Overview

Captain America #34

Review

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Captain America #34

Credits

  • Words: Ed Brubaker
  • Art: Steve Epting
  • Inks: Jackson Guice
  • Colors: Frank G. D?Armata
  • Story Title: The Burden of Dreams: Part 4
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 30, 2008

Cap is back, but if you’ve followed the story through the major media outlets, all they’ve managed to focus on is that now he’s packing heat. But there’s so much more to this new Captain America than the gun. One of the major problems with hero replacement stories is that they seem to come out of nowhere. Kyle Rayner? Ben Reilly? Despite the fact that I liked those characters, it’s nearly undisputable that their arrivals were a bit out of left field. The power of Captain America #34 is that the moment when Bucky Barnes dons the red, white and blue is something this book has been organically building towards for quite some time. This isn’t a marketing stunt by Marvel. This isn’t a deal with the devil. Nobody’s punched the time stream. Writer Ed Brubaker has crafted an elegant story in which the only logical next step is for Bucky to take on the mantle of his one time mentor.

Much of the success of this individual issue has to go to the all but absent Red Skull. Despite being portrayed as a hokey Nazi for the last odd twenty years, Brubaker manages to transform the Skull into an A-list villain that poses just as much of a threat as Skrulls or anything else the Marvel U at large is facing at the moment. He’s worked from behind the scenes of his Kronos Corporation to plummet the American economy into complete turmoil, forcing an overwhelming majority of banks to foreclose on mortgages, leading to massive riots all across the country. With terrorists from AIM and HYDRA ready to capitalize on this moment of American weakness, only the new Cap stands between them and complete American anarchy.

Series artist Steve Epting does a great job as always. When the original Alex Ross teaser of the new Cap costume was shown, many fans were astounded at just how shiny and reflective the breastplate appeared. Not to discredit Ross, but in Epting’s hands the new Cap looks imposing and realistic. Rest your fears. The top notch artwork we’ve come to expect from one of Marvel’s flagship titles doesn’t take a dip in quality with this historic issue.

Brubaker makes a wise choice in scaling back the usually phenomenal supporting cast which has ballooned to include the Falcon, Sharon Carter and many others, and instead focuses almost squarely on Cap. This issue will probably be the first for many since #25 and the sniper bullet heard round the world, and despite being in the middle of an epic ongoing storyline, issue #34 works perfectly as a jumping on point for new readers. Captain America has long been one of the top titles in Marvel’s stable of monthlies, and Ed Brubaker won best mainstream writer here at Broken Frontier for good reason. If you’ve somehow managed to avoid Captain America up until now, issue #34 is an excellent opportunity to see what all the fuss is about.

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