This December, the new "Captain America," intended as being grittier and more realistic now that it's part of Marvel Comics' Marvel Knights imprint, gets a new story arc and a new artist.
"So far as 'The Extremists' goes, I'm rewriting the second half of issue 9, now," series writer John Ney Rieber told CBR News on Thursday, "Nine being 'Moments of Truth,' the third issue of the arc.
"The arc's about a couple of things. Secondarily, it's about the friendship between two warriors -- Captain America and his old brother-in-arms Lincoln Inali. Primarily, it's about the ways that a good man -- an idealist, a patriot -- can become a monster. One ugly little compromise at a time ..."
Issue 7 marks the arrival of a new artist on the Marvel Knights incarnation of "Captain America," Trevor Hairsine, best known for his work on "Judge Dredd" and "Cla$$ War," while John Cassaday works on other projects for a while.
"No doubt about it -- Cassaday is a tough act to follow.
"I feel like we're really lucky that Trevor's the one who's taking the reins. He's got a strong style of his own -- very dynamic, very sinewy. You feel the world whip past Cap as he's moving through it -- and it's a real world he's is moving through. You feel the wind, you feel the rain, you feel the impact when there's impact.
"Trevor's obsessive -- thank God. (Everyone who works on this book should be.)
"He sustains the realism that we've come to expect from the Marvel Knights Captain America -- and he does it in his own way. The people he draws are totally individuals -- Trevor's as good with expressions and close-ups as he is with action. His Steve Rogers is clearly and immediately a real person, and he's clearly and immediately Steve Rogers -- you recognize him right away.
"But you'll see for yourself ..."
"The Extremists" takes place between the post September 11th initial issue and the forthcoming "Ice" story arc, originally intended as a separate miniseries, with art by Jae Lee, that tells a story of Cap's time frozen in the ice that preserved him from World War II to the modern day.
"The stories are all very different. They stream into each other -- the Captain America you meet at the beginning of 'The Extremists' is definitely the Captain America who's just lived through the events of 'Enemy.' I mean, a story that doesn't change a character is no story at all, in my world ...
"But the flavor of 'Enemy' and the flavor of 'The Extremists' and the flavor of 'Ice' -- the moods of the stories, their narrative styles, the way they're structured -- they're about as different from each other as different gets. Because they're all about different things. 'Enemy' was very stark. A sword-edge Cap is walking. Feeling every step. 'The Extremists' is layered. A maze he's got to find his way through -- or break through, wall by wall. And in 'Ice,' the flashbacks are the core of the story. Cap's past. It's a well he's falling into. Straight down, into the dark and the cold.
"Like I said -- we're lucky. For each of these arcs, we've had the right artists.
"Artists who could take us there.
"I think that the decision to roll 'Ice' into the continuity of the ongoing series was made primarily because it belonged there. 'The Extremists' leads into it -- opening the door of Cap's past. It really wouldn't have made good dramatic or emotional sense to have the two stories hitting the stands simultaneously. These arcs all begin with questions. And questions mean more if you ask them in the right order.
"Sometimes it takes a while to figure out what that order should be."
Rieber doesn't have a lot of information about what's in store for Cap fans beyond "Ice," for very good reasons.
"Mmm ... honestly ...
"I always leave room for the characters to surprise me, when I'm scripting. I definitely have some ideas I'd like to explore with Cap ... but I don't know exactly where Cap will be when 'Ice' concludes -- and after scripting three arcs simultaneously for the past for the past year, I'm looking forward to carrying around one Cap-world in my head at a time, instead of three.
"And you never really know what's going to happen. From day to day, much less year to year. Joe Quesada and I haven't even begun to discuss a fourth arc. So there's even more uncertainty than usual there.
"But if I'm still on the book and Cassaday comes back for another arc -- which was the plan, more than a year ago, before September the Eleventh -- we want to take cap out of the country -- and the west -- for a while. To the Middle East or Africa. Harsh places ...
"For harsh reasons."
"Captain America" #7 is scheduled to be in stores December 18.