Overview

Captain America #46

Review

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Captain America #46

Credits

  • Words: Ed Brubaker
  • Art: Steve Epting
  • Inks: Steve Epting
  • Colors: Frank D'Armata
  • Story Title: Old Friends and Enemies
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Jan 28, 2009

Captain America (Bucky) and Namor team up to find a Chinese scientist with likely nefarious intentions toward the former Invader, the original Human Torch.

Professor Zhang Chin, a child prodigy in World War II, now a super-villain of the mad scientist persuasion, has procured the android body of the Human Torch. Namor and Captain America team up to rescue their World War II ally with the aid of the Black Widow. Captain America's ties to Professor Chin are even deeper as he was assigned to kill the Professor when acting as the Winter Soldier for the Soviets. In this first issue of the story arc, Ed Brubaker weaves an interesting tapestry of past history and present relationships.

Brubaker's Captain America title is an international spy thriller with exotic locales, world threatening criminals, and even lecherous MI6 agents! The Winter Soldier past for Captain America opens up a great deal of potential for storyline as well as moral ambiguity. Brubaker's strength is characterization, and this issue is no exception. Namor and Cap's exchanges are spot on, especially the Sub-Mariner's elitism and caricature level arrogance.

While the tone and craft are as good as any comic in the business, the plot is rather simple and typical. Aside from the good Professor, no new characters are introduced, leaving little room for plot twists and such, especially in a three-issue arc. Modern comic pacing doesn't allow for much in 22 pages.

I must admit to not having read much of Brubaker's run on Captain America, but I followed, along with everyone else, the "Death of Captain America" news event, and figure that Steve Rogers' return is forthcoming. That seems to me to be the elephant in the living room. This story doesn't seem to aim at anything about a return, however. This is entertaining stuff, but I can't see how any reader, particularly a new one would really care.

Steve Epting's artwork is excellent with great darks and moody pencils. His exceptionally referenced backgrounds are a full complement to the espionage themed book. Frank D'Armata's coloring completes the art in high quality fashion with incredible blending and tones. Several sequences take place in the rain, and his work is more than convincing. The production quality of Marvel Comics is probably better than it’s ever been and really does the artists' work justice.

I have little doubt the present story arc will be an entertaining one, I just wonder about the editorial direction of the Captain America title. Unlike the "Death of Superman" and the hints of a return from the outset, this story feels a little like a meander. Or maybe Steve Rogers is permanently dead. Who am I kidding?

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