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Showing off the Shelves: Captain America and Black Panther

While there are several Captain America volumes I’d still like to get sooner than not (Captain America vs. Red Skull, the Fighting Chance volumes), for the most part, I think I’m just about where I’m good for now with the character.

showing_off_the_shelves_captain_america_and_black_panther

Of course, the "core" of the collection is the Brubaker Omnibus volumes, collecting about seven years of his work on the character.

And because it’s its own thing and on the shelf immediately preceding the Cap books…I did not crop out the Black Panther by Christopher Priest 4-volume series collecting that series’ run. Though in typing that…it reminds me that there’s also the Captain America and Falcon by Priest volume out there that I’ll want to track down as well…

I’d certainly enjoy a Captain America by Mark Waid omnibus, whether it includes pre and post Heroes Reborn material, or just post. Heck, it’d be great to have a single volume of the Fighting Chance story instead of two half-length volumes.

But it is Marvel, so…yeah.

Anyway…with the addition of the Return of the Winter Soldier Omnibus, this is my current (as of January 2017) Captain America collection.

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On NOT Buying The Winter Soldier

Captain_America_The_Winter_Soldier_3DBluRay_BluRay_Digital_Combo_PackWhen I first saw the second Captain America movie, The Winter Soldier, I thoroughly enjoyed it. I saw it twice in the theater, actually, and enjoyed it as much or more the second time through.

And as such, I decided I actually WOULD buy this one when it was released on home media. (where I have NOT bought the first Cap film or either of the Thor films).

But now Disney‘s changing “the rules.” I finally get “trained” to actually EXPECT a BluRay/DVD combo pack (maybe with “digital” thrown in as a 3rd option) and they’ve switched to 3D-BluRay/BluRay/Digital, leaving me from there to have to choose ONLY a DVD or ONLY a BluRay.

Yet this is a film that since my roommate and I have a BluRay player, I’d certainly prefer to watch in the HD format (plus I hardly pay attention to “extras” anymore but have been further “trained” to EXPECT there to be MORE “extras” on anything BluRay than on DVD). However, as I’ll be visiting my parents this coming weekend, I’d really enjoy the chance to have them see it, and share that experience with them.

BUT…because of the weird encoding and “language” thing with DISNEY BluRays (forcing one to choose between “English” and whatever else BEFORE ever getting to a menu otherwise) their BR player is incapable of playing Disney‘s BluRays (plays others, but can’t get past the Disney-specific stuff). As such, this is ACTUALLY a case where I could gladly “justify” the notion of a DVD being packed with a BluRay (even though if you have a BluRay player it should play DVDs, but if you have the BluRay player why would you care to watch the DVD on it?).

Then I saw that Walmart has “exclusive” box covers, each focusing on a single character. Truthfully, on looking at the “thumbnails” on the display of the various boxes, I decided “ok, let’s see the Scarlett Johansson one and go from there.” Alas, for all the copies across numerous different displays and locations in the store, that was the only one they did NOT have in stock.

So, grumpy as I am at present, that’s pretty much that. DVD will EVENTUALLY be available in Redbox, so I’ll just have to wait until some visit after it’s available in Redbox to rent and watch it with my parents.

Despite all that, I might’ve gone ahead and “settled for” DVD/Digital, accepting the Digital as added value to giving up the HD of BluRay…but Disney just HAS TO be different for the sake of being different, it would seem.

Captain America: Reborn #6 [Review]

By: Ed Brubaker, Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice
Colors: Paul Mounts
Leters: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Designer: Rian Hughes
Covers: Hitch and Mounts; John Cassaday and Laura Martin; Joe Quesada, Danny Miki and Richard Isanove
Assoc. Editor: Lauren Sankovitch
Editor: Tom Brevoort

Before I read a single page of this issue, I was impressed by a stark difference I’m entirely unused to. This issue–at least, for the version of the cover that I bought, keeping with the visual style of the covers I’ve chosen since issue #1–sports not only a wrap-around cover, but a gatefold as well. That is, we have a 3-“panel” cover that folds out to the width of 3 comic covers, as a single, large image. Meanwhile, the latest Justice League of America issue from DC features HALF of a two-panel image as each of two different editions of the same exact issue. I dislike variants, but have a much easier time tolerating them when each is at least its own complete image. And the “build-an-image” motif where covers connect to form a larger image is cool, so long as it is multiple different issues–whether consecutive issues of a series/mini-series, or of a crossover/story arc.

Picking up where the previous issue left off, this issue finds Steve Rogers in his Captain America uniform, his body in control of the Red Skull’s consciousness, ready to murder his old partner Bucky, now the current Captain America. Meanwhile, a number of friends/allies fight for not only the rescue of Steve but also of those who have become entwined with the Red Skull and his machinations. Steve battles for control of his body, and unsurprisingly (especially given the title of this series) Steve wins out, the Skull is dispatched, and Steve is left–stable and no longer being bounced throughout his own history–in the present, to deal with a world in which he’s been absent and missed the Secret Invasion and most of Osborne’s Dark Reign.

The art on this book is high quality stuff. While it’s not perfect or anything, It really brings a lot to the story, enhancing the story and never particularly distracting from the reading experience. There are a couple of “iconic” full-page shots that were a little distracting as a result (in a good way, though). Despite the distraction–of noting the enormity of the moments depicted–they were a couple of my favorite moments of the entire issue. One shows Steve and Bucky rushing into battle side-by-side…two Captain Americas existing side-by-side. The other is Steve leaping into the fray, shield raised, the sunlight glinting off it, as many of the characters realize that THEIR Captain America is back.

While I tend to enjoy Brubaker‘s writing, this issue seemed so anticlimactic as to lack any real enjoyment for me. The enjoyment I found was in the art, in those images mentioned above. It doesn’t help that there wasn’t much to “wonder” about in this series. The title itself gave away the ending: Captain America would be reborn…and as we’d pretty much JUST wrapped up an 18-month mega-arc introducing a NEW Captain America into things (Bucky’s transformation from enemy agent to Shield-bearer)…it was pretty darned obvious. This issue in particular was spoiled by the fact that its first “epilogue” shipped some 4-5 weeks ago. Why that couldn’t have simply been held is beyond me–but it gave us an issue of Steve obviously back, obviously no longer bouncing through time, obviously alive, and Bucky alive as well. All that was left was the exact, specific details as to how things would wrap up.

If you’ve been following the series so far, it’s worthwhile to snag this issue to wrap up and such. Otherwise, wait for the collected edition–which will HOPEFULLY contain not only this 6-issue mini, but BOTH epilogues: Who Will Wield the Shield? and Who Will Not Wield the Shield?

Story: 5/10
Art: 8/10
Overall: 6.5/10

Chiming in on Captain America

So, Marvel–or the comics news sites, or some combo therein–managed to hook me.  Last week while I was at my primary local comic shop, I asked if I could be put down for a copy of Captain America #600.

I had picked up the first couple issues of Brubaker’s run when they came out, and didn’t find it to my liking at the time.  I returned with issue #25, and stayed on til #45 (18-part Death of Captain America epic, and the first three “Bucky issues.”  Decided to bail on the book to wait for the trades (and lookie here, I only lasted the equivilent of a single arc and I’m coming back).

I don’t know what the “big news” will be next Monday–whether it’ll be a Return or actual Rebirth of Steve Rogers.

But to be honest, I sincerely hope the news does not involve “the” (nor “a”) return of Steve Rogers. At least not yet.  I just last week finished reading the Captain America Omnibus (1-25 plus a couple specials), and adding that to what I read in singles from 25-45…it’s just far too soon in my mind for them to be bringing Steve back. With 25 issues of build to get to the death, and another 18 issues to get Bucky officially into the costume…I can’t honestly believe they’d (Marvel) force Steve’s return when Bucky’s only actually BEEN in the costume for 9 issues.

I think back to the 1990s and changes wrought–remember the bone-claws Wolverine?  That particular change stuck for a full SIX YEARS (real-world time). So much so that I think that version of Wolverine was actually starting to get a bit of notice outside of standard comic book readers (I have zero stats to back that up, though).  (But when one looks at stuff like the Ultraverse crossovers, the Overpower card game, possibly video games, etc…)

I hope that Bucky stays in the costume for at least a few more years.  Even then, at this point I think I’d find Steve much more interesting in a General Hawk sorta way–circa the latter issues of the first Devil’s Due G.I. Joe series.

But hey…time’ll tell. Right?

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