By Ed Brubaker (writer), Steve McNiven (penciler), Jay Leisten with Dexter Vines (inkers), Justin Ponsor (colorist), VC’s Caramagna & Cowles (letters and production)
The Story: Cap finds himself face to face with the menace that is Hydra once again. This time, however, he has a young and wholly-unexpected ally by his side: the dimension-hopping Jimmy Jupiter.
What’s Good: First thing’s first: the artwork in this issue is absolutely outstanding. This is one of those books I would happily buy even if there were no dialog whatsoever–the images of Cap, Hydra and their battle scenes are themselves worth the price of admission here. (At least they are if you’re a Cap fan, which I most decidedly am.) There are very few panels here that aren’t poster-worthy in their own right. Just fantastic work, on the part of the entire art team: the pencils are beautiful and detailed, the inking adds to, rather than distracts from, the final image, and the coloring is serviceable indeed, and does nothing to detract from the look of the page.
Brubaker’s Captain America is still very much what you would expect when picking up a Brubaker Cap book, which (at least for me) is a very good and comforting thing. Although the story itself suffers from movie tie-in syndrome (see below), Steve Rogers himself hasn’t missed a beat and has reclaimed the Captain America mantle very solidly indeed.
What’s Not So Good: While I’m not personally a fan of Jimmy Jupiter as a character, I don’t mind him as much as I mind the sudden overall shift in focus the book’s storytelling has taken. Brubaker made a name for himself by telling stories that revolved around espionage, conspiracy and subterfuge–and this book could not be further from that sort of feel. Perhaps I’m defeating my own criticism by acknowledging that yes, this book was marketed as something of a relaunch, and yes, I could always turn to Captain America & Bucky to get my fill of Secret Agent Cap, but I’m still not sold on this series. Believe me, I want to be sold on it–I’ve wanted a solo Steve Rogers as Cap series back since the day he left.
Conclusion: There’s absolutely no denying that this book is beautiful, and the story itself is well written. The new series is also a great jumping-on place for Cap neophytes who have just seen the movie, or who were put off the Cap book by Steve Rogers’ absence. Longtime Cap fans may well find less to enjoy here, however. Personally, I’m certainly not ready to write this off–especially not with art like this!–but Brubaker’s going to have to have to give me more before I commit to making this a permanent addition to my pull list.
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