Archive for September, 2015

Captain America #603: Bucky Barnes

September 30, 2015

Captain America 603A-story: Ed Brubaker // Luke Ross
April 2010
A-story: ***

A classic Marvel plot: New Cap & the Falcon scope out a right-wing militia. The quality is concomitant w/ your enjoyment of that trope. Note the absence of women. Romance acts as a drag on this Cap run: the dialogue is awkward, & women mainly act like beards. Comics for two-fisted liberal men!

B-story: Rikki Barnes
last issue: Captain America#602
next issue: Captain America #604

also indexed for Apr. ’10
Fantastic Four #576
Guardians of the Galaxy #23
The Marvels Project #6 of 8
Nova #34
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 of 5

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The Marvels Project #6 of 8

September 29, 2015

Marvels Project 6 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
April 2010
***

Namor deluges NYC, in a catastrophe meant to echo 9/11 & organize the heroes. Epting’s in his element on a ready-for-CGI moment: a disaster-porn setpiece. But Brubaker’s heart & eye are on his new character, the WW1 supersoldier, who finds a diabolic Red Skull in league w/ a blue-skinned Atlantean!

last issue: The Marvels Project #5 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #7 of 8

also indexed for Apr. ’10
Captain America #603
Fantastic Four #576
Guardians of the Galaxy #23
Nova #34
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #4 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #4 of 5

Captain America #602: Bucky Barnes

September 28, 2015

Captain America 602A-story: Ed Brubaker // Luke Ross
March 2010
A-story: ****

Brubaker unpauses his plot about ’50s Cap, who’s in Idaho forming a militia. An anti-tax protest & other comments cast the psychotic, stunted, onetime McCarthyite as a Cap for Tea Party patriots. It’s a clever commentary on contempo politics in keeping w/ the mag’s liberal tradition.

B-story: Rikki Barnes
continued from Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield #1 of 1
last issue: Captain America #601
next issue: Captain America #603

also indexed for Mar. ’10
Captain America: Reborn #6 of 6
The Marvels Project #5 of 8
Fantastic Four #575
Guardians of the Galaxy #22
Nova #33
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 of 5

Captain America: Reborn #6 of 6

September 27, 2015

Captain America Reborn 6 of 6Ed Brubaker // Bryan Hitch
March 2010
****

Sharon Carter & Steve Rogers (recovered from his “death”) defeat the Red Skull—even tho’ he’s a giant-size robot! That awesome climax, totally in bounds given the set-up, almost makes me forgive the (editorially dictated?) delay of the resurrection & Bucky’s now-superfluous promotion to captaincy.

continued in Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield #1 of 1
last issue: Captain America: Reborn #5 of 6

also indexed for Mar. ’10
Captain America #602
The Marvels Project #5 of 8
Fantastic Four #575
Guardians of the Galaxy #22
Nova #33
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 of 5

The Marvels Project #5 of 8

September 26, 2015

Marvels Project 5 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
March 2010
**

Capt. America arrives, his action-hero dynamism instantly eclipsing the rest of the book. Part of TMP‘s problem is its unclear stakes: what more are Nazi spies hoping to achieve in 1940 NYC? And part is the POV hero, the Angel, a generic mystery man. Brubaker has carte blanche—this is it?

last issue: The Marvels Project #4 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #6 of 8

also indexed for Mar. ’10
Captain America #602
Captain America: Reborn #6 of 6
Fantastic Four #575
Guardians of the Galaxy #22
Nova #33
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #3 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #3 of 5

Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield #1 of 1

September 25, 2015

Captain America - Who Will Wield the Shield 1 of 1Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice & Luke Ross
February 2010
***

A cash-grab epilogue to Cap: Reborn, pre-empting its climax in #6. Ironically it’s the strongest of the 3 Cap issues this month. EB gets into his stoic warriors and their manly virtues—respect, honor, patriotism, heterosexuality, etc.—and ends w/ a new status quo as Rogers gets a SHIELD promotion.

continued from Captain America: Reborn #6 of 6
continued in Secret Avengers #1

also indexed for Feb. ’10
Captain America: Reborn #5 of 6
Fantastic Four #574
Guardians of the Galaxy #21
The Marvels Project #4 of 8
Nova #32
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

Captain America: Reborn #5 of 6

September 24, 2015

Captain America Reborn 5 of 6Ed Brubaker // Bryan Hitch
February 2010
**

Padding: a slugfest on the Washington Mall, as the Red Skull fights Bucky in Cap’s body, & Steve Rogers in Cap’s mindscape. This should’ve been #49, instead of #5 of 6 in another cash-grab event mini. Hitch draws okay panels (w/ figures very like Neal Adams), but he can’t lay a page out well.

last issue: Captain America: Reborn #4 of 6
next issue: Captain America: Reborn #6 of 6

also indexed for Feb. ’10
Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? #1 of 1
Fantastic Four #574
Guardians of the Galaxy #21
The Marvels Project #4 of 8
Nova #32
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

The Marvels Project #4 of 8

September 23, 2015

Marvels Project 4 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
February 2010
***

An interesting subject: an espionage tale about the Nazi who infiltrated the Super-Soldier project back in CA Comics #1. Who was this guy? A 1950s comic would’ve gotten into his head, but in Bru & Ept’s hands he’s a cypher. At least the subplot (a mystery-man tracks the Nazis in NYC) picks up steam.

last issue: The Marvels Project #5 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #3 of 8

also indexed for Feb. ’10
Captain America: Reborn #5 of 6
Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? #1 of 1
Fantastic Four #574
Guardians of the Galaxy #21
Nova #32
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #2 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #2 of 5

Captain America: Reborn #4 of 6

September 22, 2015

Captain America Reborn 4 of 6Ed Brubaker // Bryan Hitch
January 2010
***

Cap returns to Now to serve as the host for an uploaded Red Skull. It’s as good as Waid’s ’90s resurrection, but revivals are rarely as compelling as deaths. Here, non-Cap characters (eg Dr Doom) crowd out the book’s cast (eg Zola), with the Vision acting as Cap’s message-in-a-bottle.

last issue: Captain America: Reborn #3 of 6
next issue: Captain America: Reborn #5 of 6

also indexed for Jan. ’10
Fantastic Four #573
Guardians of the Galaxy #20
Nova #31
Realm of Kings #1 of 1
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #1 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #1 of 5

The Marvels Project #3 of 8

September 21, 2015

Marvels Project 3 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
December 2009
***

Compared to Brubaker’s other four (!) mags, this mini is kinda rote. The hard-boiled captions lack pulpy urgency, while the setting upstages the action. Epting’s realism just isn’t dynamic here, a shortcoming most obv in his storyboard staging of a Coney Island showdown btw Namor & the Human Torch.

last issue: The Marvels Project #2 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #4 of 8

also indexed for Dec. ’09
Fantastic Four #572
Guardians of the Galaxy #19
Nova #30

Captain America: Reborn #3 of 6

September 20, 2015

Captain America Reborn 3 of 6Ed Brubaker // Bryan Hitch
November 2009
***

Although I’m enjoying this mini, I suspect it would fit better in the serial mag. BH’s pedigree (Authority, Ultimates) is stronger than his cinematic panels & dullish layouts. But it matches EB’s plot for #3, which is simply action-movie combat; he’s more interested in touring Cap continuity.

last issue: Captain America: Reborn #2 of 6
next issue: Captain America: Reborn #4 of 6

also indexed for Nov. ’09
Fantastic Four #571
Guardians of the Galaxy #18
The Marvels Project #3 of 8
Nova #29
War of Kings: Who Will Rule #1 of 1

The Marvels Project #2 of 8

September 19, 2015

Marvels Project 2 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
November 2009
***

TMP‘s frame follows a mystery man thru his crimefighting career; his reflective tone echoes Watchmen‘s elder Nite Owl to the point of retreading. The creators seem more enthused by their wartime plot, whose espionage allows for Nazi villainy, GI heroics, & pulp-SF tropes like a superman in a tube.

last issue: The Marvels Project #1 of 8
next issue: The Marvels Project #3 of 8

also indexed for Nov. ’09
Captain America Reborn #3 of 6
Fantastic Four #571
Guardians of the Galaxy #18
Nova #29
War of Kings: Who Will Rule #1 of 1

Captain America: Reborn #2 of 6

September 18, 2015

Captain America Reborn 2 of 6Ed Brubaker // Bryan Hitch
October 2009
****

Cap is stuck in a bardo between lives, or Nietzsche’s eternal return w/ sci-fi trappings. Whatever: he’s an unhappy onlooker in Bru’s hard-boiled captions as Hitch restages his tragic origin. Meanwhile Norman Osborne (a Ditko character!) pushes the plot as the new head of Marvel’s superspy agency.

last issue: Captain America: Reborn #1 of 6
next issue: Captain America: Reborn #3 of 6

also indexed for Oct. ’09
Daredevil #500
Fantastic Four #570
Guardians of the Galaxy #17
The Marvels Project #1 of 8
Nova #28
War of Kings #6 of 6
War of Kings: Warriors #2 of 2

The Marvels Project #1 of 8

September 17, 2015

Marvels Project 1 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
October 2009
****

Caught short by the buzz around Captain America’s death, Marvel gives Brubaker one mini to resurrect the hero & another for fun. He does a full period piece, drawing the company’s 1940s characters together into a plot-network around the super-serum & a secret experiment in Nazi eugenics labs.

next issue: The Marvels Project #2 of 6

also indexed for Oct. ’09
Captain America: Reborn #2 of 6
Daredevil #500
Fantastic Four #570
Guardians of the Galaxy #17
Nova #28
War of Kings #6 of 6
War of Kings: Warriors #2 of 2

Captain America: Reborn #1 of 6

September 16, 2015

Captain America Reborn 1 of 6Ed Brubaker // Bryan Hitch
September 2009
****

Surprising no one, Steve Rogers didn’t die—sort of. Lifting ideas from Vonnegut & TV’s Lost, Bru has set Cap adrift in his own timeline. This high concept would feel stronger if it weren’t for Hitch’s blockbuster-style uber-realism, which fits poorly with comic-book gonzo & Kirbytech.

continued from Captain America #601
next issue: Captain America: Reborn #2 of 6

also indexed for Sept. ’09
Captain America #601
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #16
Nova #27
War of Kings #5 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #4 of 4
War of Kings: Warriors #1 of 2

Captain America #601

September 15, 2015

Captain America 601Ed Brubaker // Gene Colan
September 2009
*****

Thank editor Brevoort for this extra fill-in—one of the run’s best issues! Bucky recounts a WW2 face-off w/ a vampire child noshing on GIs in the Ardennes! It resonates w/ the ugly work of occupation in contemp Iraq. But the real story is Colan, 83, whose penciled finishes are eerie & gorgeous!

continued in Captain America: Reborn #1 of 6
last issue: Captain America #600
next issue: Captain America #602

also indexed for Sept. ’09
Captain America: Reborn #1 of 6
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #5 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #16
Nova #27
War of Kings #5 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #4 of 4
War of Kings: Warriors #1 of 2

Captain America #600

September 14, 2015

Captain America 600a-plot: Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice with David Aja, Raphael Albaquerque, Mitch Breitweiser, & Howard Chaykin
b-plot:  Roger Stern // Kalman Andrasofszky
c-plot: Mark Waid // Dale Eaglesham
August 2009
a-plot: ***
b-plot: *****
c-plot: ****

Dubious accounting allows Marvel to claim that #600 follows #50. It checks in w/ all the plots, acting as a friendly prologue to next month’s resurrection. Yep, Sharon Carter suspects that she didn’t gun her BF down after all! Ironically, this ish means to memorialize the hero, but only the strong back-ups succeed. On an Astro City periphery, Stern draws on 9/11 by casting Bernie Rosenthal (his Cap run’s romantic foil) as a refugee from NYC after the hero’s assassination.

continued in Captain America: Reborn #1 of 6
last issue: Captain America #50
next issue: Captain America #601

also indexed for Aug. ’09
Daredevil #119
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #4 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #15
Nova #26
War of Kings #4 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #3 of 4

Captain America #50

September 13, 2015

Captain America 50a-plot: Ed Brubaker // Luke Ross
b-plot: Ed Brubaker // Marcos Martin
July 2009
a-plot: ***
b-plot: ****

Brubaker mirrors his half-century on CA by celebrating Bucky’s birthday & flashing back to his notable natal revels during the Big One. Bru used this device better in a Winter Soldier one-shot, partly cuz the sentiment felt earned & partly cuz its pencils were stronger than Ross’s generic movietone. A few bonus pages, a mod origin recap from Marcos Martin, do more w/ #50’s higher page count.

last issue: Captain America #49
next issue: Captain America #600

also indexed for Jul. ’09
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #3 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #14
Nova #25
War of Kings #3 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #2 of 4

Captain America #49

September 12, 2015

Captain America 49Ed Brubaker // Luke Ross
June 2009
****

The mag shifts to a novelistic pace as Sharon Carter begins to recover repressed memories, incl. her pregnancy & Cap’s aborted resurrection. #49 extends the themes of mind & memory in other ways too, mirroring its protag’s convalescence w/ ’50s Cap’s amnesia & Aunt Peggy’s Alzheimers.

last issue: Captain America #48
next issue: Captain America #50

also indexed for Jun. ’09
Daredevil #118
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #2 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #13
Nova #24
War of Kings #2 of 6
War of Kings: Ascension #1 of 4

Captain America #48

September 11, 2015

Captain America 48Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
May 2009
****

Brubaker’s past work w/ Greg Rucka shows itself in his Widow’s ultra-competence. Also, he—thru the agency of Namor—kills off both the villains introed in this act! The main baddie is a Yellow Peril riff (uh-oh) brought into the 21st century: a mad sci whose bioweapons will ‘solve’ overpopulation!

last issue: Captain America #47
next issue: Captain America #49

also indexed for May ’09
Daredevil #117
Dark Reign: Fantastic Four #1 of 5
Guardians of the Galaxy #11
Guardians of the Galaxy #12
Nova #23
War of Kings #1 of 6
War of Kings: Darkhawk #2 of 2

Captain America #47

September 10, 2015

Captain America 47Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
April 2009
****

Ultra-readable superspy comics. Brubaker gives his 21st century Cap a masochistic conscience over his Cold War crimes. He also creates a new character (!) in an old mold: a megalomaniacal supervillain! This Chinese Dr. Moreau splices the android DNA of Timely’s first mystery man into a viral weapon.

last issue: Captain America #46
next issue: Captain America #48

also indexed for Apr. ’09
Daredevil #116
Guardians of the Galaxy #10
Nova #22
War of Kings: Darkhawk #1 of 2

Captain America #46

September 9, 2015

Captain America 46Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
March 2009
***

Bru braids Bucky’s Cold War espionage with an earlier addition to the character’s history: the Invaders, created by Roy “Master of the Retcon” Thomas. Amid much skulduggery, Bucky & Namor team up to recover the android corpse of their fellow WW2 vet, the Human Torch, from a Chinese mad scientist.

last issue: Captain America #45
next issue: Captain America #47

also indexed for Mar. ’09
Daredevil #115
Guardians of the Galaxy #9
Nova #21
Secret Invasion: War of Kings #1 of 1

Captain America #45

September 8, 2015

Captain America 45Ed Brubaker // Luke Ross & Jackson Guice
February 2009
****

The core of #45 is a well-staged fight that Bucky loses (his GF saves him). He retreated in ’68 too: flash back to a spectral Chinese superspy whose look homages the Shadow. But the issue’s appeal is its maguffin, the robotic corpse of Bucky’s onetime comrade-in-arms, Jim Hammond—the Human Torch!

last issue: Captain America #44
next issue: Captain America #46

also indexed for Feb. ’09
Daredevil #114
Guardians of the Galaxy #8
Nova #20

Captain America #44

September 7, 2015

Captain America 44Ed Brubaker // Luke Ross
January 2009
***

Cap tracks the French merc thru the underworld & onto the FDR, where an armored convoy transports a dirty secret for the UN. The Dark Knight hangs heavily over this comic’s visual style, in its heavy-duty highway sequence but also in its drab, generic city-scape & its casual displays of violence.

last issue: Captain America #43
next issue: Captain America #45

also indexed for Jan. ’09
Daredevil #113
Guardians of the Galaxy #7
Nova #19

Captain America #43

September 6, 2015

Captain America 43Ed Brubaker // Luke Ross
December 2008
***

That happened quickly: Bucky is now shacking up w/ the Black Widow. On the plus side, his first regular case as Cap involves a cult favorite (of mine, anyway), Lee/Kirby’s French martial artist Batroc. Add a flashback to Japanese-held Beijing, subtract Epting’s art, and you’ve got New Cap.

last issue: Captain America #42
next issue: Captain America #44

also indexed for Dec. ’08
Daredevil #112
Guardians of the Galaxy #6
Nova #18

Captain America #42

September 5, 2015

Captain America 42Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting & Luke Ross
November 2008
****

Agent 13 impedes but doesn’t foil the Kirby robo-scientist’s plan to restore the Red Skull—in Cap’s resurrected body? The drama means more of Bucky Barnes in the role. Brubaker has pulled off an Alan Moore-style storytelling coup by re-inventing a classic character.

last issue: Captain America #41
next issue: Captain America #43

also indexed for Nov. ’08
Daredevil #111
Guardians of the Galaxy #5
Nova #17

Captain America #41

September 4, 2015

Captain America 41Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
October 2008
****

Doc Faustus shaves his singular beard & betrays his allies to SHIELD; he also wipes the pregnancy from Carter’s memory. Erasing that event so thoroughly feels dishonest—& odd, since every other subplot fits so well into Brubaker’s epic storyline. He’s set Barnes up perfectly to replace Rogers as Cap!

last issue: Captain America #40
next issue: Captain America #42

also indexed for Oct. ’08
Daredevil #110
Guardians of the Galaxy #4
Nova #16

Captain America #40

September 3, 2015

Captain America 40Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
September 2008
****

Fight fans will enjoys #40: a bout for the title, as Buck faces a mad doppelgänger of Steve Rogers to be called Captain America. The undercard is Sharon Carter’s quick tussle w/ the Skull’s psycho daughter, another failed escape attempt that leaves our pregnant heroine w/ a Bowie knife in her gut!

last issue: Captain America #39
next issue: Captain America #41

also indexed for Sept. ’08
Daredevil #109
Guardians of the Galaxy #3
Nova #15

Captain America #39

September 2, 2015

Captain America 39Ed Brubaker // Roberto de la Torre
August 2008
****

The bad Cap (of Englehart’s retcon) throws his support behind the Red Skull’s third-party demagogue. Meanwhile Agent 13 engineers yet another kick-ass escape from the villains’ lair. And Epting needs another reliever: de la Torre’s more off-model than the others, w/ a more expressionistic line.

last issue: Captain America #38
next issue: Captain America #40

also indexed for Aug. ’08
Daredevil #108
Guardians of the Galaxy #2
The Immortal Iron Fist #16
Nova #14
Runaways #30
Thunderbolts #121

Captain America #38

September 1, 2015

Captain America 38Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
July 2008
****

Brubaker has found that sublime rhythm where each ish has an individual beat that moves an epic plot forward. Here it’s the re-intro of the McCarthy-era Cap, a naïve pawn in the villains’ complex plan to undermine America. It augers the Tea Party’s rise & ties artfully to the out-of-time theme.

last issue: Captain America #37
next issue: Captain America #39

also indexed in Jul. ’08
Giant-Size Astonishing X-Men #1 of 1
Daredevil #107
Guardians of the Galaxy #1
The Immortal Iron Fist #15
Nova #13
Thunderbolts #120