Chain Reactions | Captain America #1

by  in Comic News Comment
Chain Reactions | <i>Captain America #1</i>

Rick Remender has the unenviable task of following Ed Brubaker on Captain America, a book that Brubaker took to new heights during his seven-year run on the character. Based on the review so far, though, it seems that Remender is not only up to the task, he’s taking Cap in a completely different direction, with a different tone and focus that most folks seem to be responding well to. Along with artists John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson, Remender has sent Cap off to Dimension Z, for some “high adventure/science fiction” fun.

“It’s a departure from the standard operating procedure of Captain America, definitely,” said Romita. “We are in a different ballgame here. This is as far away from what I expected for Cap as you can get and I’m really enjoying this.”

Here are a few reviews to let you know how different the ballgame is now, and how well the new team’s doing in their first inning:

Ryan K. Lindsay, Comic Book Resources: “Captain America #1 from Rick Remender and John Romita Jr. with Klaus Janson doesn’t so much walk away from Ed Brubaker’s defining run on the character over the past seven years as it does leap frog it. There was obviously no point in trying to ape Brubaker at his A game, so instead Remender swerves Cap back toward his pulpier roots. This issue begins a strange tale that sees the Sentinel of Liberty fight the Green Skull and get embroiled with Arnim Zola in Dimension Z.”

Alex Evans, Weekly Comic Book Review: “That this book is so different, both in the writing and in the art, from anything we’ve seen from Cap in years makes it a tremendously easy comic to like. This is signature Remender, as he delivers the beginnings of a pulpy sci-fi adventure. We’re only one issue in, and already this is feeling like Marvel worked some necromancy to have Edgar Rice Burroughs write a Captain America comic. You’ve your superpowered, ordinary mortal man surrounded by pissed off, war-mongering aliens led by a cackling, ludicrous villain and stranded in an unfamiliar, unknown alien landscape. In other words, pulp sci-fi at its best.”

Iann Robinson, CraveOnline: “This is not just weird, but weird largely just to be weird. Using this multitude of plot points, Remender has fully and quickly separated himself from Brubaker’s run by surgically slicing off the seriousness and depth of the character. I’m all for goofy, fun comic book stories, but coming so soon after Brubaker’s run, Remender would have been better served to slowly ease us into his story arc. Instead, he throws everything but the kitchen sink in at once, and it comes off as a desperate play to make Captain America his own. I won’t go so far as to say Captain America #1 is bad, but it does miss the mark.”

Matt D. Wilson, ComicsAlliance: “Romita, who has a wide oeuvre but is often associated with street-level characters such as Spider-Man, Daredevil and Kick-Ass, does terrific work capturing the otherworldly feel of Dimension Z and its monstrous denizens. But he also brings a shift in tone to the Earth-bound parts of the book, too. Where artists such as Michael Lark and Steve Epting made convincing efforts to depict Cap’s adventures realistically, even if he was fighting the most fantastical of supervillains like Arnim Zola, Romita’s work here is distinctly more comic booky. That may sound like a jab, but what I mean by that is that the reality is considerably heightened. When Captain America kicks a bad guy or jumps through a window, the impact is huge. You don’t even need a sound effect. It’s all there in the art.”

Vince Ostrowski, Multiversity Comics: “Judging the issue gets a little tougher when you consider the art by John Romita Jr. His style is divisive and, granting that, this issue will not change your mind one way or the other. He is, however, a fantastic sequential storyteller who has a wonderful sense of movement and action. As a result, he is very well suited for this book when you consider that Remender is launching Cap through a lot of very different types of conflicts and settings in relatively few pages. His style lends itself to compressed storytelling where a lot goes on, because there is less of a prolonged focus on the details in the art. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment, well, unfortunately it kind of is one.”

David Pepose, Newsarama: “Ed Brubaker’s Captain America was a slow burn, an espionage thriller, a thinking man’s game. Rick Remender isn’t playing. He’s blown up the dam, he’s cranked things up to 11; he’s injected a ton of ambition and thrills and pure pulp into the veins of Steve Rogers, Super Soldier. Whether its defining the man behind the shield or giving him some serious stunts to pull off (seriously, that last-page cliffhanger made me literally hoot in excitement), this comic is definitely going to be the selling point of Marvel NOW! Definitely pick this one up.”

Jay Mattson, The Endless Reel: “Rick Remender has a lot of ideas for Captain America. In one issue, he’s taken Steve Rogers out of the gritty darkness of the spy game, thrown readers some integral and telling character history, and introduced a whole new chapter in the Captain’s life. He’s stuck in an alternate dimension that’s populated by Arnim Zola’s mutated creatures and he’s got no way to get back home. John Romita Jr’s pencilling gets mixed reviews, usually, but here, it’s spot on and works perfectly with Remender’s more cheeky style. I’ve never read Captain America on a regular basis. Captain America #1 by Rick Remender is going to change that.”