Thursday, September 17, 2009

Captain America Reborn #3 - A Review

Captain America Reborn #3 (of 5)

Publisher Marvel

Writer Ed Brubaker

Art Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice

Colors Paul Mounts

This series keeps missing the mark and also has a couple of things with Marvel that are pet peeves of mine. Let’s just sum it up with I hope we get to the end soon, because the re-birthing process has been painful and I think we should get an epidural.

The story of what is happening to Steve Rogers as he bounces through time has been just a tour of special events in Captain America’s life. There was a show on television a long, long time ago called “This is Your Life”. If I remember correctly it would start with a guest being surprised to be on the show and then they would stand there and have their life story be told. The vignettes were either by voices from their past or some other such thing. This reeks of that type of stuff as we see these short scenes of major events in Captain America’s life go on for pages. I have seen the origin of Captain America a hundred times and we are working up to it in Marvel Projects and I also do not need a poster book showing me Cap’s greatest moments. Maybe this will all tie together somehow, but so far it feels like filler. I hope Ed makes the trip down memory lane have some validity in the overall story.

Even the whole story of what is happening to Cap feels stretched out as the book needs to be a certain length and Ed is doing his level best to make it work. In reality that part of that story did not move an inch this issue. In fact that only thing that this issue that advanced the plot was Sharon Carter turning herself into Hammer at the same time the Falcon freed Bucky from the Thunderbolts. Oh and the Red Skull was given a Red Skull head to be on his robot body to save him from embarrassment. That in and of itself was almost funny seeing the Red Skull have such an issue as to not want to be seen this way. It struck me as odd. This book reeks of an old fashioned anniversary issue where we relive the heroes past and nothing happens. I mean 30 pages of next to nothing.

The art had it moments and Hitch and Guice know how to tell a story with great layouts and page design so the story reads well, but this is not Hitch at his best. I can see pages where if looks like more effort was done here and there on the beauty shots then during the rest of the story. I’m not saying this is a bad art job, but when you have Hitch, Guice and Mounts it should be excellent and it wasn’t.

Onto Marvel pet peeves. First someone tell people to stop doing what I call the “Fraction Caption”. Fraction in Uncanny started doing these cutesy captions when a character appeared; like “Scott Summers, Cyclops, Optic Blasts, Brooding leader type” and worse from there. I have seen different writers embracing this crap and Brubaker started doing it in this issue. First the tone and what this story is about does not lend itself to this style and second it is unmitigated garbage. It only shows up in the current day sections of the book and on occasion gives us the name of the character and some minor information, but a panel shows the Falcon bursting into the aircraft that has Bucky in it and the caption reads “Falcon on a rescue mission”. Well thanks. Aren’t these the great writers who stopped telling us what we knew like the sixties and seventies used to do? That stuff takes me out of a book and I hate seeing it spread in the Marvel books.

My second pet peeve is tight continuity. Do you want it or don’t you? Marvel has seemly pushed more and more of their characters into Dark Reign and has made what appears to me to be a conscious effort to tighten up continuity. Then they do stuff with Thunderbolts and Natasha that makes my head swim. Natasha is in Captain America, undercover as Black Widow 2 in the Thunderbolts and has been helping Maria Hill in Iron Man. Didn’t Disney just buy Marvel for that huge catalog of characters. They have no one else but Natasha to use in all of theses roles that appear to be occurring in the same timeframe. If you want tight continuity put the different series in a time and place in relationship to each other. A simple footnote that these events occur after Thunderbolts #136 would do it. If you don’t want tight continuity then stop dragging Daredevil, Moon Knight and other books into Dark Reign. Let me follow some titles in their own little worlds.

Overall Grade C – Still a professionally done book, but treading water. I also get the feeling that this series will not give us a definitive ending and we will jump back into a new Captain America series and maybe a Bucky series and both will be $4 books.

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