Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice
After an eight month wait (and several appearances in other titles), Steve Rogers returns to the land of the living. Actually, I’m not sure if he was ever really dead, what with the whole consciousness being trapped in time.
The finale features the conclusion of the inner and outer struggles of Captain America versus the Red Skull, with Rogers being inner and Bucky being outer. Then of course there’s the big climatic battle between all the good and bad guys where Rogers gets to make his heroic debut back to the world and show everyone that Steve Rogers is truly back.
Really, this issue just about writes itself, and I’m almost certain it did. There are some stupid moments from some reasonably intelligent characters that I have trouble seeing someone actually writing down. Stealing a ray gun to kill someone despite knowing it’s a growth ray instead of a death ray should cause a character to drop an intelligence level in the Marvel Encyclopedia.
Overall, I’ve found all of Reborn to be a disappointing rush to force Steve Rogers back into the Marvel Universe just in time for Siege, and it couldn’t even do that right. Siege #1 came out a few weeks prior and is just one of the books that have already featured Rogers back before Reborn ended. It’s simply another example of Marvel’s often poor editorial scheduling (another example being to stretch a five-issue miniseries into six and making it take seven months to come out).
The whole “trapped in time” thing never meshed well with the character or the circumstances of his death. The death of Captain America was just a major event. Not just with all the media attention it grabbed. It perhaps marked the end of an era even more than Avengers: Disassembled and House of M. It truly signaled the fall of the heroes and the rise of the villains to be realized in Dark Reign, all of that which Siege is supposed to correct.
Not to mention his post-death ghostly appearance in Thor #11. I’d really like to see an explanation for that.
With all that said, this issue does have one thing going for it, that being what the whole miniseries is about – the return of Steve Rogers. In merely a few panels, seeing Rogers jump into the fray, directing the Avengers and leading the fight, it’s almost like coming home. It’s as if everything were back to the way they were. Too bad the rest of the issue, or the whole miniseries for that matter, couldn’t have been as fulfilling as those few panels.
Given not just the time spent on these issues, but also the weight of the subject, you’d think Hitch and Guice would have brought their A game. Not so. There are a lot of well drawn and detailed characters, but then later on, not so much. Characters are given awkward poses in combat and come off very flat.
Particularly bad is the job done on panels. There’s no sense of flow. Panels often jump from one action to another without a good sense of flow in showing how point A got to point B. For sequential art, it needs to be more sequential.
Some panels also focus in too closely, not showing enough of what’s happening.
Maybe this is just the first time I noticed, but why are AIM agents modeling themselves after Charlie Brown? They have these yellow shirts and a repeating black diamond pattern around the front and back of the shirt. I just can’t help but picture them with Sharon Carter or Sin pulling the football away from them.
Also, what’s with the break in the A on Steve Rogers’ mask? It’s not on Bucky’s, and I don’t remember it from other appearances of Rogers outside of this book.
As for the cover, it looks nice, but it’s just another example of misleading comic covers. Most of the characters that show up on it don’t in the book. While looking at it would make you think that Marvel’s main heroes would join the fight and be there for the rebirth of Captain America, that is not the case.
Aside from some decent bits here and there, the poor flow, quality slip ups and strange oddities bring the art down to a barely average level.
I honestly can’t say I’m impressed or even moderately satisfied by the story or the art, which is unfortunate in what should be a momentous return of the true Captain America when the world needs him most.
Overall (Not an Average) 4/10