“Captain America” #24 presents the “March to Axis” as writer Rick Remender brings Arnim Zola out of Dimension Z in a story drawn by the combined talents of Carlos Pacheco and Paul Renaud. The latter inks his own work while Mariano Taibo handles the inks for Pacheco. Dean White and Sonia Oback conspire on the color work and Joe Caramagna letters this Falcon-centric tale. Marvel has made no secret of the upcoming role Falcon will play, and “Captain America” #24 serves as a nice preview of what readers might be able to expect.
Although some of the element of surprise and suspension of disbelief has been defused by the announcements surrounding Captain America, Remender still packs in plenty of surprises, building on the last-page reveal from “Captain America” #23 and putting Ian hip-deep in the action. The writer even provides his artists with the ability to show readers how to properly hug Ian without impaling themselves on his spike-filled armor. Arnim Zola is cast as the main antagonist, and Remender has amplified the abilities and madness of one of Captain America’s oddest foes. Under Remender’s pen, it’s easy to see how Zola and Falcon could even face off in a Marvel Studios production. His characterization and plotting really sells the fight between the two characters, to great effect.
Renaud’s faces have more lines than Pacheco’s, but both artists build their characters around action and movement. “Captain America” #24 has plenty of strong characters with diverse body types and physical ranges. The two artists add in plenty of backgrounds and props, adding to the cinematic feel of the story. As potentially distracting as two artists could be on a pivotal comic book installment, the duo of Pacheco and Renaud fly to the other end of the spectrum. I’m unsure where delineation occurs in the color work from Oback to White or vice versa, but overall the colors in “Captain America” #24 are slick and overdone, with excessive highlights and shading washing over the characters throughout. Bold, elementary colors would be preferred, and are certainly more expected in Captain America’s adventures, but that is not the case here. Compounding the color intensity are some color inaccuracies, like Falcon’s mask shifting from white to red and back to white, his gloves going from gold to white and back. Throughout the story, during the battle, the art itself even shifts from gloves to a gauntlet on Sam’s left forearm and back again.
The final page is a massive cliffhanger can get and definitely would have left readers wondering what it really means for the future of Captain America — except for the fact that Marvel has made no secret of their plans for Cap. The announced plans and pending debuts have cooled a lot of what Remender and company put together in this issue, but the story itself is still entertaining and gripping.