* Originally posted @ World of Superheroes.com website. Archive now defunct. *
Captain America #1 (Marvel) | “American Dreamers” Part 1 | (S) Ed Brubaker | (A) Steve McNiven & Mark Morales
* Spoiler Free *
“It’s probably hard to believe…but sometimes I actually forget I’m a man out of time”
– Steve Rogers
The all-new, but not-quite-all-that-different Captain America #1 (technically Volume 6 if you don’t count Captain America Comics from 1941) is a slight return to form of sorts for the star-spangled man-out-of time, soldier of misfortune and sentinel of liberty (coincidence that all of those start with an ‘s’?).
Long-time Cap writer Ed Brubaker, who has been chronicling the adventures of Marvel’s time-displaced Boy Scout for the better part of a decade, and Steve McNiven (he of Marvel Civil War fame) bring Steve Rogers, now the undisputed Captain America again, out of the shadows and murkiness, which suited the dark intrigue of the previous volume’s tone. This volume apparently aims to be slightly brighter with a feel that is more typical of a superhero adventure comic. This back-to-basics approach is obviously deliberate considering the choice of McNiven as the penciler. He’s joined by Justin Posner (The Mighty Avengers, Young Avengers) on colors, and inker Mark Morales (Avengers: The Children’s Crusade, The Mighty Thor).
It’s an Ed Brubaker story so it still has its share of intrigue and mystery, but unlike many of his stories this one does not have that slow-burn feel as he gets straight to the plot and adventure right away in this first issue with a nice bit of action to balance things out.
The issue opens with Steve Rogers attending the funeral for a fallen comrade with some old friends, the frequent supporting cast of grizzled veterans Dum-Dum Dugan and Nick Fury, plus the lovely Sharon Carter. By the sixth and seventh pages, this battle-tested band of buddies are forced to spring into action. By page nine we get a glimpse of an old friend-turned-foe who Cap hasn’t seen since…you guessed it, 1944. After that page, cue the flashback to that bygone era of at-large Nazis, Allied Forces and superspies. These flashback scenes are vital because they set up and support the present day situation of a past mission that went awry and the backlash of that mission coming to fruition in the present and (gulp) future. The issue closes with the resurfacing (new incarnation?) of an old foe apparently in cahoots with that aforementioned new ‘old’ character who once was a friend, but certainly hasn’t had Cap on his Christmas card list since, well, a lifetime ago because he now wants to “destroy Captain America.”
This first issue of Captain America kicks the new series off really well and is a lot of fun. You don’t have to know a lot of backstory to follow along because Brubaker does a great job of feeding you exactly what you need to know without spoiling the intrigue of what looks to be a doozy of a plot for our flagged intrepid. Here’s hoping that each issue will be as balanced as this one.
Four Stars (out of five)