July 11, 2010

Captain America 2.0

I have to admit, this is one of those times when I'm glad that my worst fears aren't coming to pass...and I'm incredibly close to being totally wrong.

When Marvel initially announced its plans for the character years ago, I thought it was a tragic misstep. Fortunately, Ed Brubaker was able to move the character forward, moving it away from a "traditional" storytelling mode into a more Tom Clancy/espionage-oriented book. Obviously, when Steve Rogers - the "original" Captain America - made the inevitable return, it was assumed he would take up the mantle once again.

Thankfully, Brubaker makes a critical right turn, and Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #1 is a pretty good "relaunch" of a character moving away from his super-heroic origins...in fact, maybe it was Scott or Johnny Bacardi (two men who are much smarter than I am) who made this remark, but in many ways, Steve Rogers is being groomed as the new Nick Fury of the Marvel Universe.

Much of this initial issue has several callbacks to Rogers' origin as Captain America - Rogers is presented evidence that the initial formula that gave him his abilities is being sold on the international market.With that, the story kicks into gear, moving a pretty strong pace and providing some very interesting potential subplots. This isn't a big, flashy tale, but is a start of a pretty good arc. And Dale Eaglesham's arc...well, JSA's loss is Roger's gain: it still has that neo-Golden Age sheen, but demonstrates a pretty consistent level of polish.

I had begun giving up on Marvel - after all, most of its stories were large, overly dramatic, and felt too artificial in their "everything changes" mentality. Steve Rogers: Super Soldier is a pretty strong entry in Marvel's new "Heroic Age". It's not going to change the world....but it's a pretty strong comic.

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