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

The Story: Sharon Carter enters the stage, explaining what has happened all this time as Steve Rogers bring the fight to Arnim Zola.

The Review: Camp isn’t exactly an easy thing to do. To retrieve the nostalgic factor or to simulate it in a way that feels respectful is a hard task, as a writer need to satisfy both the readers that can remember such times without leaving those that didn’t behind. It’s a balancing act that need to be efficient in order to keep the momentum and the tone floating around at all time.

I have to say that I do not envy the task that Remender had set upon himself when writing Captain America, a character that is, without the shadow of a doubt, very campy when analyzed. A character that represents the goodness of America, a leader that has indomitable courage and will and that will never wield during fights, despite how outclassed he might be sometime. This creation of Joe Simon and Jack Kirby, a superhero, one of the genre most attached to nostalgia at times, is always attached to the past in many ways. To see Remender use him in a sci-fi setting, especially one that looks like a twisted B-movie version straight from the 70’s and 80’s, is something that is colossal in its connection to the past. It is quite something to see Remender deciding to use this kind of story to decide the future of the character, as to use the past and nostalgia to propel a character forward seems like a great challenge.

In many ways, he does succeed in no only creating a connection to past materials, most of them being unrelated to the stories featuring the Sentinel of Liberty, working with subjects that the character wasn’t associated with. One of the notable strength of this huge storyline, which is still very present here, is the sci-fi vibe that is present everywhere. With monsters, robots, big flying buildings, dimensions, time-alternance and the like, Remender plays with a lot of concepts worthy of pristine movies that would pale a bit with the audience of today. Revelling in the past in terms of narrative tropes, he brings excitation and a lot of big moments to the story as the climax of the story arrive.

Still, as much as the tone and methods of storytelling Remender use makes for an entertaining read, I’d have to say that it’s the character work that is one of the best aspect in this issue. They way he writes Jet Black, the rebellious princess that found a better philosophy, may be a bit too much in terms of clichéd archetypes, yet it cannot be said that it does not make her any less endearing as a character. With her growth reaching a certain crux, she makes for an interesting character to follow, as a lot of the story not only touch Steve and the other characters, but also her. I do sincerely hope to see her continue her development in this title.

However, while this character is fun to read, like Zola and his maniacal and evil self-sufficience and Sharon Carter with her down-to-Earth attitude, the one Remender write best is the titular character himself: Captain America. Just like many of the great writers that handled this character, he knows that despite everything that happens to him, despite how horrible an ordeal he might endure, he is the man that cannot give up. As he fights Zola, we get his point-of-view on things, how he copes with what Zola is trying to do, how he feels at the loss of Ian and how damaged he is. Even though he is mourning and in deep emotional trouble, he still gets up to do battle with Zola, to save the day. This is how Captain America should be written and Remender does wonderfully here.

However, as much as I can praise the tone, methods and character work, not everything is bright in this issue. One of the problems, not a major one but enough to bring the issue down a notch, is the artwork. Despite the numerous people here to finish the work of John Romita Jr., there are several panels that seems rushed, with some details being unfinished and some lines being rather ugly. There are several panels where the details in the background, some of them very important like the characters face, being drawn in a way that seem incomplete, as if their face did not match the character it was supposed to be representing. In other occurrences, some of the characters have too few lines and seem perhaps a bit too pretty to fit in with the rest of the script, like Sharon Carter. Still as it might be, the whole issue is not a mess, far from it, as Romita draws a superb Steve Rogers, one that is very expressive in both battle and facial traits. The action scene between Zola and Captain America is great to look at, as their poses and the pacing is done in a way that gives us just enough without becoming redundant or boring.

One area in the art which shines, like always, is the colorization. Dean White is a superstar colorist, able to bring out the best when it comes to tone and aesthetics . The metal shines, the energy crackles brilliantly, yet the dirty world and characters mesh with the rest very well, combining to form a sci-fi vibe that match the plot and script effortlessly.

The Conclusion: While there may be some minor weaknesses in terms of artwork in several places and that the overall campiness may not be for everyone, this issue works thanks to the dedication of Remender to his themes, his tone, the sci-fi vibe and the great character work.

Grade: B

Hugo Robberts Larivière

Grade

Conclusion