Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Butch Guice and Luke Ross
Want to know the outcome of Captain America: Reborn before it’s even over? Well here you go.
In a huge misstep in Marvel’s often mismanaged publishing schedule, Brubaker’s epilogue to his own tale of Steve Rogers return comes out before the final issue of the story hits stands. Luckily, the recap page fills in everything about Reborn you need to know, letting this one-shot work pretty well as a stand-alone issue. This isn’t even the first appearance of Steve since his return, but one would hope the books in the same Captain America line would at least try to stick to the same schedule, especially when it’s the same freaking creative team.
So spoilers – Steve Rogers is back.
Now here comes the adjustment period. Steve is uneasily trying to settle back into his life. Bucky is trying to figure out his next step after having decided to give the shield and the name back to Steve. Both confide in their respective others (Sharon and Natasha/Black Widow), who try to comfort them through their thoughtful time. However, when dealing with superheroes, there’s only one good way to clear the head – some good ol’ late night crime fighting with some classically bad villain dialog (Pick first or third person, buddy. Only Hulk gets both).
Steve is back in the saddle, jumping around and staying in top form, even trailing a motorcycle across town on foot. Regardless of whatever feelings for Bucky anyone may have, this is Steve’s book, and it’s nice to see him come home. Still, it’s heartwarming to see Steve take so much pride in his first protégé taking over his role and have them stand shoulder to shoulder together as equals now.
As for actually settling who gets the shield, it’s done in a well-discussed fashion. Steve and Bucky both debate why the other should keep it. The conclusion reached feels like one the characters came to themselves, as opposed to any editorial or fan-mandated result.
But the issue may not answer who will wield the shield permanently. While only one walks away with it (breaking it in half doesn’t work too well), the issue’s end suggests something more may be in store for the other Captain America, which is of course followed by “To Be Continues in SIEGE!” I’m sure either way, both Caps will get their use out of the shield before the Siege is over.
Why does present day Bucky look like Ronald Reagan? Sure, Bucky may be about as old as Reagan was when he was in office, but being cytogenetically frozen by the Russians urges most artists to keep some of his boyish looks. It’s oddly disturbing when next to Natasha’s youthful appearance in her stylish ‘60s look.
Aside from that, the general look and aesthetic of the book is very nice. Most character designs are well detailed and expressive, from Steve’s pensive stare to Sharon’s concerned face to Natasha’s playful look and even Luke Cage’s grin. Proportions are generally right on, except at the end when Steve looks like a comically buff and top-heavy college quarterback in a suit with small hands and thin legs.
Dean White’s coloring is painted on very well. The brushed backgrounds in the city landscape, littered with snowflakes, are a good and artsy sight to see. The flashback in the beginning stands out with a somewhat sepia-esque tone.
Speaking of tones, the lighting effects compliment the settings. Bathing a bedroom in red light highlights the romance between the two characters within, while later the same room in dark blue shows the calm silence that the night has brought.
When we get to the two Captain Americas, they are visibly unique. Even from glancing at their colors, Steve’s cloth and denim uniform uses more subdued reds, whites and blues, making Bucky pop out with his shiny, metallic-esque star-spangled banner. Bucky’s is also smoother and tighter, as opposed to Steve’s scalemail and blue jeans. Yet standing next to each other really shows the similarities in the suits, showing that they are both Captain America, just not the same one.
If I had given Marvel a Christmas present, it would have been a planning calendar. This is a good book, both literally and artistically. Maybe a slight dialog tweak and new inspirations for character designs would help a bit. Oh, and releasing it AFTER Captain America: Reborn ended.
Overall (Not an Average) 8.5/10