Roger Stern knows a thing or two about writing Captain America. So it only makes sense to have him write a Captain America or two. Well, maybe five. After all, what's better than taking a handful of disparate characters (or similar characters from disparate times/places) and tossing them together into a story? That's the recipe here, and it has some promise.
With Bucky Cap on the cover, I'd say it's pretty obvious that he's in this issue. As a matter of fact, Stern uses Bucky Cap as his gateway character for the reader to join alongside this adventure. Taking it a few steps farther, Stern mixes in a World War II era Steve Rogers from a time just before the United States entered the war effort. Two Caps isn't enough to merit the use of the word "corps" in this series' title, so a handful of star-spangled heroes is rounded out with American Dream (from the MC2 initiative many years back), U.S. Agent (from shortly after John Walker stepped out of the Captain America suit), and Commander A (from the far-flung future.
The Contemplator, one of the Elders of the Universe, decides to solve the mystery his own way: by stealing some star-spangled Avengers of his own from their timelines. He believes that this is the way to fix the problems of the missing Caps. Fight fire with fire, right? Seems like a pretty unbalanced line of thought to me. This is comic books, however, so some liberties are certainly to be expected.
It is not a mind-blowing concept, nor is the delivery especially astonishing, but it has potential. Stern uses a nice chunk of this issue to set up the concept and introduce the "Corps," but he doesn't stop there. He takes the Corps out of their element and gives them a chance to work together.
Briones' art is good, filled with shading and detail, but many of his characters seem to be cut from the same cloth. As such, variations, like Commander A being the tallest of the lot, seem really extreme. Of course, given that this is the first I've seen of Commander A, he just might be extremely tall. Still, Contemplator has the same jawline as Commander A. Given that there are only a handful of "featured" characters, I'd like to see a little more variation, subtle or otherwise.
This is one of the thickest books I've read in quite some time. I had to count the pages to make sure it was a standard-sized comic. Sure enough, it's a twenty-two page tale written by one of the legends of the industry. It's a Cap story for every Captain America fan, even if every Cap fan doesn't like all of the variations on the theme represented by these characters. You'll get your money's worth on this one.