The last time Marvel Comics published a comic book called “Captain America” #25, it was the apparent end of both Cap and Steve Rogers. There’s a similar vibe this time around, although Steve isn’t quite as close to the grave and there’s someone else immediately available to fill Cap’s boots. The introduction of the new Captain America is the middle act of three in the final issue of this series, as Rick Remender bookends this intro with a wrap-up of his Arnim Zola arc and a brief epilogue that sets the stage for the upcoming new title. A pair of art teams headed up by Carlos Pacheco and Stuart Immonen and a trio of colorists split up the art chores, but turn in a relatively consistent look between the issue’s three chapters.
Over a white silhouetted figure on the cover, the copy boldly asks, “Who is the new Captain America?” The answer to this question hasn’t exactly been a closely held secret, if it ever was secret at all, but will remain unanswered in the course of this review. The rollout of the all-new Cap is unveiled in a somewhat fun and old-school manner: in a meeting room packed full of Earth’s mightiest heroes at Avengers Mansion.
The fun is tempered, though, as the gathering isn’t really any bigger or grander than the roster featured in many issues of Jonathan Hickman’s “Avengers” or “New Avengers.” Nonetheless, the gathering of imposing-looking heroes as laid out by the art team looks impressive, at least, although that’s about as good as this segment gets. Remender tries to do his best Bendis impersonation with a preponderance of irreverent dialogue, but instead delivers an agonizing sequence full of bad jokes and strained exchanges.
True, old fogey Steve Rogers isn’t exactly known to have much of a sense of humor, but apparently neither does anyone else on The Avengers. Seemingly endless gags about how funny the team thinks it is, who ate all the appetizers, and The Vision’s gastrointestinal issues read like little more than filler and a juvenile attempt at levity. By the time the new Cap steps forward, it’s easier to be excited that the scene is approaching its conclusion, more so than the reveal itself. As the character himself ironically states, “There’s literally no drama left in this reveal.”
Faring better is the leadoff portion of the issue, which finishes off Remender’s impressive Zola storyline and features another albeit lesser change to the status quo of the comic. The opening narrative is a nicely done farewell and tribute to a character who turns out not to be so dead after all, as the events of last issue indicated. To anyone already clued in on the big aforementioned revelation, this chapter reads like an all-too blatant attempt to throw off suspicion by momentarily putting the genie back in the bottle. It’s nonetheless the strong point of the issue, serving as a capable sendoff to the first part of Remender’s run. The artists nicely open the story with a look at the various cast members impacted by last issue’s explosive climax as the narrative proceeds, and compose a touching splash page showing a fallen hero.
The issue closes out with a short epilogue that introduces a compelling new mystery and a pair of villains that provide enough of a tease to sell readers on next month’s “All-New Captain America” #1. The darker, mysterious nature of this conclusion makes for a different visual color-wise than the rest of the comic, but the layouts and overall style still are in keeping with the previous pages. The shadowy look is fittingly different to serve as the start of an all-new chapter in the life of the all-new Cap. Overall, “Captain America” #25 is a bit of an awkward farewell, but one that at least starts off and finishes strongly enough.