By: Rick Remender (Writer), John Romita Jr., Tom Palmer, Klaus Janson, Scott Hanna (Artists), Dean White (Colorist)

The Story: Captain America assaults the stronghold of Arnim Zola, as Ian is being held by the mad scientist himself.

The Review
: There is nothing more fearful than a man scorned, it seems, as the very presentation of the whole conflict shown in this newer volume of Captain America so far has been turned upside down, for the better it seems, as we get to see Captain America being much more proactive than reactive here. This kind of event and direction leads to several developments that builds on what the series had shown so far, adding to the building blocks while respecting a whole more about Steve Rogers.

Here, we see a Steve Rogers driven by a goal, an ideal, which makes him much deadlier than before, showing us just why the Sentinel of Liberty is a force not to be messed with. As Steve had been mostly out of his element during the first issues of this series, always on the defensive against monsters and various creatures sent by Zola, here we see him try to rescue Ian from his clutches. The way he handles himself and reacts to the monstrosity of what Zola has created and unleashed is pretty great; showing us the much more deranged and morbid disrespect of life the villain has, creating a larger contrast against Steve Rogers and his more respectful ways shown in the previous issues.

It is specifically the Zola family that sets a whole lot of what might be developed in the next issues, as we see just how they were affected in their own ways by Steve Rogers. One of the better ones in this issue would be Jet Black and the growing confusion and admiration she has about Captain America has he has shown her a concept that was alien to her before: mercy. The way it is presented does remind us of the older serials of the past centuries, as the warrior princess cannot help but fall in love with the honorable and strong warrior, which plays directly in the tone set by Remender for the story. The added creatures and lone wolf battle Captain America fights only reinforce this, creating some kind of homage to the past as it also creates something completely new for Steve Rogers.

It is specifically that kind of weird sci-fi feeling that makes this fun to read. There is a specific scene where we see Arnim Zola try to create a clone of Steve Rogers, forming him from a creature to a pile of goo then to a somewhat resembling facsimile of Steve Rogers. This kind of mad science, doubled by the one-man war feeling against such incredible odds gives us the feeling of an old epic, yet there is another theme at play here that does add up quite nicely to the whole story: family. With Steve wishing to save Ian from the grasp of his sadistic true father and Zola himself wanting to reform his son and to receive his love, it gives us the adopted father fighting the biological one for the future of the boy himself. The stakes are both high, yet very personal in this comic.

What could also be very high, though, is the whole art in this book. In some instances, it is brilliant, like in the first few pages of the comics, where the coloring, the style and the imagery all get together to grant us visual heaven, with the church of Zola, the fighting Steve Rogers, the flashbacks of Jet Black and all those other things, as John Romita Jr. and his team of inkers collaborate to give us some much better looking pages than in some of the weaker issues of this series. However, there is a lack of consistency, as some of the pages are much less polished than others, with the lines being a little bit weaker there and the coloring a little bit duller. Still, the good far outweigh the bad as most of the designs and details are fantastic to look at. With the works of Dean White here, how could they not? The master colorist himself makes everything look much dirtier, meaner, yet utterly polished, as he makes the atmosphere seems eerie and creepy, yet the hero seems even more formidable in contrast. All in all, the art team reaches new a new peak in this issue, one that I hope will be matched in future issues.

The Conclusion: With its sci-fi vibe, the strength of its concepts, its script and its character, this title keeps on convincing us that this new domain is a good fit for Steve Rogers. All it would need is a little more consistency with the whole art team, and this title would become an absolute must-read.

Grade: B+

Hugo Robberts Larivière