Rick Remender’s run on Captain America started out fairly bumpy, with the uneven-but-generally-at-least-good Dimension Z storyline, that also overstayed it’s welcome by an issue or two. Ever since coming back to the mainstream Marvel U, things have picked up enormously in terms of the storytelling in the book. Captain America’s whole “man out of time” component is one of those things, like Batman’s urban myth status, that’s somewhat hard to sustain over years, not to mention decades. The fact is eventually Cap’s going to adjust to modern life as he was frozen at a young enough age that he’ll have eventually had more years in the present than the past, but by transplanting him into another, hostile, dimension for 13 years, he’s now become a man out of place. Particularly after suffering two of the greatest losses a person can suffer. We also get some great, not exactly subtle, political commentary through Nuke, a character who literally looks like an ubermensch with an American flag tattooed across his face. He rampages across a Middle Eastern country, murdering anyone in his path while screaming about how the region has ruined America’s idyllic view of her soldiers. Again, not subtle, but at least interesting and even a little thought-provoking, particularly when Falcon questions the legality and morality of S.H.I.E.L.D. instituting a full media blackout to prevent an international incident.
Artist Nic Klein replaces series regular Carlos Pacheco but with Dean White on colors, the transition is a smooth one. The visuals in this issue are definitely focused on action, particularly in the second half when Cap and Falcon arrive. Nuke’s always been something of a B-lister, but this book elevates him organically, making him into a legitimate threat against two of the Marvel U’s finest and those scenes are vicious and fluid with a tremendous sense of impact.
As much as I really did enjoy the art, it lacks a lot of the finer details that Pacheco is known for. Ordinarily I wouldn’t necessarily compare two different artists on the same book, but this is only a temporary situation and the two styles are VERY similar. Again, this helps smooth the transition from one to the next, but the quality suffers somewhat, especially in direct comparison.
I absolutely love the direction this book has taken and have been enjoying it a great deal more since it took it. It’s a great use of a little utilized villain, it’s got tremendous psychological potential for the main character and it uses his supporting cast expertly.Cap’s not the easiest character to write but Remender seems to have him down pat. The art, despite a few flaws, has a great sense of motion and impact, and in an issue like this, that counts for plenty.