Starting out in 1926, we get a glimpse into a moment from Steve Rogers' childhood. It's always been known that his parents were hard working immigrants but there is a tiny bit of extra information added that further adds to the development of Steve's character. I don't recall this bit of Steve's past being explored in this fashion.
Jumping to the present, we get Captain America in full glory. Taking on a new threat with a semi-familiar theme, Rick Remender immediately shows the pure heroic nature of Captain America. He is a man that will always give 100% when dealing with the bad guys. He never gives up and when things don't go according to plan, Cap will have another one brewing.
As we're seeing with the other Marvel NOW! titles, despite a new creative team and completely different direction, what we've seen before hasn't been obliterated. Cap still feels like Cap. Meeting Sharon Carter for a little celebration allows Remender to show the human side of Steve. Many times he's almost portrayed in a cold and robotic nature, always completely determined to fight evil. Cap never seems to get any downtime so it's nice to see an attempt being made to remedy this.
In an interesting parallel between a mission and his personal life, Cap mentions his uneasiness in walking into a situation "without knowing the likely outcome." When lives are at stake, Cap wants to know all the facts to ensure a success and the safety of innocents. In his personal life, it hasn't often been portrayed that Cap is willing to take a risk.
Where Remender plans on mixing things up is having the action shift to Dimension Z. The idea is pretty far out and upon reading this portion of the comic, you might be left wondering what is going on and what is Rememder planning on doing with the series. It's an odd change of pace but that's what makes it work and exciting. There's no questioning how brilliant Ed Brubaker's run has been on the series. For the next writer to come in and simply try to copy that feel would be a disservice to the previous writer and unfair to the current. Remender gets this. He points out on the letters page his reason for going in this direction.
Steve Rogers attempting a sexual innuendo. It's pointed out that it was a weak attempt. Steve may be trying to get with the times but there's just some things you don't want to see Cap attempting to do.
John Romita Jr's art is a mixed bag. There are times when his style fits in with the frantic action. Other times, characters are looking a little rough. In the opening pages, a character took a couple hits to the face and it almost looked like her skull was misshapen as a result. Cap looks good at times kicking ass but some of the residents of Dimension Z had a generic look.
It was pretty convenient for Cap's captors to keep his costume and shield so close by when he was strapped down. Just in case he manages to get free, of course he's going to need them.
This isn't the Captain America series you might have been expecting. Cap as a super-agent/spy has been great but there is a great sense of nostalgia that you might have forgotten could exist. This is Cap back in pure superhero action. Once you see where this is going to go, you won't realize that how much you've been missing this sort of action. John Romita Jr.'s art works great in some parts but can get a little rough in others. When I first read this issue, I wasn't sure what to think. Reading it a second time, I totally get where Remender is going with this and cannot wait to see what else he has planned. It would be easy for Remender to continue what Brubaker has set up the last few years. Instead, Remender has set up an incredible new direction that has a Jack Kirby feel to it yet also a completely modern one. I was saddened a bit over the the thought of no more Brubaker but Remender is gearing up to make his mark on CAPTAIN AMERICA equally memorable.