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Captain America: Reborn #4 [Review]

By: Ed Brubaker, Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Covers: Hitch, Guice and Mounts; John Cassaday and Laura Martin, Joe Kubert and Laura Martin
Assoc. Editor: Jeanine Schaefer and Sankovitch
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

I’m not 100% certain I bought/read issue 3 of this, offhand. Even if I not only read issue 3 but also reviewed it, I don’t at present recall issue 3. Despite that, it’s almost an irrelevant point as this issue finds Cap still bouncing through time, the Skull and crew still getting things assembled, and Cap’s allies still playing catch-up.

Skull and crew arrive in Latveria at invitation of Doctor Doom. Doom fixes their time device, while Cap’s allies are finding out what happened with Sharon and how she–and her blod–hold the key to what’s going on with Cap.

As Doom’s device is activated, things come to a bit of a head as a body is present, though all may not be quite as promising as it appears.

The art’s easily the best part of this story. Hitch draws a great Doctor Doom, and I found myself enjoying the visuals even as the story sped through its own pages. Brubaker’s done a great job overall with the Captain America saga. This series seems just a bit much, though, and something feels a bit “off” from what I enjoyed in reading the first omnibus and the 1.5-year saga following up on Steve’s death and Bucky’s installation as the new Cap.

If you’re specifically a fan of Brubaker’s work you’ll probably enjoy this; ditto if you’re a fan of Hitch’s art. If you’ve been following this mini thus far, probably worth finishing out the story. Otherwise, you’re probably just as well holding off for a collected volume.

Plus, with a collected volume…you won’t have two different titles for the same story (three, if we count the fact that this essentially IS the Captain America title right now, outright replacing the main title for its duration).

Story: 5.5
Art: 9
Overall: 7

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Captain America: Reborn #2 [Review]

By: Ed Brubaker, Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Covers: Hitch, Guice and Mounts; John Cassaday and Laura Martin, Tim Sale and Dave Stewart
Assoc. Editor: Jeanine Schaefer and Sankovitch
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

Well, I’m glad I picked the cover I did for the first issue…it seems that that was indeed the “standard” cover, meaning if I follow through with this entire series, I won’t be left feeling like one of my covers is out-of-place with the others.

I continue to be baffled as to why this couldn’t just be issue #602 of Captain America (or better yet, #53 or whatever without the renumbering). After all, while we have a different artist in Hitch on the visuals, the story is still Brubaker’s, and honestly looks and feels like any other issue of Captain America. If it’s about the chance at a #1 in the face of combining all previous runs to make the fat ol’ #600…then surely part of the trade dress for this story could have displayed a “part #1” or “part #2” while having the actual issue number in small print.

As said…this story is very much a Brubaker issue of Captain America. Amidst some Lost-styled time-hop scenes of Stever Rogers reliving scenes of his earliest days as Captain America (and his transformation from scrawny kid TO Captain America) we learn a little bit about the time-flashing that likely foreshadows something significant for later in the story. We also see the present as the current Captain America–formerly Bucky–and the Black Widow face Norman Osborne’s “evil” (or is that “dark?”) Avengers and see that Norman’s now got a stake in things as he issues an ultimatum to act as the issue’s cliffhanger.

It seems almost a given to me that Brubaker’s writing is high quality and in top form here–whatever “event” this is billed as, and whatever elements may or may not have been “forced,” he makes the story work in and of itself in its own sandbox that we’ve seen since his run started…while incorporating obvious and relevant elements from the larger Marvel Universe as a whole.

Hitch and Guice provide excellent visuals that capture the tone of the story very well. Though the art may not match up 100% with what the bulk of the Cap series has had, it certainly fits very well with it…having its own style without being a departure from what longer-time readers are likely familiar with. In itself, no complaints from me on the art.

Taken as a whole, this issue was pretty good. I was actually intending NOT to buy this issue due to the price tag and figuring on waiting for the collected edition if anything–but with Marvel’s pricing of late, it’s probably cheaper this way, and I have the feeling this pulled-out-into-itself mini-series will greatly inform whether or not I return to the monthly Cap book this fall.

If Cap’s your thing, this is well recommended. Otherwise…you would probably be more satisfied waiting for a complete arc to read.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 7/10

Captain America: Reborn #1 [Review]

By: Ed Brubaker, Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice
Colors: Paul Mounts
Letters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Covers: Hitch, Guice and Mounts; John Cassaday and Laura Martin, Alex Ross, Joe Quesada, Danny Miki and Richard Isanove
Assoc. Editor: Jeanine Schaefer
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics

After the reveal in Cap #600 that the gun we thought had killed Steve was something other than a simple gun, this issue picks the story up and moves forward. We see what appears to be a flashback to Steve’s time in World War II, though we quickly discover there’s a bit more to the scenes than just flashbacks. In the present, we see the other players of the story gather, and discover the nature of Steve’s flashbacks–which also seems to set up what is to come later in the story. We also discover through terminology and visuals that it would be really quite simple to set “Lost” square into the Marvel Universe.

As returns go, the story seems to be plausible enough in terms of comic book returns. I’ve enjoyed just about everything I’ve read from Brubaker the last couple years, be it Captain America, Criminal, Incognito, and what-have-you. I recently read through the Captain America by Ed Brubaker Omnibus, which gave me a great appreciation for the story he’s told the last few years in the main Cap book (it’s that reading that also convinced me that I think it far, far too soon be seeing Steve brought back). However, as stories go, this seems upper-middle-of-the-road to me, mainly because my first thought at a couple of scenes was of Lost (and reinforced when I saw comments pop up on Twitter on that subject).

The art is good stuff, and seems to fit the tone established across Brubaker’s tenure on the main Cap book–high quality, and nothing jarring me out of the story for any particular visual issue. It’s not spectacular, but it is good–and I really have zero complaint on the art…at least on the interior. I do have a bit of an issue with the variants, but that’s a usual complaint from me–I don’t like ’em.

On the whole, this is not a bad start to this mini–but the cover price combined with its place (presumably) within the ongoing Captain America story…I don’t plan to pick up later issues, and will await the collected volume(s). If out-of-title event minis–or Brubaker–or just Cap–are your thing, you’ll probably enjoy this. I do expect this is going to read a LOT better as a collected single story, though.

Story: 7/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 7/10

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