If you’ve been reading “Fear Itself,” or checked CBR’s previews last week, then this issue will not be the first time you see Steve Rogers put his (yeah, I typed it – his) uniform back on. That doesn’t make this issue any less spectacular, especially for readers who were clamoring for Rogers to wield the shield once more.
It’s already been revealed in solicits and previews that Steve Rogers is attending the funeral of a comrade in this issue, and that’s where the issue opens. As with most funerals, this one brings old friends back together and allows Ed Brubaker to open up Cap’s thoughts for us to read. Brubaker delivers a reflective Steve Rogers, and it is that reflection that causes the action of this issue to cut close to the super soldier.
Clearly drawing upon subplots and character threads from the movie as well as from the long history of Cap in comics, Brubaker makes room to add in some new intrigue, some classic adventure and some dazzling shield throwing. Keeping the cast tight and recognizable to old-time readers and brand-new-with-this-issue buyers, this book packs in the espionage and then flips between eras, using the past to explain the present.
Steve McNiven magnificently draws both eras, giving this book the appearance of an instant classic. McNiven’s work is clear and crisp, keenly detailed and realistic, seemingly inviting new readers to come in and stay awhile. While the cast may be limited, the action, scenes, and backgrounds are not. McNiven plays around with the page layouts and panel styles enough to give this book a lively bounce that guides the reader quickly through for a brisk read, but invites them to come back any time to absorb any and all of the detail poured onto the page.
Captain America – to me – is always more interesting as an Avenger, when the superheroic side of the character is able to take prominence. That said, I found myself quite enjoying this story despite the high-octane espionage thriller feel that Brubaker brings to this book. For me (and other readers like me) there is a nice, throwback revelation on the final page that offers quite a bit of promise for fisticuffs and heroism to come in future issues.
In the end, this book does exactly what it is supposed to do: it makes me want to read more Captain America. I’ve been sampling the Bucky Cap book, but it never really hooked me in. This book, with Steve Rogers slinging the shield and sporting the flag-inspired togs, hooked me quickly. I’ll definitely be back for more, and I sincerely hope it is more of the mix of superheroics, character interchanges, and action thriller that this first issue gave us.