments for Steve, in addition to the whole bringing him back.
It seems too convenient, suddenly being able to bring back Cap. Admittedly, I don’t really know much of a way to bring back someone from a straight up shooting without it seeming cheesy and unrealistic, something Brubaker usually does a good job avoiding. It seems he may have hit a wall with this one though. In comics, death is never final, yet it’s usually a bit harder to make up a good excuse for coming back to life when there is an actual body that is riddled with gun shots and very much dead.
Speaking of Cap’s body, unless they bring it up and explain it, Cap’s body is still at the bottom of the Arctic Ocean under Namor’s protection from back during Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #5. Thor even talked to Cap’s spirit in Thor #11. Cap is genuinely dead, and this issue feels like it’s trying to sidestep all the proof of that by throwing in time manipulation. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, messing with time is rarely a good thing, even rarely a good storytelling element.
Not to mention it still feels fairly soon after Cap’s death to bring him back. Cap died in 2007. Bucky assumed the mantle a little over a year ago. It seems like Bucky is just getting used to the role right as Marvel decides to bring Steve Rogers back. This may not feel like a downside to those Bucky haters out there. Still, it almost feels like a waste of time spent developing Bucky when there’s still plenty of progress he could do, just to revive Cap now.
Another issue is what seems like Sharon Carter’s moment of super strength, breaking out of metal restraints and wrecking stuff. Last I checked, she’s a normal human. Sure, one with S.H.I.E.L.D. training, but still relatively normal strength wise. I guess they just don’t make super-villainy tech like they used to.
Given, this is only the first issue in a five-part miniseries. The things that don’t make sense now may be explained in further issues. Still, that doesn’t keep them from not making sense and seeming out of place given the environment Brubaker has been setting up with his Captain America run.
The art is pretty good. Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice divide up penciling and inking respectively. They manage to keep the somewhat dark and realistic gritty look that the Captain America proper book has maintained, yet still looking different. Hitch himself is no stranger to drawing a gritty Captain America, having drawn Ultimate Cap for The Ultimates and The Ultimates 2.
Everything is pretty well done, from the characters to the backgrounds. I don’t know why Hitch and Guice have a Captain America mech drawn into Hank Pym’s lab, but it looks decent. A lab of the Red Skull also has a circular floor pattern that brings to mind Cap’s shield.
The only issue is that some of the scenes look a bit sketchy, as if they could have been cleaned up a bit or slightly better detailed. This is most true about the H.A.M.M.E.R. Helicarrer and some of the scenes inside.
If you’re really dying for Steve’s Cap to be back and don’t really care about the Bucky Cap tenure, you may like this. If you’ve been actually following the events since Cap’s death and even enjoying Captain America since, you’ll probably have issues with this story staying in line. Still, the art is decent and Cap is starting to return, so it’s not all that bad.
Overall (Not an Average) 6.5/10