Saturday, 22 November 2014

All-New Captain America #1 - Marvel Comics

In many ways this ‘All-New, Spy-Fi, highflying adventure’ comic book must have been something of a conundrum for many of its 120,500 purchasers in November 2014. On the one hand it brought a completely new spin on the New York-based publisher’s second most popular superhero (at least according to “Imagine Games Network”), and on the other this particular title wouldn’t actually be focussing upon the exploits of ‘The First Avenger’ Steve Rogers. But instead feature storylines involving mainstream comics’ first African-American superhero and Cappy’s “longtime friend and colleague” Samuel Wilson; upon whom the elderly Sentinel of Liberty had “passed [on] the mantle of Captain America” following the removal of his super-soldier serum by Iron Nail…

Such a debatably contentious amalgamation of the Seventies era partners is immediately evident with Stuart Immonen’s dreadful-looking design for the twenty-two page periodical’s cover. This “All-New Captain America” is a horribly colourful concoction of both The Falcon’s red wings and eye-shades, coupled with the vividly bright red, white and blue of Flag-head’s patriotic costume. Indeed the new uniform simply smacks of the sort of garish raiment that A.I.M.’s Super Adaptoid would prominently display, if the artificial construct had copied the physical abilities of both heroes simultaneously.

Unfortunately writer Rick Remender’s narrative would equally appear to be just as much of a clash of ‘both worlds’ as the new titular character’s attire. Based upon the reasonably straightforward plot of the star-spangled super-hero penetrating a hidden, albeit heavily-armed, Hydra base. The pulse-pounding action is potentially ruined by Wilson repeatedly referring to his use of Captain America’s shield, and querying just “How did I ever get by without one of these?” Such repeated doubts as to Sam’s previous crime-fighting record become increasingly annoying, especially when one considers that the prominent minister’s son hadn’t carried such a defensive device before and been successful since 1969 when he was co-created by Stan Lee and Gene Colan.

Perhaps even more irritating however, is this latest incarnation’s inability to utilise the shield as well as his predecessor. On a couple of occasions the former ‘Hero For Hire’ demonstrates a complete inability to throw the shield accurately and would even have lost the trademark piece of equipment in a river of lava if it wasn’t for his accompanying “brother”, Redwing, flying to its rescue. As a result every time Remender’s Sentinel of Liberty uses the device there is a genuine sense of it ‘being forced’ into the action, and that cannot be a good sign of things to come for a superhero whose name is synonymous with just such a ‘weapon’.
The variant cover art of "ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA" No. 1 by Paul Pope

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