I’ve been wanting to review a comic issue by issue for a few months now, the question has been which comic would make for a big enough first issue to kick off the series. Thanks to the internet picking up on Marvel’s big reveal (and burying all talk of DC’s Rebirth event in the process) it looks like Captain America: Steve Rogers was the right choice.
Firstly, with Marvel continuity being what it is, where does this new series actually fit in?
You might have noticed that Sam Wilson (formerly Falcon) has been carrying the shield as Captain America for the last year or so and until very recently Steve Rogers himself was retired and effectively powerless; living it up with Sharon Carter as well respected but officially elderly members of the superhero and international spy communities. A whole bunch of cosmic cube and super-shenanigans later and Steve is back to his strapping young super-soldier best, sharing the Captain America name and donning a new costume and shield ready to kick off Captain America: Steve Rogers.
Written by Nick Spencer and with Jesus Saiz’s art, Captain America: Steve Rogers #1 does plenty right for a first issue. Despite a huge supporting cast and myriad villains, the first 30 pages of the series are tightly focused on the Steve Rogers of the present and the past, playing previously unshown flashbacks from his childhood against a suitably action-packed current-day mission to give even the newest of readers some insight into Cap’s motivations and beliefs. While Red Skull’s political diatribe is certainly relevant in the current political climate, what really makes (or breaks) this issue is the final couple of pages.
The internet is outraged, white is black, down is up, the creative team are receiving death threats and everybody is ignoring the fact that this is a carefully crafted cliff-hanger in the first issue of an ongoing monthly series and anything and everything is as yet unexplored and unexplained.
In this issue alone I enjoyed the interplay between Jack Flag, Free Spirit and Rick Jones, all formerly pretty daggy supporting characters that Spencer’s writing manages to bring into the current era with full acceptance of their history and a fun charm and chemistry. Meanwhile the art style for the flashbacks to Steve’s childhood are nothing short of gorgeous and Elisa Sinclair has the potential to be a great character in and of herself.
With the Civil War II event kicking off next month, I think this is a Steve Rogers story that is going to be worth sticking around for.