Steve Rogers is back. He’s trying to restore Captain America’s good name after a Nazi Steve Rogers took over North America.
He turns up in a small town he saved from Nazi types ten years earlier in Marvel time, shortly after he emerged from his decades-long nap in a block of ice. He’s surprised to see that the Nebraska town has changed its name from Burlington to Captan America. There’s gratitude for you. And look at the big celebration.
While the rest of the US may distrust Cap, in this place he’s virtually worshipped. But it turns out the serpents have returned to Paradise.
Time for some serious shield slinging.
This is a very decent first issue from the new core creative team of writer Mark Waid, artist Chris Samnee (credited as simply ‘storytellers’ so I guess they’re co-plotting) and colourist Matthew Wilson. There’s a brief origin recap, a dynamic flashback to Cap’s visit to Burlington and a lot of Nazi-punching.
Sorry, not Nazis. The ‘N’ word seems to be verboten after the, let’s be kind, lukewarm reception Secret Empire received. You know, the one that saw Marvel bottle out of having Steve be even a Cosmic Cube-rewritten goosestepper and insist it was all a matter of duplicates and beards.
Which makes it baffling that Marvel begins the renumbered volume with this intro page business.
Just move on already, give readers a clean break and give Cap a clean break. As it happens, Waid and Samnee cleverly underplay the idea that Cap’s image needs redemption. When he explains to the townspeople that he came to their town out of uniform because he didn’t want to attract attention, no one suggests it’s actually because he’s embarrassed after recent events. He’s ridden into town not because he’s busy finding himself, or the spirit of America, but because he has a job to do.
Great. Let’s never mention Secret Empire again. If the Marvel Legacy branding is about embracing the best of the past while looking to the future, Steve shouldn’t be saddled with the memories of Secret Empire. Have him back living in New York, fighting super-villains rather than Hydra by any other colour, mingling with fun supporting characters and leading the Avengers.
Waid’s been round the Captain America block a couple of times previously and so is able to sum up his ethos in a few panels. It’s not America first.
The strong protect the weak. Nice.
As is the art of Samnee and Wilson. It’s clean, clear and refreshingly free of all the costume noodling that’s beset Cap for the last decade and a half. This is a Cap co-creator Jack Kirby would be proud of.
Samnee’s knack for drawing people who look like they’re in the here and now is refreshing, while Wilson’s autumnal palette for the 2017 sequence is delightful. Flashbacks are a mix of naturalistic and intense red tones, but context ensures there’s never confusion about when we are.
Throw in a terrific cover with unusual logo placement by Samnee and Wilson and a sweet text page by Waid and you have an enjoyable Captain America comic. It’s not a must-buy but given the excellent work the Waid/Samnee team produced on Daredevil, I wouldn’t bet against this series becoming something special.
Captain America #695 review, Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Matthew Wilson, Marvel Legacy
I've thumbed through it and look forward to reading it. One thing I did notice while flipping through is Wilson giving the colors texture as well as tone. The middle panel of the page with the Captain America billboard is especially indicative of this. Neat effect, as it summons nostalgia without being nostalgic.ReplyDelete
You’re right, Wilson justifies his reputation with every outing.Delete
The art might be exceptional but the story is still Waid. You can dress him up but he's still the same writer doing the Avengers series that cures insomnia and Champions, a modern retake on the Haney Teen Titans...ReplyDelete
I don’t know what it is with Waid’s Marvel work... I think he’s really such a DC lifer (as he pretty much admits in the text page) that he doesn’t ‘get’ Marvel. Come back to DC!Delete
Who's dressing him up, exactly?Delete
If Mark Waid and Chris Samnee can bring the magic they brought to Daredevil,we’re in for a treat.Delete
I like Cap but haven't read him since Brubaker and I loved what Waid/Samnee did for Daredevil, so I knew I was going to be in for this. And I read zero of this Empire story (my only Marvel books at the time were Wolverine and Silver Surfer) but followed along with the kerfuffle on-line.ReplyDelete
For me this issue was just a palate cleanser. Waid instantly sets up the tone of this book and we see Cap's guiding ethos of protecting the weak. We even get 'I'm here to help' a classic Superman line. You can take the writer out of DC but you can't take the DC out of the writer.
Anyways, I'm on board. See you next month!
Definitely. And I want Steve back at the drawing board!Delete
Great review Mart! If anyone can rehabilitate Cap after that Secret Empire debacle, it's Waid.ReplyDelete
Also, belatedly, I enjoyed the recent retro Superman review, keep those coming, please!
Thanks very much, do feel free to suggest a book or series for the retro treatment!Delete
I'd suggest Fantastic Four 250 from 1983 or Amazing Spider-Man 229-230 (the Nothing Can Stop the Juggernaut arc), two of my favorite comics from my formative comic reading years.Delete
Ah, I remember both these stories. HmmmmDelete
Mart, if neither of those stories is your cup of tea, might I suggest you do DC Comics Presents Superman and the Legion of Super-Heroes 43, "In Final Battle" from 1982? I remember my grandmother buying me this comic when I was a kid and reading it at her house so many times. One of my all time favorites!Delete
Now, that was the end of the Jon Ross business? Hmmm again.Delete
this was an incredible issue as fun as DD & Black Widow now that Deadly Nightshade is Nighthawk maybe she and Cap could team up an who or what is Rampart?ReplyDelete