Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? 1 (February 2010)

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How did Marvel resist putting Obama on the cover of this issue?

It’s actually–besides the awful Luke Ross art, which is just terrible–a good issue of Captain America. Bucky and the Black Widow do their thing, Steve does his (showing up at the White House looking like an Ed McGuinness drawing).

There’s a nice fight scene with the two Captain Americas, the Black Widow and Mister Hyde. There’s some good dialogue between Bucky and the New Avengers and Steve and Sharon (she hasn’t apologized for shooting him I notice)–plus, Steve Rogers has sex. How’s do you like that one, Disney shareholders? Nookie, nookie.

But it’s all just a prelude to Siege, which seems lame. Is Steve going to become Nomad again? That one might be funny. Or U.S. Agent. I always liked that costume.

Or is there going to be a whole other big event summer 2012?

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; artists, Butch Guice and Luke Ross; colorist, Dean White; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Reborn 6 (March 2010)

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Almost.

Brubaker almost pulls it off.

Who drew the second to last pages? The War of the Worlds future pages? He had some problems but those problems were almost preferable. They had an unfinished, kind of indie feel–as indie as Marvel would get–which would have been something on a flagship title like this one.

But that art isn’t why Brubaker nearly succeeds. He nearly succeeds for a couple reasons. First, he paces this issue better. He resolves the previous issue’s cliffhanger but also has time to do some resolution to those events. The little things make all the difference.

Oh, the other reason. He calls back to his first issues of Captain America with Steve out on the roof, taking a breather. At his best, when dealing with Steve Rogers, Brubaker brings some humanity to the legend. Like he does here.

Too bad it’s too little, too late.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Bryan Hitch; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Reborn 5 (February 2010)

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Seriously, an issue-long fight scene? A boring issue long fight scene on top of it? It’s like Brubaker doesn’t understand (or maybe just doesn’t care) you can’t rehash–or modernize–the old Marvel feel and draw out the fight scene. Something has to happen. Nothing happens here. It could have been done in about four pages. The only two people who matter, right now, are Bucky and the Red Skull–though I will admit it’s real creepy to see him in Cap’s body–because it’s where the issue cliffhangs.

It’s also where Brubaker’s going to have to make a decision.

Is Bucky his lead or is Steve his lead? Market forces and Hollywood seem to dictate the latter, but everything Brubaker has done on the series to date suggests the former. Tick tock, tick tock.

I’m really not looking forward to the last issue. It is going to disappoint.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Bryan Hitch; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Reborn 4 (January 2010)

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And now I’m completely confused again. If Steve Rogers’s mind is unstuck in time, how come his body comes back at the end of this issue? If you’re going to use “Quantum Leap” science, at least do the reader the courtesy of giving the “Quantum Leap” explanation–it’s okay, no one thinks you’re original anyway (kind of like how Conway cribbed from The Wolf Man in some of his Werewolf by Night exposition).

It’s a terribly paced issue; Brubaker could have done this stuff in a quarter of the room. Even with the revelation from the past I figured he’d wait on more.

For some glorious return of a character (who everyone knew was coming back, so maybe he didn’t need a glorious return), Reborn‘s underperforming on all levels.

The pleasure is supposed to be in the trip–from no Cap Steve to Cap Steve. Reborn‘s got a major flat.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Bryan Hitch; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Jeanine Schaefer and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Reborn 3 (November 2009)

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In what universe couldn’t Brubaker tell this story in five issues? There’s an undue amount of padding going on here and it had better be worth it when I get to the sixth issue. I don’t like how Steve’s message to the future is going to be hung over my head for at least another issue and I don’t like how–well, I really just don’t like the juxtaposing.

Brubaker was always more comfortable with Bucky as Cap and Reborn feels like he’s going to revert the book back to being solid (if poorly paced in terms of plot revelations) fun instead of something more.

I mean, if it really were the adventures of Steve unstuck in time–the stuff about being stuck in ice over and over again is fantastic but Brubaker drops it once the scene’s over–it would have the chance at being sublime.

Instead, it’s mechanical.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Bryan Hitch; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Reborn 2 (October 2009)

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And now for my next issue–with the series, I mean. We’re reading about Steve getting unstuck in time and reliving his life (kind of like that Flash Secret Origins where Barry’s death is really being unstuck in time, but getting to see it) as Bucky and the Black Widow try to resurrect him. Wouldn’t Steve have gotten unstuck some time previous to their external efforts? It seems rather contrived. Maybe if they’d run with a classic Cap back-up and then revealed it to be the “new” classic Cap adventures.

It’s still solid superhero work from Brubaker, but he’s getting ulcers over this one.

Also, the mix is bad. Bucky’s Cap now and Steve’s Cap. It doesn’t reconcile those two mutually exclusive conditions. Not in terms of continuity, but in terms of who’s the main character.

Hitch’s art is starting to annoy me. I hear it just gets worse.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Bryan Hitch; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Jeanine Schaefer, Lauren Sankovitch and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

Captain America: Reborn 1 (September 2009)

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One of the most fun things about Brubaker’s Captain America run has been how he updates the old seventies style Cap stories for the modern era. Reborn runs into a problem with this bit, however. Brubaker’s devise for bringing Cap “back,” is a very complicated time machine–the malfunction of this machine, no less, has left Steve Rogers unstuck in time–and he explains it in a couple pseudo-scientific paragraphs. Apparently having Hank Pym around makes it seem reassuring, though the last time Hitch drew Pym, he was a spousal abuser, right?

I find Reborn to be something of a hard sell at this point. It’s got a lot of potential, but as a superhero version of Slaughterhouse Five, not a blockbuster event.

I also really do think Hitch is sort of boring as an artist. His placement of characters and his angles kill spontaneity.

Still, I’m open-minded.

CREDITS

Writer, Ed Brubaker; penciller, Bryan Hitch; inker, Butch Guice; colorist, Paul Mounts; letterer, Joe Caramagna; editors, Jeanine Schaefer and Tom Brevoort; publisher, Marvel Comics.

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