Let me get this straight. The same writer who delivered the very best espionage stories to the Marvel in the past decade is now resorting to Elseworld imaginations, twin-headed German Shepherds, Hydra portals, wooly dinosaurs, and an ending “boss” so far out of the crime noir/war realm, it could very well shake heads of long term Ed Brubaker Cap fans? But it all works.
You see, there’s no shaking that Bru is inspired by the Indiana Jones feel of the Captain America: The First Avenger film. Especially with a next-level artist such as Steve McNiven at the helm, the crime story vet knows he can take it that route — and not make it appear a Doctor Strange All Ages romp-fest. Sure, these elements are far and wide from the bitter dealings of Bucky and his Winter Soldier consummation, and they don’t quite connect from that epic part of Bru’s run. Yet, this type of reference to the WWII-era, and its new consequences of failed sub-missions definitely solidify this Captain America volume as a Steve Rogers book.
Not to strain on the entirely loony, the traditional S.H.I.E.L.D. cast of Sharon Carter (Agent 13), Dum Dum Dugan, and, of course, Nick Fury, is ever present, and ever helpful in getting Steve over the whole Bucky ordeal, and unlocking the Codename Bravo that won’t stop haunting our knight in shining red, white and blue.
And so while Brubaker has certainly taken a left turn in terms of genre, the action never stops with McNiven’s incredibly imaginative dexterity. There’s a reason why his classic “Old Man Logan” story took forever. The amount of detail in emotional character reaction is what nails it. Each panel conveys a certain “oh no” as C.A. leaps, boomerangs, smashes and conquers, of course, ‘til the bitter end.
And while that last page did have this reviewer wondering if this creative team will ever return to the elements that made the Captain America title so success — there was never a Marvel ongoing so grounded in reality—I’m all for the fun, lighter-hearted movie stuff too. Especially, if it kicks this much ass.