Best Shots Extra: Captain America: Reborn #1

POLL: Should Captain America Come Back?

Captain America: Reborn #1 (of 6)

Written by Ed Brubaker

Art by Bryan Hitch, Butch Guice, and Paul Mounts (colors)

From Marvel Comics

Ed Brubaker wastes no time in reminding readers why the Marvel Universe is better with Steve Rogers in it.

Reading the first issue of Captain America: Reborn went a long way in explaining the true purposes of the last few months of Captain America. Cap #50 was a worthy celebration of Bucky’s successful career as the bearer of the blue cowl. #600 shed the final tears for the memory of the fallen American hero, and punctuated the state of the world in the hero’s void. As a celebration of his memory, the story worked well. As the singular object of marketing hype, and subsequent scrutiny, it was a bit light on action.

Well Reborn doesn’t have that issue.

Bryan Hitch proves to be a brilliant choice to draw this Cap saga. His penchant for widescreen action gives the visual emphasis and `oomph’ needed to differentiate between this series and the regular Captain America ongoing. That title’s remarkably consistent visual tone and tenor has worked well to play up the story’s espionage aspects, but while Butch Guice’s embellishments here carry a hint of artistic continuity from those pages onto these, the blockbuster visual pitch and bombastically stunning splashes are trademark Hitch-ian. Like a Hollywood superstar in a leading role, Hitch’s presence carries a gravitas and expectation of quality on a project. This goes a long way in explaining why it made sense editorially to offer this as its own miniseries, as the art itself basically distinguishes itself as “event-worthy.” Of course, as creators plead with readers to understand, an “event” is little more than trade-dress for an especially noteworthy story. The important thing is if it makes for good comics. Let’s just hope it ships on time.

During his tenure as king of the world, Tony Stark was a prominent figure in this book. It made sense; Captain America has always had some sort of relationship with the foremost military figure on the planet, as he did with Nick Fury. Well nowadays, that means Norman Osborn. Given his druthers, Bucky will opt to play towards the shadows, and avoid overt confrontations. But the role of Captain America demands a willingness to openly fight the good fight. Further, now that the once-Green Goblin has draped himself in Cap’s colors in an attempt to subvert and bastardize the icon’s image, it was only a matter of time until he was forced to face off with Cap’s crew. Finally, Osborn has managed to find an entry point to the arch-nemesis club that have haunted this entire creative run, and thus made himself into an adversary worthy to be featured in the story of Steve Rogers’ return.

But where is Cap? Where has he been? And what will be the vehicle of his return? Well I’m not going to spoil the whole damn thing, but Bru and crew stay true to their promise to tell a story that plays within the parameters that they’ve built. It is a mechanism that will be familiar to savvy pop-cultural experts, and doesn’t take the easy bailout of “Hey, don’t we have a Cosmic Cube…?” This issue’s opening salvo gives us a little the lay of the land for Cap’s associates, with Bucky, Black Widow, Sharon Carter, The Falcon and even Nick Fury working in cohesion to piece together the plan to resurrect their fallen friend. The scope of this story resonates on each and every page.

Cap has been gone a long time, so it is jarring that the return of his voice on the page again is so noticeably innately reassuring. These are dark days, but the war isn’t over yet. Hope, Brubaker, Hitch, Guice, and Mounts promise, is Reborn.

It’s about time.

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