Saturday, 3 June 2017

Captain America: Steve Rogers #9 - Marvel Comics

Advertised as featuring the titular character “searching desperately for Kobik” and subsequently reaching “out to a hero that can help — Avril Kincaid, the all-new Quasar!”, it’s not really clear whether this twenty-two page periodical’s publisher, “Marvel Worldwide”, were as confused and discombobulated by Nick Spencer’s script as the comic’s 42,637 strong audience must have been. Indeed, considering that Issue Nine of “Captain America: Steve Rogers” is also supposedly meant to contain “a threat from beyond the stars [which] pushes an already-weakened S.H.I.E.L.D. to the brink” it's generally hard to reconcile the story promised with the disjointed, and utterly unrelated shenanigans printed inside.

For starters, the aforementioned Kincaid doesn’t appear within this comic from start to finish, and rather than focusing on the living embodiment of the Cosmic Cube, Steve Rogers is decidedly busy battling the Cult of the Darkhold alongside Union Jack on the Scottish Highlands. There also appears to be little which can threaten Nicky Fury’s old espionage, special law-enforcement, and counter-terrorism agency if Maria Hill’s boast of a “planetary defense shield” which provides the planet with “a truly impenetrable force field”, can be believed…

Admittedly, such an outrageous difference in content as to what was marketed doesn’t necessarily mean that this bizarre compilation of events from 1940, now, “days earlier”, now, 1940, now, then, now, then, now and 1940, isn't an entertaining read. Au contraire, as Captain America’s bloodthirsty battle with an imprisoned Arthurian demon genuinely provides plenty of pulse-pounding thrills and spills. But much of this book’s enjoyment is ruined by its failure to live up to those initial expectations, and arguably made all the worse by the horribly choppy narrative Spencer insists on penning for the comic; “But you never cared about the book, did you?”

Just as disagreeable are Javier Pina and Andres Guinaldo’s illustrations. The duo’s mismatched pencilling styles consistently ‘jolt’ the reader out of the action each and every time the pair replace one another, and proves especially annoying towards the conclusion of Hill’s trial, when the Director of S.H.I.E.L.D. is suddenly drawn as looking like some dislikeable, arrogant, self-righteous, sneering braggart, rather than an operative who is fighting for her career (and probably liberty) and doing the best job she believes she can in the current circumstances.
The variant cover art of "CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS" No. 9 by Jack Kirby

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