Archive for the ‘Red Skull’ Category

The Marvels Project #7 of 8

October 1, 2015

Marvels Project 7 of 8Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
May 2010
****

The Marvel U’s supersoldiers contribute intel for American readiness, helping Cap stop an Atlantean attack on DC—part of the Axis plans for Dec. 7, 1941! Tho’ it arcs over a year of action, TMP might work better collected. It’s paced like a Le Carré novel, all its threads knotted in conspiracy.

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

also indexed for May ’10
Captain America #604
Fantastic Four #577
Guardians of the Galaxy #24
Nova #35
Realm of Kings: Imperial Guard #5 of 5
Realm of Kings: Inhumans #5 of 5

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: 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: 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

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

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

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 #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 #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

Captain America #37

August 31, 2015

Captain America 37Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice & Mike Perkins
June 2008
*****

The debt to Manchurian Candidate grows as the Skull’s pet pol announces a third-party bid for Prez. Epting supplies his co-creation Bucky with visits from Cap’s other ‘sons’ & a Freudian nightmare about replacing Steve Rogers. Also nice is the ’44 Lib of Paris from the Skull’s perspec.

last issue: Captain America #36
next issue: Captain America #38

also indexed for Jun. ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #6 of 6
Daredevil: Blood of the Tarantula #1 of 1
The Immortal Iron Fist #14
Nova #12

Captain America #36

August 30, 2015

Captain America 36Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice & Mike Perkins
May 2008
****

A Halliburton-type firm owned by the Red Skull takes credit for Bucky Cap’s first big gig: stopping the Serpent Squad from assassinating a senator. Our hero also fails to calm Wash DC’s fear-gassed rioters, unlike his predecessor. Epting’s still MIA, but JG & MP do solid realistic fill-in work.

last issue: Captain America #35
next issue: Captain America #37

also indexed for May ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #5 of 6
Daredevil #106
The Immortal Iron Fist #13
Nova #11
Thunderbolts #119

Captain America #35

August 29, 2015

Captain America 35Ed Brubaker // Butch Guice
April 2008
****

Kirby & Simon’s Nazi supervillain is camouflaged as Dick Cheney! He’s untouchable as an oligarch, secretly profiting off a crashing economy, & as backroom chief of a private security firm, firing on protesters! Guice, an art-n-ink man since the ’80s, has a style more illustrative & less cinematic.

last issue: Captain America #34
next issue: Captain America #36

also index for Apr. ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #4 of 6
Daredevil #105
Nova Annual #1
The Immortal Iron Fist: Orson Randall & the Green Mist of Death #1 of 1
Runaways #29

Captain America #34

August 28, 2015

Captain America 34Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
March 2008
*****

This 21C Cap is the type of hero who kneecaps foes w/ a gun: an update for our era of mass shootings? But what’s unequivocally brilliant is the Red Skull’s latest plan. Dressed in Brooks Brothers, he profits by collapsing the US economy & directs his suborned SHIELD riot-cops to open fire on a protest!

last issue: Captain America #33
next issue: Captain America #35

also indexed for Mar. ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #3 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #24
Daredevil #104
Nova #10

Captain America #33

August 27, 2015

Captain America 33Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
February 2008
*****

Bucky escapes from custody &, in enemy territory, fights Iron Man to a draw. The kinetic, well-staged action setpiece that this epic arc has needed: superbly staged (aside from a generic setting), each page a storytelling beat. It finally shows how superbad this new character is, a Cap for the 21C.

last issue: Captain America #32
next issue: Captain America #34

also indexed for Feb. ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #2 of 6
Daredevil #103
The Immortal Iron Fist #12
Nova #9
Thunderbolts #118

Captain America #32

August 26, 2015

Captain America 32Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
January 2008
****

A rare chase-in-a-base sequence that’s gripping, due less to Bucky Barnes’ badass escape than to Sharon Carter’s opaque motives. Via captions, her psyche struggles to free itself from mind control. Even her heroic actions have a sinister gloss: to save Buck, she shoves him out a cargo plane!

last issue: Captain America #31
next issue: Captain America #33

also indexed for Jan. ’08
Annihilation: Conquest #1 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #23
The Immortal Iron Fist #11
Nova #8

Captain America #31

August 25, 2015

Captain America 31Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
December 2007
****

Agent 13 has fallen to the mesmerist w/ a glorious beard, but the Winter Soldier resists the memory manipulation. The tough-guy torture has a sour taste (despite Epting’s homage to a classic Steranko splash), & so does the damsel-in-distress, despite 13’s subconscious refusal to kill again.

last issue: Captain America #30
next issue: Captain America #32

also indexed for Dec. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Starlord
 #4 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith
 #4 of 4
Daredevil #102
Daredevil Annual #1
The Immortal Iron Fist #10
Nova #7
Runaways #28
Thunderbolts #117

Captain America #30

August 24, 2015

Captain America 30Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
November 2007
****

Tony Stark, Director of SHIELD, is portrayed adroitly as a grey suit of dubious motives. He’s part of a great ensemble cast, most of whom are now mind-controlled or captured by the Skull’s hypno-henchman! In a nice break from mid-’00s structuring, part 6 of 6 is a cliffhanger & not a TBP’s climax.

last issue: Captain America #29
next issue: Captain America #31

also indexed for Nov. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #3 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Starlord #3 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #3 of 4
Daredevil #101
The Immortal Iron Fist #9
The Immortal Iron Fist Annual #1
Nova #6

Captain America #29

August 23, 2015

Captain America 29Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
October 2007
****

Bru’s Cap has a lurid sense of psychology: the Soviet’s mindscape is a battlefield, & the psycho lovers share a clinch as they escape prison, & Agent 13 has morning sickness! But the art begins to flag. Epting stages phony movie ultraviolence; Perkins renders the astral plane in dull hyper-realism.

last issue: Captain America #28
next issue: Captain America #30

also indexed for Oct. ’07
Annihilation: Conquest: Quasar #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Starlord #2 of 4
Annihilation: Conquest: Wraith #2 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #22
Daredevil #100
The Immortal Iron Fist #8
Nova #5
Thunderbolts #116

Captain America #26

August 20, 2015

Captain America 26Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
May 2007
****

Everyone at Captain America’s wake commends Sam Wilson on his eulogy (much better than hearing it). The Falcon’s cool is a balance to Bucky, who starts a bar brawl. Meanwhile the bad guys gloat & toy w/ their Doom-built time machine. A great scene—it’s a shame Epting couldn’t draw the whole ish.

last issue: Captain America #25
next issue: Captain America #27

also indexed for May ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #2 of 2
Astonishing X-Men #21
Daredevil #95
Thunderbolts #112

Captain America #25

August 19, 2015

Captain America 25Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
April 2007
*****

Out of nowhere but built up perfectly, Cap gets killed (by his GF, unwitting agent of the Skull)! #25 provides a finale to the ignominious Civil War, & resonates w/ current events as the act of terror is staged in Lower Manhattan, where he’s arraigned for civil trial rather than military tribunal.

continued from Civil War #7 of 7
continued from Winter Soldier: Winter Kills #1 of 1
last issue: Captain America #24
next issue: Captain America #26

also indexed for Apr. ’07
Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus #1 of 2
Daredevil #94
Dr. Strange: The Oath #5 of 5
The Immortal Iron Fist #4
Thunderbolts #111

Captain America #24

August 17, 2015

Captain America 24Ed Brubaker // Mike Perkins
January 2006
***

Cap, on the run from SHIELD, busts a terrorist ring on a tip from Col. Fury; meanwhile the Red Skull recruits another ally in his mad vendetta. Some of the best superspy comics that Marvel’s produced since the gadget-happy heyday of Kirby & Steranko, even factoring in the hackwork fill-in art.

continued in Winter Soldier: Winter Kills #1 of 1
last issue: Captain America #23
next issue: Captain America #25

also indexed for Jan. ’06
Annihilation #4 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #19
Civil War #7 of 7
Daredevil #91
Dr. Strange: The Oath #2 of 5
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #10
Runaways #22

Captain America #23

August 16, 2015

Captain America 23Ed Brubaker // Mike Perkins
December 2006
***

Bucky, Nick Fury’s new recruit, runs ops against SHIELD during the Civil War brouhaha. The fracas also provides time for the Red Skull to make an unlikely alliance with Dr. Doom! CA‘s fill-in artist has a stiffness that’s common to cinematic realists, & pencils some awkward bodies to boot.

last issue: Captain America #22
next issue: Captain America #24

also indexed for Dec. ’06
Annihilation #3 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #18
Civil War #6 of 7
Daredevil #90
Dr. Strange: The Oath #1 of 5
The Immortal Iron Fist #2
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #9
Runaways #21

Captain America #22

August 15, 2015

Captain America 22Ed Brubaker // Mike Perkins
November 2006
****

As the morass of Civil War spreads, the mag keeps itself clean. For one thing, it turns the bad politics of that mini into a commentary on the Bush Admin, with Cap acting as Brubaker’s mouthpiece. #22 also adds a headcase to the files: Sharon Carter has been co-opted by the Red Skull’s shrink!

last issue: Captain America #21
next issue: Captain America #23

also indexed for Nov. ’06
Annihilation #2 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #17
Civil War #5 of 7
Daredevil #89
The Immortal Iron Fist #1
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #8
Runaways #20

Captain America #21

August 14, 2015

Captain America 21Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
October 2006
*****

What more do you want from a Captain America comic? An epic battle for the skies of London involves a Nazi supersoldier, a crashing blimp, a giant robot, & the Red Skull vs. 21C Invaders… including Bucky! This fraternal bond threatens to trump Cap’s reignited romance with Kirby creation Agent 13.

last issue: Captain America #20
next issue: Captain America #22

also indexed for Oct. ’06
Annihilation #1 of 6
Astonishing X-Men #16
Civil War #4 of 7
Daredevil #88
Runaways #19

Captain America #20

August 13, 2015

Captain America 20Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
September 2006
****

A three-tiered grid of exceptional widescreen comics over the skies of London! While the ex-KGB oligarch helps stage a giant robot attack at his own corporate event, his psychic lodger (the Red Skull) aims a blimp at Parliament & his proteges pilot a light aircraft into the Soviet’s skyscraper HQ!

last issue: Captain America #19
next issue: Captain America #21

also indexed for Sept. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #4 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #4 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #4 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #4 of 4
Civil War #3 of 7
Daredevil #87
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #7
Runaways #18

Captain America #19

August 12, 2015

Captain America 19Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
August 2006
****

The super-skullduggery gets a film of Londontown grime, w/ MI-5 butting heads w/ SHIELD, & seedy arms dealers, and dockland smugglers from Hamburg who turn out to be super-Nazis! Weirdest of all, the corporate spymaster spends teh ish in a mask of Cap’s archenemy (Epting draws an A+ Red Skull!).

last issue: Captain America #18
next issue: Captain America #20

also indexed for Aug. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #3 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #3 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #3 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #3 of 4
Astonishing X-Men #15
Civil War #2 of 7
Daredevil #86
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #6
Runaways #17
Young Avengers #12

Captain America #18

August 11, 2015

Captain America 18Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
July 2006
****

Cap returns to London (nice fusion of pencil & photo) on the trail of Bucky & his target. Neither hero knows that the ex-Soviet oil magnate has a voice in his skull: our favorite Nazi supervillain! The implication is that modern Russia’s oligarchy is a thin disguise for the same old totalitarianism.

last issue: Captain America #17
next issue: Captain America #19

also indexed for Jul. ’06
Annihilation: Nova #2 of 4
Annihilation: Ronan #2 of 4
Annihilation: Silver Surfer #2 of 4
Annihilation: Super-Skrull #2 of 4
Civil War #1 of 7
Daredevil #85
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #5
Runaways #16
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #5 of 5

Captain America 65th Anniversary Special #1 of 1

August 9, 2015

Captain America 65th Anniversary Special 1 of 1Ed Brubaker // Marcos Martin & Javier Pulido with Mike Perkins
May 2006
****

An anniversary cash-grab doubles as flashback for the mag’s current 2-parter. Late in the war, 19-year-old Bucky falls for a Resistance gamine while he, Cap & the Howling Commandos stop the Red Skull from exhuming a giant medieval robot (built, it seems, by a time-traveling Dr. Doom!). Brubaker fails to sell the romance’s importance, but Martin & Pulido’s matching 2D styles are sublime.

continued from Captain America #16
continued in Captain America #18

also indexed for May ’06
Annihilation: Prologue #1 of 1
Daredevil #83
Iron Man #6
Captain America #16
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #3
The Pulse #14
Runaways #14
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #3 of 5
Young Avengers #11

Captain America #14

August 6, 2015

Captain America 14Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
early April 2006
****

Cap restores Bucky’s memory w/ the arc’s cosmic widget. Brubaker accomplishes a radical addition to Cap‘s mythos, but he doesn’t lend its inevitability a sense of urgency or risk—it’s just a bit too pat, too predictable. And the displays of manly emo are also ham-handed. Still, amazing!

last issue: Captain America #13
next issue: Captain America #15

also indexed for Apr. ’06
Astonishing X-Men #13
Captain America #15
Daredevil #82
Nextwave, Agents of HATE #2
Runaways #13
X-Statix Presents: Dead Girl #2 of 5

Captain America #13

August 5, 2015

Captain America 13Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
January 2006
****

Iron Man helps Cap track the ‘energy signature’ of the plot’s maguffin. SHIELD was supposed to do that back in #2! At any rate, it provides a combat scene w/ a big robot & goons. The core of #13, however, is a heart-to-heart w/ sidekick Falcon, who simply asks Cap what he wants to do. Save Bucky!

last issue: Captain America #12
next issue: Captain America #14

also indexed for Jan. ’06
Daredevil #79
Drax the Destroyer #3 of 4
The Pulse #12
Runaways #10

Captain America #10

August 2, 2015

Captain America 10Ed Brubaker // Lee Weeks
October 2005
***

Week’s fill-in art adds little to the long-perspective reminisce that provides backstory for the alt-timeline that’s swept across Marvel’s comics. In one early fork, Cap & Bucky kill Baron Zemo then capture Hitler! But Cap makes enemies in the ’50s “Mutant Scare”—& walks on the moon in ’55!

last issue: Captain America #9
next issue: Captain America #11

also indexed for Oct. ’05
Daredevil #76
Iron Man #4
Runaways #7
Young Avengers #7

Captain America #5

July 28, 2015

Captain America 05Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark with Steve Epting
May 2005
*****

Lark takes the main art duty for this extended flashback of Cap’s rare visit to WW2’s eastern front. The US has the Invaders, & the Nazis their Axis counterparts, but Russia has only brutality & cunning. That’s echoed in a radical retcon that recasts Bucky as a black-ops commando w/ a Bowie knife!

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

also indexed for May ’05
Astonishing X-Men #10
Daredevil #71
Fantastic Four #524
The Pulse #8
Runaways #2
Secret War
#4 of 5
Young Avengers #2

Avengers/JLA #4 of 4

October 7, 2013

Avengers.JLA 4 of 4Kurt Busiek // George Pérez
December 2003
***

The crossover ends as it must: in an enormous brawl of punching & zapping. Still, the mag’s creative duo amazingly avoid even a whiff of the corporate avarice that must underpin this mini. The grand scope & casual confidence prove a good capstone to the super-teamwork dynamic that defines the Avengers run of Busiek & Pérez et al. Think of it as a victory lap AWA an impressive work of fan-service.

last issue: JLA/Avengers #3 of 4

also indexed for Dec. ’03
Alias #27
New X-Men #148

Captain America #448

September 13, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney
February 1996
***
CA, trapped w/in a Cosmic Cube by the Red Skull, runs A. Moore’s “Man Who Has Everything” scenario. Dream-Bucky, speaking as Cap’s subconsciousness, dispels the illusion that demos Waid’s unnuanced approach to Cap (compared w/ Gruenwald’s New Deal hero).  Garney’s art has panache, synthesizing every mid-’90s art tic, from Jim Lee’s rippling physiques to manga-like jawlines, into smooth coherence.
[last issue: Captain America #447]
[next issue: Captain America #449]

Captain America #447

September 12, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney & Mike Manley
January 1996
***
More running thru a hi-tech base, as the three protags compete to control Kirby’s ultimate deus ex machina, the Comic Cube. The issue does feel padded, esp. w/ several splash pages. But Garney’s clear layouts (finished by Manley) keep the action buzzing, while Waid has set plausibly high stakes.
[last issue: Captain America #446]
[next issue: Captain America #448]

Captain America #446

September 11, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney
December 1995
***
A Cosmic Cube Cult hopes to resurrect Hitler, against the Red Skull’s wishes! Not a bad idea, but most of #446 is formulaic (if well-executed) ’90s supercomics. Cap clenches his jaw to show ethical conflict while his ex-flame, SHIELD Agent Carter, has been made over as a surly mercenary antihero.
[last issue: Captain America #445]
[next issue: Captain America #447]

Captain America #445

September 10, 2012

Mark Waid // Ron Garney
November 1995
****
In a nice parallel scene, an empty coffin is interred at Arlington as medtech rejuvenates the Captain. The save comes via the Red Skull (who’s body is a Cap clone, you’ll recall). The real surprise is his sidekick: the late Sharon Carter! Otherwise, it’s mostly jumpsuited thugs in secret bases.
[last issue: Captain America #444]
[next issue: Captain America #446]

Captain America & the Falcon #212

August 25, 2012

Jack Kirby
August 1977
****
Cap, helped by his superspy sweetie & a Latina revolutionary, blows up his archenemy & a bioengineer in a living Nazi castle—but it costs him his eyesight! In any other hands, this long, 7-issue arc would simply be surreal fun, but Kirby’s dynamic artwork adds strum und drang to the hand-to-hand climax.
[last issue: Captain America & the Falcon #211]
[next issue: Captain America & the Falcon #213]

Captain America & the Falcon #211

August 24, 2012

Jack Kirby
July 1977
****
#211 has so much action, it can’t spare a panel for the Falcon. Arnim Zola hooks his robo-head to an ESP booster to manipulate the biomechanical walls of his castle! Funded by the Red Skull, the madman has saved Hitler’s brain for placement in Cap’s body—the ultimate Kirby horror in will negation!
[last issue: Captain America & the Falcon #210]
[next issue: Captain America & the Falcon #212]

Captain America & the Falcon #210

August 23, 2012

Jack Kirby
June 1977
****
The Red Skull himself bankrolls Dr. Zola, that mad scientist w/ a face in his chest & camera for a kopf! But #210’s real juice is the doc’s bizarre monsters. Last ish introed a flying blob of dough, this has a surreal eye/ear guard, a roc, & a cyborg who argues that his sentience merits his liberty.
[last issue: Captain America & the Falcon #209]
[next issue: Captain America & the Falcon #211]

Captain America’s Bicentennial Battles #1 of 1

August 11, 2012

Jack Kirby
June 1976
****
Kirby fetes his first & most popular hero as well as the US Bicentennial in a King-size special. The issue’s plot sends the Man Out of Time thru his country’s history, courtesy of a mystic yogi. Its best moments see Cap connecting w/ the downtrodden, like miners, Indians, & an escaped slave, or shaking his head at a lunar war & at patriotic pomp. Like a lot of Kirby’s work in the late 1970s, it’s uneven but sections inspire awe. Take the first dozen pages: Windsor-Smith’s inking adds dimensional contours to Kirby’s pencils. This Cap kinda resembles Jack’s WW2-era collab w/ Joe Simon!
[see also Captain America & the Falcon #198]

Tales of Suspense #81: Captain America

January 26, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
September 1966
B-story: ****
This climax to the last 4 issues—like the arc as a whole—is frantic, almost out of control. Maybe that’s because the gadget at its core is too abstract: an energy cube that can power the Red Skull’s victory over mind & matter. Faced w/ the Red Skull Triumphant, Cap fakes submission & sucker punches him.
[A-story: Iron Man]
[last issue: Tales of Suspense #80]
[next issue: Tales of Suspense #82]

Tales of Suspense #80: Captain America

January 25, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
August 1966
B-story: ***
ToS #80 ties a few plot threads together in a loose knot, but the rocketing momentum compensates for that. Meanwhile, Heck’s thin-lined inking isn’t ideal for Kirby’s chunky style. The Red Skull betrays his terrorist allies & steals their invention: a “cosmic cube” that turns will into reality!
[A-story: Iron Man]
[last issue: Tales of Suspense #79]
[next issue: Tales of Suspense #81]

Tales of Suspense #79: Captain America

January 24, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
July 1966
B-story: ****
Once again, the story’s driven by the futuristic, transistor-like designs of Kirbytech. A teutonic helmet broadcasts a hypno-ray that renders its wearer invisible! Its inventors, the yellow-clad sci-terrorists codenamed AIM, have also, ominously, resuscitated Cap’s diabolical archenemy, the Red Skull!
[A-story: Iron Man]
[last issue: Tales of Suspense #78]
[next issue: Tales of Suspense #80]

Tales of Suspense #72: Captain America

January 17, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby & George Tuska
December 1965
B-story: *****
Cap shifts to the modern era, w/ Steve Rogers as the man out of time, suffering survivor’s guilt as vets do. But the past lives on, as a Nazi sleeper cell activates an old plan by that diabolical super-SS agent, the Red Skull. Awesomely, it involves giant robots out of a ’40s Fleischer cartoon!
[A-story: Iron Man]
[last issue: Tales of Suspense #71]
[next issue: Tales of Suspense #73]

Tales of Suspense #68: Captain America

January 13, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
August 1965
B-story: ***
Cap breaks the Red Skull’s mind control—whew! Back on duty, he outsmarts a Nazi agent who’s stolen an experimental disintegrator. Kirby’s found a solid formula for this backup: ’60s superaction in a ’40s setting. Lee, however, doesn’t add his trademark exuberance or interior psychic tension.
[A-story: Iron Man]
[last issue: Tales of Suspense #67]
[next issue: Tales of Suspense #69]

Tales of Suspense #67: Captain America

January 12, 2012

Stan Lee // Jack Kirby
July 1965
B-story: ****
Hitting the height of his creativity, Kirby creates the sort of WW2 Cap stories w/ Lee that you wish he’d done w/ Simon. All of ’41 Europe is his theater, from Hitler’s Berlin to blitzed London. Sidekick Bucky Barnes escapes a POW camp to rescue CA, who’s now the Red Skull’s Manchurian Candidate.
[A-story: Iron Man]
[last issue: Tales of Suspense #66]
[next issue: Tales of Suspense #68]