Over the past year or two, Marvel has made a solid effort to revisit classic Marvel events, but with a new twist, point of view, characters or complete interpretation. "Spider-Man & the Secret Wars" and "Avengers & the Infinity Gauntlet" are two of the titles that preceded this one, and both titles made creative alterations to the source material.
This series spins the wayback machine to 1978, retelling the "Korvac Saga" with a different cast, substituting in Spider-Man, but leaving out Hawkeye and Hercules (among others). Many of the important components are still in place: the Avengers are there, Michael Korvac is there, and the Guardians of the Galaxy show up, too. McCool chooses to dial in on Cap and to play up Cap's relative disconnectivity from the strange new world he finds himself in.
McCool's Cap is filled with bluster and frustration, his confidence and assertiveness comes across as a man who is pig-headed and stubborn. Cap is still a hero, a soldier, and a fighter, but in this comic he comes across as desperate, something I just don't associate with Cap. To younger readers that desperation might track as meanness. Good thing Spider-Man and the Beast are around to lighten the tone a bit. McCool has assembled a fun Avengers team, and I do hope he gives them a little more panel time in the remaining issues.
Rousseau's art is perfect for all ages reads. It's cartoony but detailed, complete yet open, classic but modern. It shares vibrancy with the Avengers characters on the current cartoon while remaining distant enough to appear timeless. Rousseau's work could easily be from the original telling of this story or from another retelling a decade away.
The story is decompressed, but in the gap where a story moving forward would be is a solid revisitation of Captain America's history. In choosing to run with that, McCool makes this Captain America's book. The Avengers help define the world around Cap, but they're not Cap's sole purpose or inspiration.
It is nice to go to a comic shop and have these reimaginings of classics available. It is the stories like the "Korvac Saga" that that older readers fondly remember and, therefore, might chose to share with younger readers, especially in this miniseries format. This is a fine addition to the all ages reads that Marvel has done a fabulous job of producing. It's a crying shame, however, that the House of Ideas doesn't seem to have any ideas about how to make the all ages line appeal to a wider audience. After all, there's a whole new generation of Captain America fans that will be slinging garbage can lids around as makeshift shields next summer. Marvel has to get this book into their hands.