Captain America #1 (2011)

Captain America 1
Captain America #1 cover

In 2011, Marvel Comics released the Captain America live-action blockbuster movie.  Marvel Comics was also in the middle of one of their all-title-encompassing “events” (Fear Itself) which was occupying most of the the continuity of the titles.  So, I suppose the marketing division decided to release a new title, Captain America, which starts numbering at 1 and features the talents of Ed Brubaker and Steve McNiven – neither are rookies to the Captain America mythos.  In other words, for those inclined to read the adventures of Captain America after having seen the movie, this was the title that was made available for them.  The “regular” Captain America title was changed to Captain America and Bucky and continued with the numbering – #620+.

The release of this new title was a good move. Frankly, a lot has happened to Captain America in the last five or so years – including his death, his rebirth, and his refusal to carry the shield and wear the Captain America costume. (Bucky took over for Captain America after Steve Rogers died.)  So, for newcomers who want to follow Steve qua Captain, this new title is directed at them.  However, Marvel smartly did not just make this a title for “newbies” and put some B-level creators to work on it just to pump out another comic.  Brubaker and McNiven are well versed in the Captain America mythos and are solid respected creators.

This issue begins with Steve Rogers not fighting evil Nazis, but rather dressing for a funeral.  The dialogue opens with Steve contemplating that he forget he is a “man out of time.”  He forgets that he should be an old man by now – however, is reminded of this when people he knew in the 1940s die.  This time, Peggy Carter has died and Steve and Peggy’s niece, Sharon, are attending the funeral in Paris, France.  Also at the funeral are Dum Dum Dugan and Nick Fury.  As the group departs the cemetery the action begins, Steve tackles Dum Dum after noticing a red laser sight. Rogers takes off in pursuit after the shooter, whom he recognizes as someone he has not seen since 1944. The last two pages of the issue set up the storyline for the villains, which include Zemo.

The writing is clear and concise, not heavy-handed and not too sappy.  The artwork is perfect for new and old readers alike, it’s very clean and open.  The frames are not overly inked or cluttered. In some sense, the framing and artwork has a very traditional-comic book feel to it.  Large frames, lots of shots of Captain America’s shield, and plain open backgrounds make the artwork accessible to readers.  Overall, it’s clear that this title’s main purpose is to entertain new readers, however, the storyline (particularly with the villains) shows the potential to give long-time readers plenty to enjoy.  I feel the storyline is not going to be hurried and will not involve threads from every previous Captain America story.  This is good, because Captain America is one of Marvel’s major characters who does not need a lot of complications to be a successful read.

3 stars

 

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