|FREE COMIC BOOK DAY 2016 (CAPTAIN AMERICA) No. 1, May 2016|
Heavily advertised by “Marvel Worldwide” as “one of Steve’s first adventures since his dramatic return” this Free Comic Book Day publication of “Captain America: Steve Rogers” probably came as something of a disappointment to many of the Sentinel of Liberty’s followers, despite the ten-page short story somehow containing the pulse-pounding exploits of the ‘original’ World War Two super-soldier, S.H.I.E.L.D. Commander Sharon Carter, Sam Wilson and the “All-New All-Different” Falcon, Joaquin Torres. For whilst Nick Spencer’s script undoubtedly gives “the reinvigorated Steve Rogers” plenty to do as the patriotic powerhouse pulverises a hidden Hydra cell in Graz, Austria. It does so using a seemingly pedestrian ‘plot-by-numbers’ technique which unfortunately pales in comparison with the excitement and sense of anticipation Dan Slott’s secondary Spider-Man tale “Up & About” undeniably generates.
Indeed of this publication’s two stories, it is the Diamond Gem Award-winners nine-page “special prelude to Dead No More” which doubtless raised the most questions in its audience's mind, on account of its narrative containing at least three characters who are supposedly deceased; “Oksana [Sytsevich] should be dead. The Rhino should be dead. And Vanessa [Fisk] should be rotting away in a crypt somewhere." The Wall-crawler’s pulse-pounding 'novella' even finishes on a devilishly well-timed cliff-hanger, courtesy of a shock appearance by Sixties super-villain the Jackal, and (presumably) his clone of Gwen Stacy…
Disappointingly however, Slott’s purported “first look at the blockbuster storyline coming later this year” is nowhere near as well drawn by Javier Garron as this title’s star-spangled opening adventure is by Jesus Saiz; a new face at Martin Goodwin’s old company who was clearly enjoying his “first gig for Marvel”. In fact the Spaniard’s artwork is arguably awfully amateurish in places, especially when Peter Parker grimaces at the sound of nearby gunfire, or the Rhino realises his web-spinning nemesis has quite literally pulled the ground from under his feet with a few well-placed “explosive spider-tracers”. Certainly the vast majority of Spidey fans, upon seeing the Barcelona-born penciler’s panels depicting an incredibly egg-headed Kingpin, must have breathed a huge sigh of relief when they realised that Jim Cheung was going to be the main artist on the “Dead No More” multi-issue event and not Garron.
|Writer: Nick Spencer, Penciler: Jesus Saiz, and Letterer: Joe Caramagna|