Overview

Captain America: Reborn #1

Review

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Captain America: Reborn #1

Credits

  • Words: Ed Brubaker
  • Art: Bryan Hitch
  • Inks: Butch Guice
  • Colors: Paul Mounts
  • Story Title: Part One of Five
  • Publisher: Marvel Comics
  • Price: $3.99
  • Release Date: Jul 1, 2009

Well, the cat’s out of the bag. In case you live in a cave, I am getting ready to spoil Reborn for you. Steve Rogers is coming back and this is the book that will tell us how.

Two years ago, Ed Brubaker killed an icon. Captain America lay on the steps of a court house, dead. The cowl that started Marvel’s reign was without a face to cover.

Eventually, Bucky Barnes (recently discovered not dead) filled his mentor’s shoes. He retooled the costume, grabbed a gun and became Captain America for a new generation.

The inevitable groans from the hardcore fans were eventually silenced as not only did the writer not miss a beat, but spun a tale that seemed to garner more attention and acclaim as it went. Now, Brubaker dares to bring back Rogers. Of course, comics fans are grumbling anew.

Bucky won over the fans, but now he is being set aside. Maybe this is hyperbole, but the comic almost says as much at one point. Seems like a mind blowing experience, right?

Marvel ain’t even gotten started yet. This twist of fortunes for their marquee hero is not the baffling aspect of this book. No, what is bewildering to the reader’s mind is the means for Steve’s return.

In a move that is as clear as mud, the Red Skull, Zola, and Dr. Doom have teamed up and were involved in some kind of time manipulation that captured Captain America at the moment of his death. If it weren’t a comic, one might point out that it might have been easier to just capture Captain America than it would to kill him and then catch him in time. Nitpicking like that is not wanted when the baddies are more likely to pontificate while a hero escapes instead of just pulling a trigger.

The assumption is that this odd gun that Sharon remembered and then located (see Captain America #600) had something to do with the facilitation of this feat. Carter was being used further than just the deployment of whatever magic bullet the gun contained. She was also some kind of constant for the evildoers’ plan. However, when she figured it out and escaped while destroying their precious time machine, she also unknowingly set Steve Rogers loose in the time stream. Now, his consciousness is in some weird Scott Bakula loop from a bad episode of Quantum Leap. He is jumping randomly into his own body at different points in his history.

The mechanics of it all would be way over this reader’s head (and possible Stephen Hawking's as well), if there were any explanation of these events. There isn’t though. In the best soft sci fi tradition, Brubaker doesn’t even attempt to explain it. He just wants you to accept it.

It certainly stinks of deus ex machina. What’s worse is that it threatens to cheapen what the scribe has achieved in the Captain America title since he was given the reins four years ago.

All of this would be a major disappointment, if it weren’t for Brubaker. The rest of the book is so expertly executed that this oversight is forgivable. The dialogue is tight. The characterizations (with the exception of Hank Pym, who is most certainly a different character then the similarly named guy in Dan Slott’s Mighty Avengers) are solid. The talk of Myth and lies set up a potent backstory for newbies. The recaps of Cap’s career, his origin, and the larger scope of Civil War and Secret Invasion are so subtle that they are almost non-existent. All of this is the proof of the consummate skills that this writer has shown. The set that has made him a true fan favorite. It is even more astonishingly on display when he cleverly joins the more traditionally isolated story of Captain America to the Marvel Universe proper and actually reflects the current Dark Reign status quo.

Hitch and Guice are A-team talent and grace the book with fantastic action and the emotional nuances of the script are crystal clear. Meanwhile, Mounts brings these two talents into the fold using the colors to keep the book consistent with the style that has dominated Brubaker’s run regardless of penciller or inker.

Early on, Brubaker points to the complexity that is the story of Steve Rogers’ legacy. It is an apt observation for a book that will, in many ways, determine the legacy of one of the great runs in modern comics. This is a curious comic book. For the most part it is expertly written. The art is professional in its execution. All and all, it is actually an entertaining read.

The pieces are all in place to bring back Steve Rogers. (Yes, I am recommending that you just suspend your disbelief - comics really do work better that way.) Now it is up to Team Reborn to answer the question, "Why?" Along with that answer, Brubaker needs to make the reader care. Neither of that is accomplished here. This should not be surprising though. It isn’t a one shot, it is the first issue of a five comic event. Brubaker has four more issues to show us that magic, that against all odds story that will accomplish the ultimate goals of this book.

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Comments

  • Steve Kanaras

    Steve Kanaras Jul 2, 2009 at 11:01am

    Good review Lee. I just can't see reading this right now. Better to let the dust settle and wait for a story of Captain America beating up the Red Skull.

  • Andy Oliver

    Andy Oliver Jul 4, 2009 at 10:43am

    All sounds a little sub-Kurt Vonnegut to me...

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