Much like Sam Wilson said himself, the new Captain America wasn’t much of a surprise. We have known the Falcon was going to take Cap’s position since July, so the cover of Captain America #25 is kind of a misnomer. However, as Rick Remender wraps up his current storyline and starts the next chapter, I was plenty surprised to see an enormous roster of Avengers gathered on the page.
I could blame Jonathan Hickman’s more introspective style on the Avengers, but I really think my shock goes back to Avengers Disassembled. Ever since Bendis destroyed them, I never thought I’d see such a gathering around a big “A” table at the historic Avengers Mansion again. I’m not saying there haven’t been double page spreads of the Avengers, it’s just that they’ve been kind of cold or battle-oriented rather than the cocktail parties we’ve seen in a bygone time. In Marvel’s quest to change with the times, the Avengers moved further away from a social club for Earth’s mightiest and more heroes on the lam through Civil War, Iron Man’s house guests as they moved into what would be called Avengers Tower, to the high-tech machinations of the current roster. Seeing everyone from Hawkeye to White Tiger in the wide shot and slowly realizing that no one was going to blow them up was refreshing, to say the least.
Also surprising was the tone of the story, which harkens a little back to the Roger Stern era as the mantle of Captain America changes hands and Steve Rogers takes a new position with the team. Leadership business handled out in the open among friends, instead of in some dark room in secrecy? Whose Avengers are these? Something about the way Steve Rogers says “Once an Avenger, always an Avenger” heals a lot of wounds since Wanda went mad and the team went underground. Not to mention some corny but loving banter from the rest of the assembled team about who ate the last pizza rolls. It’s a family affair as the Avengers, depending on how much Captain America dictates the tone of the team, gets back to their roots with a long-time hero as a new Captain America. So while there was no drama to Sam Wilson’s reveal, there was enough story and surprise to where the book might be going to keep Captain America fans happy with the changes and, hopefully, guessing on where the story will go next.
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