With “Captain America” #606, Butch Guice takes over as the regular artist of the book, a move that’s been a long time coming. He’s been working on the book and character for a while now, inking during the Steve Epting/Mike Perkins era, providing pencils for the odd issues, and, most recently, inking/finishing Bryan Hitch’s art in “Captain America: Reborn.” He kicks things off in grand style in this issue, delivering dynamic layouts and movements in a similar style to Epting and Perkins with elements of Steranko and Chaykin thrown in for good measure.
The first we see of Captain America and Falcon as they spring into action against the Wrecking Crew is a perfect depiction of the duo in motion: while Cap is in the center of the page, he’s clearly edging his way off the page, while the Falcon is ahead of him, only his legs visible, while the title of the comic runs down the left-hand side of the page and across in a repeating pattern. You want a sign that “The Heroic Age” has begun? This is it. It’s fun, pop comics as the duo begin to bust Wrecking Crew heads on a two-page layout that’s nothing but movement and chaos. Guice has clearly upped his game.
After the events of “Two Americas,” James has been more reckless and Sam is worried that the death of the ’50s Captain America has left him guilty and wanting to punish himself. If people were worried that Steve Rogers wouldn’t be a presence in the book, he plays a big role as he and Sam decide to talk to James about what happened and see if he’s feeling some aftereffects. It makes for a good mix of action and character work.
All the while, Baron Zemo has returned and learned that James is still alive. Throughout the issue, we see him planning a scheme to attack the new Captain America and destroy him. Brubaker handles Zemo with a strong villainous touch. He rants about how Osborn was a failure and he would have done a better job, and is absolutely efficient in his recruiting and plotting. An old school villain with ties to James is just what the book needs.
For the first time, the Nomad back-up strip doesn’t immediately clash with the main story. It could be a slightly lighter tone than the lead story, but it’s still rather serious and dark in the right places, so maybe the first installment of the new Nomad story is better. Rikki is adjusting to her new life and school with the focus here on how she’s living. She’s essentially homeless with few clothes and forced to eat at a homeless shelter. It’s not quite the typical teenage superhero story, but it doesn’t dwell too much on the negatives. Rikki makes the best of things and doesn’t complain. The twist at the end is obvious, but shows off how desperate Rikki is by accepting the help of a man she shouldn’t.
“Captain America” #606 doesn’t change too much from its usual routine, but the addition of Butch Guice to the art gives it a fresh feeling. His blending of different styles and elements make for a visually interesting and compelling comic, while Ed Brubaker’s character work is, as always, stellar on this title.