Captain America #695 marks the character’s first foray into the Marvel Legacy universe, which is a big deal in part because he was a Hydra Nazi for most of this year. Can Mark Waid and Chris Samnee pull him out of the ashes and redeem the character? Knowing these creators the answer is: Most definitely!
So what’s it about?
Why does this matter?
Chris Samnee and Mark Waid created a lights-out fantastic Black Widow series. If they can do that with a character that has less history and charm then we’re in good hands with Cap. ‘Nuff said!
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
Just in case you weren’t aware.
If you’ve been soured by Captain America’s exploits over the last few months or simply lost touch with the character’s Hydra turn you can rest easy: the real Cap is back. The first page solidifies the roots of the character with an excellent 5-panel recap of his origins. The comic then proceeds to cut right to him kicking terrorist butt in a small town in Nebraska. How American hero can you get? The comic does a great job using civilian voices to capture the goodness in Cap and the good he’s done them. Waid and Samnee have crafted a nearly perfect comic here if you’re a fan of the red, white, and blue hero. His goodness is on display, but also his charm, and old school way of looking at things.
Another element Captain America fans are going to love is the roving hero angle that he was known for back in 1980’s. He’s on his own and following leads to help the everyday people of America. There are no aliens, no plots to turn people into monsters — just bad guys that need to get punched in the face. In this case they are terrorists who call themselves Rampart–who I think are new–but they have the usual Nazi way of looking at things. It’s a good idea to introduce a new organization for Cap to beat down, in part to separate him from the “Secret Empire” shenanigans, but also to prove there are more groups we don’t even know about that only Cap can stop.
The art by Samnee is really just perfect for this book and the character. Using well timed full page splashes Samnee and color artist Matthew Wilson imbue a sense of old school superhero fighting. Cap is bright in his blue duds, but also strong and doing it all with little to no effort. This is a Cap who is a savior of the people and a symbol of what is great about America. There are quite a few average everyday people in this book who all have unique and very believable looks. Samnee captures the American spirit not just in Cap, but in the people too.
Oh, hell yeah!
It can’t be perfect can it?
THe comic can be somewhat preachy when it comes to those Cap saved. The book itself at times reads like it’s trying to apologize for turning Captain America into a Hydra agent, which I don’t really agree with. That story is over, we don’t need a message of sorry or regret in any format. These vignettes of those Cap saved serve as reminders of who Cap is, which is certainly valuable since the character hasn’t been himself for so long, but for a reader like myself who enjoyed “Secret Empire” and is totally fine with how the character was Hydra and is now good, it doesn’t seem all that necessary.
Is It Good?
Cap is back and possibly better than ever. This creative team makes magic and with a character as great as Cap it’ll be a spell we won’t want to escape.