Captain America #602

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
Editor's Note: Captain America #602 arrives in stores tomorrow, January 20.

After the big events of Reborn, Steve Rogers has returned to the pages of Captain America. Bucky is still wearing his version of the red, white and blue costume, and now his nasty '50s doppelganger has returned as well.

Umm, check that… there's actually no sign of Steve Rogers in these pages. Steve is mentioned a few times, but we never see the man's actual face, leaving me to wonder exactly what the point was of not publishing this comic while Reborn was being published. Steve may as well still be "dead" for all the affect he has on this series.

I kept waiting for Rogers to appear in this issue, but he never does. Steve's absence gives this issue an odd sort of empty feeling. What was the point of putting this comic on hold for five or six months while Cap was being reborn? Why make a point that his return would be hugely important when the original Cap doesn't even return in his first new issue? Steve's return actually makes more of a splash in the pages of Invincible Iron Man than it does in this comic.

The story this issue was also nothing worth waiting for. It has the sort of shallow view of the world that readers never expect from Ed Brubaker. The evil '50s Cap is a bit of a right-winger, you see, so he takes up with a white supremacist group that lives in "the foothills of Boise, Idaho." That's right, Brubaker wants to show neo-Nazis, so he puts them in the most obvious place in America. It all feels surprisingly unimaginative and uninteresting.

The story gets worse, though. We're somehow supposed to believe that thousands of people would show up in Boise for a Tea Party protest. Luke Ross draws the streets of Boise completely flooded with humanity, all waving anti-government signs, but the streets seem way too crowded for such an event. Even the Tea Party protests in Washington didn't feature teeming streets; how are we supposed to believe that Boise would be different?

And if these protests are so large, how can the Falcon have never heard of them? He calls them "some kind of protest rally… looks like some kind of anti-tax thing." Leaving aside the fact that the Falcon's language is almost shockingly boring and repetitious, had he not watched the news in the last few months – and could he not have been briefed on the situation on the ground? And what basis does the Falcon have for saying that "I don't exactly see a black man from Harlem fitting in with a bunch of angry white folks"?

We're then supposed to believe that Bucky and the Falcon have gone undercover to trick the Nazis into accepting Bucky as one of them, in an equally insulting scene. We're actually asked to accept that the Falcon can show up at a bar in the evening, claiming to be an IRS agent, and not have anyone question his presence at all. Of course, the bar is filled with hicks – a bunch of white men with beards and baseball caps sucking back their beers – but nobody asks the Falcon for proof of his assertions.

Leaving aside the question of how Bucky and the Falcon thought to bring along the appropriate clothes to accomplish this subterfuge, I have to wonder in what insane parallel universe such a trick would actually work. It feels like a scene from a bad TV show instead of a highly-acclaimed comic book.

It's actually quite shocking how poor the writing is in this comic. The story is nonsensical, the heroes are boring, and the absence of Steve Rogers casts a real pall on the issue. Brubaker has written dozens of really smart super-hero comics, but this issue pretty much fails on every level.

In the back of this issue, we get the stealth launch of a solo series featuring Nomad by Sean McKeever and David Baldeón. McKeever's apparently written a few entertaining Nomad stories, but this one doesn't seem especially interesting. At its core, this story has the potential to be interesting, as it's about a woman reuniting with her husband who has become a monster. But this story fails because it's far too filled with guest stars that only serve to over-complicate the story. I wanted to read about Nomad, not Araña. I've only read a few Nomad stories and wanted to get to know her better, but the presence of Araña only distances me from her.

This is a really disappointing issue. We waited for Reborn to complete so we could get this junk?

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