With Steve Rogers reverted to his actual age (or at least something well above Avengers active duty roster age), the original Captain America has stepped aside, allowing a new Cap to take the field. How will Sam Wilson’s first adventure as the Sentinel of Liberty go? Your Major Spoilers review of All-New Captain America #1 awaits!
ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA #1
Writer: Rick Remender
Penciler: Stuart Immonen
Inker: Wade Von Grawbadger
Colorist: Marte Gracia with Eduardo Navarro
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in All-New Captain America: “Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, was kidnapped by Arnim Zola and brought to Dimension Z. Steve broke free with Zola’s son Ian, raising him in the wilds of Dimension Z. When Steve finally escaped Dimension Z, both Ian and Steve’s true love, Sharon Carter, were left behind. Upon his return, Captain America fought the Iron Nail, who drained Steve of the super-soldier serum that kept him youthful and strong, causing him to rapidly age. No longer able to wield the shield, Steve passed the mantle of Captain America to his longtime friend and colleague, Sam Wilson, AKA the Falcon. Eventually reunited with Sharon and Ian, who had both also aged in the different time structure of dimension Z, Steve opted for a more quiet life with Sharon, while Ian joined the new Captain America under the name Nomad...”
WHAT IT MEANS TO BE THE CAPTAIN
It wasn’t all that long ago that the “death” of Steve Rogers at the end of the Civil War kicked off a new series, with a former sidekick in the role of Captain America. Sam Wilson opens this issue thinking about his past and the events that led him to become a hero in the first place, as well as his deceased parents. Long-term Marvel fans may be happy to hear that his run as Snap Wilson, horribly stereotypical 70s pimp-daddy seems to have been erased, replaced with a much more palatable life raising his siblings after his parents’ untimely deaths. Sam is infiltrating a Hydra compound in this issue, and quickly runs afoul of the learning curve, missing a group of Hydra agents entirely with a poorly-aimed shield strike. Fortunately for him, his partner, Nomad has already infiltrated the base, and the two heroes are able to take down the mooks, only to run afoul of Batroc The Leaper. Batroc, for his part, is a hoot throughout the battle, constantly jabbing at Sam and making terrible jokes about what it means to represent modern America. Nomad and Captain America butt heads over Ian’s willingness to use lethal force, while Hydra shows itself to be much more threatening than it has in years…
ENTER THE LEAPER!
Batroc isn’t the only fun part of the issue, as writer Remender takes the time to show us what makes Sam different from previous Caps, including his psychic bond with Redwing, and his ability to fly himself. The question of how he survived so long without a shield is a nice running gag, and the establishment of tension between Ian and Sam over their methods is also a nice touch. The final page, wherein the new Hydra’s (you should excuse the expression) heads are revealed promises a difficult time next month, as Captain America finds himself face to faces with Baron Zemo, Baron Blood, Crossbones, The Armadillo, The Viper, Sin, The Taskmaster and King Cobra, most of whom are formidable foes on a solo basis, much less in concert. Artistically, it’s a strong issue as well, as Immonen and Von Grawbadger make the most of the chance to redesign costumes, with my only real complaint being Captain America’s odd red-goggles-over-mask headgear, something I can probably forgive them for. The coloring is a bit garish for my tastes, as well, with heavy reds and oranges, and some effects that don’t really seem to be motivated by story, but instead by the search for something “cool” to do with the colors in the sequence.
THE BOTTOM LINE: AN AUSPICIOUS START
Still, even those are minor complaints, and the amount of effort put into the character work for heroes and villains alike shows on the page. I’m a long-term fan of Sam Wilson as a character, and I’m happy to see that he’s not being immediately set up for failure in what will probably be a short tenure (I’m saying 24 issues or less) in the red-white-and-blue costume, but instead celebrated and given a mission worthy of a character this cool and this established. All-New Captain America #1 is a solid outing, building off not only the last volume of Captain America, but the entire history of the character, putting Sam Wilson in a new role and a flattering new light, and looking good in the doing, earning 4 out of 5 stars overall. I’m hoping that this volume puts Sam Wilson squarely in Marvel’s upper echelon of characters, where he belongs…