Steve Rogers continues to relive the key events of his long life, most of which take place during World War II. He’s moving “mostly like I’m a passenger in my own body…or an extra consciousness in my own mind…” to use his words. As a narrative and plot device, this idea of Steve being a “passenger” along with his past life events, works well. Readers who have never picked up a Captain America comic book in the past will get filled in on some of his past adventures and some of the defining moments of his life. Those who have been reading Cap’s comics for years will just have to go along for the ride like Steve is though.
John Cassady variant.
So do you get it? Steve isn’t dead, and might not ever have been, or was he? The old cliché that your life passes before your eyes at the moment of your death, or your near death experience, is turned on its head by Brubaker and company. Steve’s life is flashing before his eyes just before his rebirth. That’s not a bad plot device, but is it anything new? The whole “death and return” thing is getting a little tired in comic book plots today, but what can we do about it? Nothing really, except sit back, and try to enjoy the ride.
There are other characters in this story though, and their stories are way more interesting than Steve’s. Bucky and Natasha, the current Captain
America and Black Widow, end up getting trounced by the combined efforts of the Dark Avengers and about fifty or so HAMMER storm troopers. Osborne has a use for them though, so they are left alive, but any use Osborne has for them will be a diabolical one, and it is. Osborne has to be the best villain in comics right now, along with
General Lane and Zod over in the Superman titles at DC Comics. Osborne spouts Cheney-isms with enough conviction to strike a little too closely to home with their realism. Osborne is the best villain because he’s actually frightening in an all too realistic way.
Tim Sale variant.
Speaking of realism, Hitch and Guice continue to create some of the most realistic looking superhero outfits. Their version of World War II era Cap is fantastic. He hasn’t looked this realistic since The Ultimates. Steve is wearing his costume but it’s a stylized World War II infantryman’s uniform, complete with all the trappings. Their depiction of Franklin Delano Roosevelt is dead on, as are the rest of their 1940’s era contraptions. They also manage to create a realistic look the modern world’s technology as well. The modern fighter jets in the HAMMER helicarrier, and the HAMMER storm trooper uniforms both are realistically rendered, and not over the top with sci-fi silliness. This is a serious book with a serious look.
As already stated though in my review of Captain America Reborn #1, Steve Rogers as Captain
America was a legend, and legends live on in spirit, once they have passed on, to inspire the next heroes. Bucky as Captain
America is the next hero. He is an interesting and complex character who deserves to carry the mantle forward as Captain America, not for any reason other than the readers of Captain America’s adventures deserve great storytelling. They don’t deserve a rehashing of the past.