Or – “This Just In: Former Captain America Steve Rogers Is STILL Dead…


But it looks like he’s gettin’ less so all the time…




Previously, on Captain America – Reborn:  The Red Skull.  Doctor Doom.  Doctor Faustus.  Arnim Zola.  Each villain terrible in his own way…  But when their various masteries of time, the mind, genetic engineering and essential bastardry combined, they pulled off one of the biggest swerves since Hulk Hogan dropped the big leg on the Macho Man and joined the nWo, faking the assassination of Captain America and trying to replace him with the 1950’s psycho-Cap, while stranding the mind of Steve Rogers in a timeloop through his life, torturing him with reliving all his greatest failures.  Problems with this plan came in the form of The Winter Soldier (a grown-up cyborg Bucky, fished out of the Arctic Ocean by the Russians and kept in stasis between assassinations for the last sixty years ((boy, when you say it out loud like that, it sounds a little bit hard to believe)) and recently returned to consciousness) as well as The Falcon and Agent 13 (Sharon Carter of SHIELD, pregnant with Rogers’ child.)  All in all, nearly everybody bought the ruse, until Sharon Carter’s memory began to return, allowing her to recover the gun with which she shot Cap.  Now, the greatest minds of the Marvel Universe have come together to try and figure out what REALLY happened…

We join Steve, trapped in a glacier and worshipped by eskimos, as he tries to see a way out of his predicament.  He remembers the awesome Nomad story, (the villain was Nixon!) meeting the Falcon for the first time, and watches a raging Namor stalk out of the ocean… Bryan Hitch’s Sub-Mariner splash is amazing, by the way, as a clearly imbalanced Namor leaps into action.  The art on the entire sequence is pretty incredible, as Subby hurls the iceberg and Steve into the ocean.  In the present, though, Namor is (slightly) more stable, meeting with Reed Richards and agreeing to exhume the body of Captain America from its ocean resting place.  The twosome are surprised to see the body disappear from the casket (Time travel?  Holograms?  It’s not clear…) as Reed contacts Hank Pym for assistance.  While the big brains do big brainy stuff, Sharon Carter and the Black Widow argue loudly about their situation.  Sharon intends to turn herself in to Norman Osborn, but ‘Tasha argues sensibly, telling her that this isn’t waht Steve would have wanted. 

As for the current Captain America, James Barnes is at the mercy of Osborn’s Thunderbolts squad, being tortured and beaten while Scourge tries on his shield.  Barnes threatens that he will regret touching the legacy of his lost friend, but gets only a boot to the head for his trouble.  Steve Rogers finds himself adrift during the Kree-Skrull War, and watches his friends fighting an interstellar attack force.  The sight of Captain Mar-Vell makes him wonder how many more dead friends he’ll be forced to witness, but suddenly has an idea that might help save him…  “Vision…  I need to tell you something, and then I need you to forget it, to bury it in your deep memory storage…  Can you do that?”  The synthezoid Avenger agrees, and I suspect that we have just seen the key to it all.  Back in the present, the Thunderbolts proceed with Bucky Cap to their rendezvous, only to get waylaid by the high-flying Falcon!  Same quickly frees Captain America (with a little from Ant-Man of the Thunderbolts, who always knows when to watch out for his own ass) and Buck shows Scourge that he’s a man of his world, beating the villain senseless and taking back his shield.  As they escape, Falcon radios Black Widow, only to hear that Sharon Carter has gone missing.  As for the villain behind this all?  The Red Skull has been in hiding, but the arrival of his daughter Sin and her boyfriend Crossbones pulls him back into play.  They’ve even brought a new mask for his synthetic body.  “Yess…  Yes, this is better,” says the probably-freaking-insane Skull, empty eyes glowing with eerie red light…

The art on this issue is fan-freakin’-tastic, with Bryan Hitch reminding me of why I liked him waaay back when he took over She-Hulk from John Byrne.  The awkwardness that made his Fantastic Four so difficult to read is gone here, leaving behind the epic scale and clear storytelling that made Ultimates fun.  Ed Brubaker seems to be having fun here, weaving together plot-threads and hints from the last three years of Cap and related side-stories.  There’s still two issues to go here, so I imagine a few twists are still in store before we deal with the actual revelations and/or resurrections.  My major disappointment here is in how much I like James Barnes as Captain America, and (much as with Barry Allen) how bringing back the old guy feels a little bit too much like the return of the status quo.  Still and all, this issue is the first where Steve actually gets to DO something heroic, which is nice, and the story isn’t sagging the way some five issue stories with ‘Rebirth’ in the title seemed to, not mentioning any names.  *CoughFlashcough*  With a Captain America movie in the not-so-distant future, some have opined that there may be a somewhat mercenary mindset behind the timing in this return, but the story isn’t suffering for it.  Captain America: Rebirth #3 earns a Billy-Pilgrim-inspired 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  And so it goes…


The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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  1. Navarre
    September 20, 2009 at 8:19 pm — Reply

    You aren’t serious about naming the Invaders are you?

    Left to Right: Sub-Mariner, Destroyer, Spitfire, Captain America, Bucky, Union Jack, Toro, and the Human Torch. … It’s Steve Rogers. Of course I can name his allies!

    4.5 out of 5 stars, yeah! That’s what Marvel needs!

    The real Captain America is going to end this whole Dark Reign fiasco, mark my words.

    … Sorry you like Bucky so much. I’m sure he’ll get to do something useful. ;-)

  2. September 20, 2009 at 8:47 pm — Reply

    I am kinda hopin’ that Steve kicks some Green Goblin butt…

  3. September 21, 2009 at 8:25 am — Reply

    I read this issue Saturday after picking up my pulls at The Gatekeeper, Huntoon & Gage, Topeka, Kansas. I thoroughly enjoyed it. I agree with you, Matthew, despite the need or want to return to the status quo, I like this mini.

    I’m also digging the new Ultimate Avengers and what Cap is doing in that one.

  4. Jacin B
    September 21, 2009 at 9:54 am — Reply

    I picked up my pull list at The Gatekeeper, Huntoon & Gage, Topeka, Kansas — back in the southwestern-most building in that parking lot, sort of catty-corner from the laundry place, or down that pothole-lined service alley between the Gage Center buildings and Family Video — but this wasn’t in it because I’m not reading it.

    (Probably because I like Bucky as Cap, too, and what Brubaker has been doing with that and I have no real interest in seeing Steve back this soon in what seems to be a rather ludicrous storyline.)

    • September 21, 2009 at 10:46 pm — Reply

      Yeah, best to just avoid that alley. My Chrysler bottoms out about every three feet…

  5. September 21, 2009 at 10:25 am — Reply

    This is the first in this series that really hit it home for me. I like Bucky Cap too, but the idea of them working together again sounds interesting.

    On a side note… They built up the new Scourge big time in Thunderbolts and he just got his ass handed to him. Kind of a weak moment there.


  6. davek
    September 21, 2009 at 1:13 pm — Reply

    Who says Steve Rogers needs to be Captain America once he’s back? Let’s get really whacky and suggest “Steve Rogers: Director of SHIELD”!

  7. Navarre
    September 21, 2009 at 1:18 pm — Reply

    It is true that we don’t know Steve will resume the role he was born to fulfill. I have nothing against Bucky. He’s a good character who has really come into his own. Watching him work with his role as Captain America has been a good experience.

    I actually hadn’t considered that Steve would be any but Captain America because they are synonymous with me. But I would just be glad to have my hero alive.

    He would definitely make a welcome change as SHIELD Director…not to mention that the name “SHIELD” would fit.

    Seeing where all of this goes is part of the fun. History is being made here and no one should walk away from it.

  8. Big Money B.G.
    September 21, 2009 at 1:21 pm — Reply

    …I think davek just guessed the ending of “Dark Reign”.

    • Navarre
      September 21, 2009 at 2:06 pm — Reply

      It is actually a very intriguing idea that I did not think about. It would fit with Steve’s history (especially with Fury), resolve Dark Reign, and wouldn’t detract from Bucky’s role as Cap.

      If that turns out to be the course of events, davek should get a prize. Remember way back when Marvel would give out the “No-Prize” for such things?

      We need a Major Spoilers version of that. Maybe an autographed picture of Stephen dressed as a random member of the Legion?

      • Mijder
        September 24, 2009 at 7:51 am — Reply

        I vote for Quislet!

  9. theSuperAlbino
    September 21, 2009 at 3:57 pm — Reply

    I’m loving this series, I get the feeling that if anyone other than Brubaker had been writing this it would feel clunky and make little sense, but Bru does an outstanding job. Also, this seems to be the first series Hitch has done that hasn’t been delayed.

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