|CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS No. 1, July 2016|
Selling an impressive 99,768 copies in May 2016, Issue One of “Captain America: Steve Rogers” caused so much controversy at the time of its publication with regards to its surprise ending, that even nonagenarian Stan Lee ‘weighed in’ on the “crazy” twist of the super-soldier being “a double agent” of Hydra whilst attending a MegaCon panel; “It’s a hell of a clever idea. I don’t know that I would ever have thought of it… But it’s going to make you curious, it’s going to make you want to read the books…” Sadly however, this thirty-page periodical never actually lives up to any of its hype, and whilst Editor Tom Brevoort’s assurance that the Sentinel of Liberty’s dual identity had “been in the works for more than a year” may have appeased some fans, there is actually very little within Nick Spencer’s disappointing narrative that makes any real sense.
For starters the comic’s rather straightforward central plot of the Avenger thwarting a terrorist attempt to hijack “a train scheduled for routine maintenance… and detonate an explosive device” lacks any real menace, as the star spangled S.H.I.E.L.D. operative beats his numerous poorly-armed opponents so easily that it only takes him eight panels to reach suicidal bomber Robbie Tomlin. Hardly thrill-a-minute stuff even for a “man out time” who is still “learning” to use his new shield, and Rogers subsequent confrontation with Baron Zemo’s New Masters (of Evil) doesn't provide much in the way of suspense either; especially as the laughable Plantman, Flying Tiger and Firebrand are soon all-too soundly thrashed by Cappy’s sidekicks Free Spirit and Jack Flag.
As a result of such deficiencies all that is arguably left to enjoy is the America author’s entertaining, though perturbingly nonsensical flashbacks to Steve’s childhood in 1926, when his drunken brute of a father is shockingly outfought by posh socialite Elisa Sinclair, and his mother wined and dined by the female Hydra recruitment officer. Such a “trail of breadcrumbs” in order to ensure “people will be able to connect the dots” seems rather contrivingly choreographed, especially for a “Marvel Worldwide” character whose origin story has already been (re)told so many times in the past.
Equally as disquieting as Spencer’s script is Jesus Saiz’s somewhat cartoonish-looking breakdowns. “Best known for his work on Manhunter and Brave And The Bold” the Spaniard’s audacious pencilling certainly gives the comic a high-quality, almost glossy appearance. Yet his technique of giving all his figures a thick black outline additionally makes the characters look a little comical, and certainly doesn’t suit the reimagined Sentinel of Liberty’s sleeker, more rubberised (head-wingless) costume.
|The regular cover art of "CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS" No. 1 by Jesus Saiz|