The action gets hotter and heavier as the Red Skull and his entourage travel to Latveria. Meanwhile, Hank Pym and Reed Richards seem to have found the secret of Cap traveling through time, and Sharon Carter faces a frightening fate. It all leads up to an intense and surprising conclusion.
Reborn is pretty much all summer movie all-out widescreen action. I know that phrase is a bit out of fashion these days as Warren Ellis has passed somewhat out of fashion and comics are on the verge of the Next Big Fashionable Thing. “Widescreen” is one of those terms that have become a cliché through overuse, often when applied to comics that don’t deserve the term.
But this comic is truly an example of widescreen pure action. It’s pure energy in comic-book form. Sheer unadulterated, unapologetic pure action. It’s full of double-page spreads and the kinds of time- and brain-twisting moments that seem very archetypically comic-booky. It’s comic-booky not in the sort of dismissive way that snooty movie critics might describe something very sophomoric and silly. No, this story is comic-booky in precisely the way that writer Ed Brubaker intends it: in every possible way, it pays tribute to the tropes and storylines and storytelling styles that came before this comic, while providing a work that resonates with modern readers.
You can see it very clearly in most every scene in this comic. When the Red Skull and Doctor Doom meet up, it resonates deeply because we’ve seen this moment so many times before. Brubaker’s smart enough to have the two great arch-villains confront each other in ways that feel familiar. But he’s also smart enough to ensure that the scene feels fresh, with the resentment of Arnim Zola and rivalry between the two villains giving the scene extra spice.
Another great example is the scene in which Captain America relives the fateful moment in which Bucky, now Winter Solder, was caught in an exploding plane by the machinations of Baron Zemo. Most fans of Captain America have read this scene many times before, which is of course part of the point. The moment is supposed to have resonance, and readers are supposed to feel an intense sort of dread as the moment develops. The scene does not disappoint.
But Brubaker, Hitch and Guice play the scene with a greater level of intensity than Jack Kirby ever delivered. By staging the scene in sheets of pouring rain, and brilliantly using a variety of camera angles, close-ups and wide shots, and intense inner monologue, the scene has an intense sort of visceral energy about it. It’s impossible not to get sucked in to the scene as a reader, especially if the moments have real resonance for you.
The intensity of the moment feels like a major moment in a big summer blockbuster movie. But if that moment seems huge, the climactic scene provides a somewhat smaller mystery, a tremendously interesting moment that’s sure to bring readers back for the final few minutes of this big summer movie in print form.
In the end, Captain America: Reborn #4 provides a middle section of a tremendously fun blockbuster story. There’s no sign that the ultimate conclusion of this story will disappoint.