Captain America #600


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Captain America #600


  • Words: Ed Brubaker, Roger Stern, Mark Waid, et al.
  • Art: Butch Guice, Kalman Andrasofszky, Dale Eaglesham, et al.
  • Colors: Frank D'Armata, Marte Gracia, Paul Mounts, et al.
  • Story Title: "One Year Later", "In Memoriam", "The Persistance of Memorabilia", et al.
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $4.99
  • Release Date: Jun 11, 2009

One year ago, Steve Rogers was killed on the steps of a courthouse on his way to testify in a trial accusing him of treason during the Marvel Civil War.  Now, friends and admirers come together to remember the life of the man who touched their hearts and the spirit of America.  Enemies languish in their victory and use the day to their own means.

Much has happened in that year.  There was the invasion.  An African American was elected president.  Norman Osborn was handed the keys to the kingdom and Cap’s long time friend Iron Man finds himself on the other side of the law.

Much hoopla has surrounded the release of this book.  Marvel released it two days early for an unprecedented Monday release.  Part of this was due to the collectability of this issue, part of this was due to what was to be a keen marketing campaign complete with press releases and mainstream news coverage.  The idea is that this issue would mark the beginning of a new storyline that would be hype worthy.

Well, the news broke, there is even a press release here for you to peruse should you feel like it (and have no concerns over spoilers).  The news didn’t exactly set the world afire and now there are various reactions coming from retailers and the internet community.  It’s a shame really, because in the middle of all this, the book at hand is lost.

Hype aside.  This book represents the best of what the dubious Marvel 70th Anniversary is all about.  Regardless of strange numbering gimmicks and bizarre claims as to the actual length of the company's publishing history; at its heart, this anniversary celebration is all about the iconic heroes that have come from the House of Ideas.  Of all of them, Captain America is one of the longest lived and one of the more powerful symbols in the pantheon.

This issue is a celebration of that character.  There are nods to the various Captain Americas through the years.  The second Steve Rogers, the Heroes Reborn Cap, Isaiah, and of course, Bucky - the shiny new Cap.  Brubaker has done the impossible over the past two years, he killed off a beloved character and replaced him.  It was a move that caused the most hardcore fans to get online and complain over the cyberwaves.  The replacement moved along though and while not everyone was won over, even some of the most conservative Rogers fans grew to love this new incarnation of the Sentinel of Liberty.  Bucky was a different take on the icon, but one the readers have grown to love.

This is a testament to the craft of Brubaker and here, an all star creative team of superstar artists and creators past and present join the scribe in celebrating the original Captain America.  We see him as the Marvel Universe sees him, as the liberal media sees him, as the conservative media sees him.  We get to see old flames remembering him, we witness his friends reacting to the news.  Alternate reality characters get to mourn him and those simply inspired by him take a few moments to reflect on the soldier’s effect on their lives.

Of course, there is some comic book maneuvering here.  Sharon Carter is haunted by memories that are becoming clearer.  She investigates and finds a secret that will lead into Marvel’s big event "Reborn."  The New Avengers want to attend a vigil in Steve’s honor, but must deal with the reality of the Dark Avengers being present and what that means.  Then there is Osborn’s spin-doctoring.  That final one is the most astonishing bit of writing here.  Brubaker is able to make it seem like the public may actually not be stupid, that Norman may be sly enough to pull off his Eddie Haskell stunt on the nation.

The art is all spectacular.  Even Chaykin finds a steady line to produce his pages.  Ross turns in the kind of iconic art that he is best known for.  Guice draws all the different styles together and gives what could be a mess a unified feel.  It never feels like a bunch of different books, it feels like one book, one tribute to a character that has defined Marvel since its timely inception all those years ago.

Even Joe Simon gets in on the action, with a memory of his bulletin boards, a way to keep the first Cap book consistent.  He also gets to plug his new endeavor, the Simon and Kirby Library.  Good for him.

This isn’t the wild, revelation filled book that Marvel wanted the public to believe.  What it is though, is a well crafted celebration of an American Icon.  It is well written and expertly illustrated.  It may not be the kind of book that will drive the speculators crazy with money lust, but it is the kind of book that Comic Enthusiasts can be proud of. For once we are putting our best foot forward, and in the end I guess, Steve deserves that much.

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