Letterer Joe Caramagna gives readers the first impression of Sam Wilson as Captain America in “All-New Captain America” #1. On the first page of the inaugural chapter featuring the all-new Cap, from writer Rick Remender and artist Stuart Immonen (with inks from Wade Von Grawbadger), the letterer delivers red caption boxes with white text to welcome readers into Sam Wilson’s flashback, setting up the pre-credits scene and providing a glimpse at his earliest days as a youth in Harlem. The color scheme for the boxes keeps in line with Sam’s previous heroic identity and makes a bold visual statement right away.
Immonen and colorists Marte Gracia and Eduardo Navarro follow suit, using spot colors on the grayscale memories shared with the readers. Von Grawbadger makes his presence known early and often overtop Immonen’s pencils, especially on the first page, rich with shadows. Remender presumes the reader has experience with his work on “Captain America” or at least greater comprehension of the Sentinel of Liberty’s supporting cast than fans walking out of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier.” There is no mention of the Falcon or Nomad’s past, save for the quick recap page that opens up “All-New Captain America” #1 and the obvious fact that the Falcon wings are part of Sam Wilson’s Captain America uniform.
Remender jumps right into the action, giving the readers a mild flashback to the days that shaped the core of Sam Wilson’s being. A page turn delivers a gorgeous shot of FalCap swooping into action, with Redwing by his side. Choosing action over exposition keeps the story moving, but in doing so overlooks the establishment of facts and shared history. Why is this person Captain America? Why not Nomad or someone else? Undoubtedly, Remender will investigate that in the remainder of this opening arc, but for now, the most important thing is that the new Cap is on the case to punch some Hydra goons in the face.
Part of the charm of the new takes on Captain America and Thor is looking forward to see the inevitable matchups between old foes and the “new” heroes. Remender does far more than simply allude to the concept in “All-New Captain America” #1. Remender pits Batroc the Leaper against Cap, and packs in plenty of stereotypical Batroc moments, including a chuckle-worthy insult Batroc hurls at Sam in the midst of their fight. Their fight fills six pages quite nicely; giving Remender the chance to show readers what Cap is going to be like in battle while opening the visuals up for Immonen to shine.
“All-New Captain America” #1 is filled with stunning artwork covered in mesmerizing levels of detail, afforded by Von Grawbadger’s rocksteady inkwork and Immonen’s flair for detail, storytelling and page composition. Immonen generally uses traditional panel setups for most of the issue, but when he doesn’t, those moments really pop, certain to grab readers’ attention and invite them into the deeper study of art appreciation. Gracia and Navarro finish the art with bold, strong, heroic coloring that melts into Immonen’s drawings, locked in place by Von Grawbadger’s inks. Marvel has made the right choice in matching the artistic crew with Remender’s story, as every panel in this comic book is a spectacle.
“All-New Captain America” #1 is a gorgeous looking book, but has a few hiccups where the action and dialog stream from multiple off-camera points. These moments don’t destroy enjoyment at all, but it does require a little extra care to decipher characters and location for those scenes.
Remender and crew hit the ground running (or is that the skies flying?) in “All-New Captain America” #1 and give readers a strong start for a new “Captain America” comic book. The issue ends with an eye-popping final page from Immonen that will leave readers hanging. Longtime Captain America fans will undoubtedly be impressed with the final image from Remender, Immonen, Von Grawbadger, Gracia, Navarro and Caramagna and will be clamoring for more. I know I am.