Saturday, 20 December 2014

All-New Captain America #2 - Marvel Comics

ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA No. 2, February 2015
It is hard to believe that either Joe Simon or Jack Kirby would recognise much, if anything, of their co-creation, if they were alive to see the cover illustration of “All-New Captain America” Issue Two. For whilst Stuart Immonen’s artwork is well-detailed with copious amounts of shadowy cross-hatching and contains a veritable Rogue’s Gallery of the Sentinel of Liberty’s most famous adversaries eerily floating behind Sam Wilson and Ian Rogers, the title’s two leading, garishly-costumed characters are visually a far cry from the ever-recognisable trappings of Steve Rogers and James “Bucky” Barnes.

Fortunately, Rick Remender’s actual narrative for this twenty-page periodical is far closer to Flag-head’s fist-fighting free-for-alls of the Forties than the magazine’s front page artwork, and in the main actually makes for a darn good read. Admittedly the “punk trying to pass himself off as Captain America” doesn’t have the impressive hand-to-hand combat abilities of his predecessor, nor “operated without backup in a while…” But it’s difficult to think of many heroes in the Marvel Universe who could literally go toe-to-toe against the combined might of Taskmaster, Cobra, Viper, Crossbones, Armadillo, Baron Blood and Baron Zemo even for just a few panels.

What must have perturbed this comic’s 50,077 readers though is the way the former “Uncanny X-Force” writer avoids using the increasingly old and preposterous ‘villains get in the way of one another’ punch-up trick by simply having Wilson unheroically fly to safety and leave the ‘new’ Nomad confronting such insurmountable odds alone; “We have all the blood we need, Ian Rogers. It’s not his blood we’re interested in. It’s yours.” Such a dishonourable tactic is hardly the sort of behaviour this book’s audience would arguably have seen if the World War Two super-soldier was still carrying the star-spangled shield, and it’s not as if the cowardly retreat grants the red-winged ‘Cappy’ any respite, as he soon re-encounters Crossbones for a gruelling slug-fest.

Sadly however, not even a sequence as simple as Sam taking a viciously savage beating from a far more able opponent is entirely safe from Remender’s frustrating interference, as the American author somewhat shockingly resorts to the red, white and blue hero having to point a pistol in the face of his homicidal foe in order to resolve the conflict… At least until Misty Knight inexplicably makes a surprise appearance in her “four-inch heels” and helps “Blue Bird… lose him in the streets.”
The variant cover art of "ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA" No. 2 by Time Sale & Dave Stewart

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