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Chain Reactions | Captain America #1

Captain America #1

Rick Remender has the unenviable task of following Ed Brubaker on Captain America, a book that Brubaker took to new heights during his seven-year run on the character. Based on the review so far, though, it seems that Remender is not only up to the task, he’s taking Cap in a completely different direction, with a different tone and focus that most folks seem to be responding well to. Along with artists John Romita Jr. and Klaus Janson, Remender has sent Cap off to Dimension Z, for some “high adventure/science fiction” fun.

“It’s a departure from the standard operating procedure of Captain America, definitely,” said Romita. “We are in a different ballgame here. This is as far away from what I expected for Cap as you can get and I’m really enjoying this.”

Here are a few reviews to let you know how different the ballgame is now, and how well the new team’s doing in their first inning:

Ryan K. Lindsay, Comic Book Resources: “Captain America #1 from Rick Remender and John Romita Jr. with Klaus Janson doesn’t so much walk away from Ed Brubaker’s defining run on the character over the past seven years as it does leap frog it. There was obviously no point in trying to ape Brubaker at his A game, so instead Remender swerves Cap back toward his pulpier roots. This issue begins a strange tale that sees the Sentinel of Liberty fight the Green Skull and get embroiled with Arnim Zola in Dimension Z.”

Alex Evans, Weekly Comic Book Review: “That this book is so different, both in the writing and in the art, from anything we’ve seen from Cap in years makes it a tremendously easy comic to like. This is signature Remender, as he delivers the beginnings of a pulpy sci-fi adventure. We’re only one issue in, and already this is feeling like Marvel worked some necromancy to have Edgar Rice Burroughs write a Captain America comic. You’ve your superpowered, ordinary mortal man surrounded by pissed off, war-mongering aliens led by a cackling, ludicrous villain and stranded in an unfamiliar, unknown alien landscape. In other words, pulp sci-fi at its best.”

Iann Robinson, CraveOnline: “This is not just weird, but weird largely just to be weird. Using this multitude of plot points, Remender has fully and quickly separated himself from Brubaker’s run by surgically slicing off the seriousness and depth of the character. I’m all for goofy, fun comic book stories, but coming so soon after Brubaker’s run, Remender would have been better served to slowly ease us into his story arc. Instead, he throws everything but the kitchen sink in at once, and it comes off as a desperate play to make Captain America his own. I won’t go so far as to say Captain America #1 is bad, but it does miss the mark.”

Matt D. Wilson, ComicsAlliance: “Romita, who has a wide oeuvre but is often associated with street-level characters such as Spider-Man, Daredevil and Kick-Ass, does terrific work capturing the otherworldly feel of Dimension Z and its monstrous denizens. But he also brings a shift in tone to the Earth-bound parts of the book, too. Where artists such as Michael Lark and Steve Epting made convincing efforts to depict Cap’s adventures realistically, even if he was fighting the most fantastical of supervillains like Arnim Zola, Romita’s work here is distinctly more comic booky. That may sound like a jab, but what I mean by that is that the reality is considerably heightened. When Captain America kicks a bad guy or jumps through a window, the impact is huge. You don’t even need a sound effect. It’s all there in the art.”

Vince Ostrowski, Multiversity Comics: “Judging the issue gets a little tougher when you consider the art by John Romita Jr. His style is divisive and, granting that, this issue will not change your mind one way or the other. He is, however, a fantastic sequential storyteller who has a wonderful sense of movement and action. As a result, he is very well suited for this book when you consider that Remender is launching Cap through a lot of very different types of conflicts and settings in relatively few pages. His style lends itself to compressed storytelling where a lot goes on, because there is less of a prolonged focus on the details in the art. If that sounds like a backhanded compliment, well, unfortunately it kind of is one.”

David Pepose, Newsarama: “Ed Brubaker’s Captain America was a slow burn, an espionage thriller, a thinking man’s game. Rick Remender isn’t playing. He’s blown up the dam, he’s cranked things up to 11; he’s injected a ton of ambition and thrills and pure pulp into the veins of Steve Rogers, Super Soldier. Whether its defining the man behind the shield or giving him some serious stunts to pull off (seriously, that last-page cliffhanger made me literally hoot in excitement), this comic is definitely going to be the selling point of Marvel NOW! Definitely pick this one up.”

Jay Mattson, The Endless Reel: “Rick Remender has a lot of ideas for Captain America. In one issue, he’s taken Steve Rogers out of the gritty darkness of the spy game, thrown readers some integral and telling character history, and introduced a whole new chapter in the Captain’s life. He’s stuck in an alternate dimension that’s populated by Arnim Zola’s mutated creatures and he’s got no way to get back home. John Romita Jr’s pencilling gets mixed reviews, usually, but here, it’s spot on and works perfectly with Remender’s more cheeky style. I’ve never read Captain America on a regular basis. Captain America #1 by Rick Remender is going to change that.”

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Comments

10 Comments

Yeah. Didn’t like it.

I mean, it was okay but so far removed from what I like about Cap (the title, not the character) that it feels like a completely different comic to me.

Oh well. I’m glad it’s been positively critiqued and people are enjoying it.

thanks to jrjr for bringing the aesthetic of the comic back to its cartoonist roots, while staying definitively true to his own style
thanks to remender for making superhero comics out of this world and surreal, while staying definitively true to his own style
This comic really is all that you could hope for from a collaboration between these two artists on this particular character, exploiting both their strengths, and I hope it goes even further to show how “ouside-the-box”(to use a corporate term) superhero comics can be, and that not all ventures into this genre are preliminary movie scripts

LOVED this book. The new direction, artwork, etc. was exactly what Cap needed. Ever since he returned to life he’s been falling back into the same situations, personality tics and actions, and this is a really nice approach to handling that fairly staid character. Put him into something completely unexpected and let’s see what he does. I’ll be there for the whole Remender/Romita run. Great stuff.

I don’t really read or care that much about corporate-owned superhero comics these days but this Marvel NOW! experiment of shuffling around creative teams from one franchise to another raises a good question: Does it expand the potential of each character to switch aesthetic styles on a regular basis or does it diminish the strength of their unique signatures? I would argue the latter, which raises the question: Why give a damn about characters?

Brubaker’s Cap was interesting in that he wrote it as a Marvel Universe-based political and espionage thriller. Remender’s Cap seems to be a universe-hopping, time-traveling Buck Rogers pulp sci-fi swashbuckler. In a genre-based medium where we have a lot of the latter and relatively few of the former, it seems to be diluting the character and stealing some of his uniqueness to transplant him into such well-trod territory. I understand Remender doesn’t want to be a cut-rate Brubaker, I just think they’re inadvertently watering down the Cap brand and proving what I’ve said all along: fictional characters don’t matter, the people creating them do. Remender Cap and Bru Cap are two different comics because they’re created by different people so what sense does it make to follow characters when characters are so easily transmuted? Marvel and DC only have one ace up their sleeve: Character brands. If people didn’t care about character brands (and really, why DO you?) the whole comics landscape would look like Image and be better for it. Once you start caring more about the people making the comics, you have no reason at all to continue worshiping at the altar of superhero logos and Marvel and DC have no equity, no leverage. I just think it’s funny that Marvel is undermining themselves by going out of their way to prove that their characters are just hollow, empty spandex costumes into which flesh and blood creators write and draw humanity, theme, aesthetic, and entertainment value, these flesh and blood creators being the entire determining factor in what a comic looks, feels and reads like and whether or not it’s any good. Does Marvel not see that they’re proving themselves useless?

I loved the Stan and Jack stories, I love the Steranko issues, I love the Englehart and Sal Buscema stories, I love the solo Kirby stuff, I love the Roger Stern and John Byrne run, I loved Dematteis run with Paul Neary and Mike Zeck, I love Gruenwald’s run, I loved Waid and Garney, I loved Brubaker’s run. Basically, I love Captain America and I loved this issue.

I’ll give it a solid “meh”. I like Cap better in the real (616) world.

And JR, jr — he is a fine story-teller, but I wish someone would take his pencils and tighten them up into more finished drawings, the way Bob Layton used to do for him on Romita’s Iron Man runs.

D. Peace, get over yourself already. Jeez.

Really enjoyed the pulp style Remender’s bought to the book. And I’m no fan of Romita Jr, but he’s actually well suited to the tone of this book. Will definitely be coming back for more

Loved the issue. Reminded me so much of Kirby’s run back in the late 70′s. That’s the Cap I love. Brubaker’s Cap was fine, but watered down too much, and was a weak version of Steranko’s espionage but kick-ass Cap from a three-issue run. While I liked Brubaker’s initial Cap run, the last volume was terrible, and he really overstayed his welcome as a writer with the last 19 issues. Remender has refreshed the franchise in one single issue so far IMO. Cap can be realistic, yes, but my Cap is the Kirby’s Cap who slams speedboats into the Red Skull’s fortress while blasting away at them with a ray gun, making a patriotic speech and kicking arse! Bring it on Remender!!! Now all we need is a Cap/Black Panther reunion against Baron Zemo.

i have to agree with jimmy in every way i loved the issue make more.

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