With the Secret Empire empire now in the rearview mirror, Marvel Legacy marks a new era for Captain America. Gone is the controversial subplot of a Hydra-corrupted Steve Rogers, and in place a return to the Sentinel of Liberty protecting civilians and fighting terrorist threats — instead of causing them.
Captain America #695 from Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, Matthew Wilson and Joe Caramagna definitely takes a back-to-basics approach to a Cap story, which some fans will welcome with open arms after the last year and a half of storytelling. One immediate takeaway from the first several pages is a return of Cap’s more traditional suit. The comics had recently trended towards the look of Captain America after the Marvel Cinematic Universe films, with a more military-styled helmet, boots and utility belt. What Waid, Samnee, Wilson and Caramagna deliver in Captain America #695 is reminiscent of their stellar runs on Daredevil and Black Widow, and that’s a good thing. The creative team has a knack for getting to the core of a character and delivering the goods.
One clever storytelling trick was crafting the introductory pages as if they took place in present day, when the truth is they were in the past. You can’t fault a reader for assuming what they were reading was current, especially when bystanders react in fear at the sight of Captain America. Our hero hits the road to find himself after his image has been tarnished, and one way to pull at the nostalgia strings is an annual celebration in Cap’s honor. Again, Waid and Samnee use the party to remind not only Cap, but also readers, what makes people of all ages look up to the icon.
Wilson is a pro at adapting his colors based on the respective project. For Captain America, he teams with Samnee’s pencil work to deliver a subtle palette that doesn’t overpower the final product. Samnee’s versatility is on display when you see how easily he moves back and forth from young wide-eyed children to menacing members of the Rampart terrorist group. Even his Steve Rogers is illustrated as if he stepped right out of a modeling catalog. One underrated aspect that can spice up a Captain America comic is a number of cool shield visuals. There are plenty of panels and pages that feature the shield ricocheting off walls, deflecting gunfire, and pounding on bad guys’ faces. Each scene is joined by stellar, illustrative visual effects like “SPUNG” and “FWHAMM.”
Rampart may be a faceless faction at the moment, but clues are already being set up to position them for a greater conflict down the road. This is a good thing, because Captain America is at his best when inspiring others and standing up for what’s right. All these qualities are on display in Captain America #695.