Friday, October 3, 2014

'Captain America' No. 25 review

"As the Falcon, he's been right my side -- fighting on the front lines -- for all these years. No magic hammer. No Super-Soldier Serum."
-- Steve Rogers about Sam Wilson
"Let's give it a whirl -- Avengers Assemble!" -- Wilson as Captain America

The great stories put you on an emotional roller coast and deliver the unexpected.

I didn't expect the opening pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA No. 25 to grab me by the throat, but writer Rick Remender did just that.

Remender took me by surprise with the touching way Steve Rogers reacts to being reunited with his best friend, Sam Wilson, (whom Rogers expected had sacrificed his life) and his lover, Sharon Carter. The panel designs by pencilers Carlos Pacheco and Stuart Immonen nail Rogers' expression and body language as he gleefully realizes Wilson is alive and hugs Carter.

(Although I'm generally not a fan of the recap pages at the front of each Marvel Comics issue [as it robs readers of an extra page of storytelling], I was grateful for it here as it caught me up with what's been going on with Rogers. This being the first new Marvel issue I've bought in years and all ...!)

In an issue in which Rogers bows out (again) as Captain America, I didn't expect to laugh out loud. But I did!

The sequence around the iconic Avengers conference table inside Avengers Mansion is deftly handled. There's an ongoing schtick about who ate the min-chimichangas and pizza rolls -- one that features some great repartee among Hawkeye, Spider-Man and the Vision. Who knew Viz was so witty and has such a dry sense of humor that he can dish it out with Hawkeye?

Rogers even tries his hand at some comedy by kidding The Avengers he "henceforth ... will be known as General Geriatric." The team's (non-) response is great and the artists nail the uncomfortable silence.

On a serious note, Remender has a brilliant plan for Rogers, who will "offer tactical support and (will) be orchestrating missions" from Avenrgers Mansion, his "command station." It's not too far from what writer Ed Brubaker did several years when Rogers took on the identity as Commander Rogers, although at that point he was more the face of The Avengers rather than it's tactical guru.

I gotta say the big reveal of Wilson as Captain America on the splash page is tremendous. Wow!

I really appreciate the design of his costume. It doesn't stray too far from Rogers' original suit, but brings in design elements from the Commander Rogers and Falcon costumes. Very cool.

The brief moment when Rogers hands over his shield to Wilson is sweet and poignant. What a great quote by the Living Legend: "She couldn't be in better hands."

If you've read my previous op-eds about Wilson being the new Cap, you know I was extremely skeptical when the news broke. I've turned the corner a bit, having read CAPTAIN AMERICA No. 25 (which honestly feels more like an AVENGERS issue featuring Rogers and Wilson). That's not to say I don't see this Falcon-as-Captain America situation as anything more than temporary, but this issue gives me a feeling, as Rogers said about Wilson using the shield, Captain America's legacy is in good hands. Granted, I knew that since I had opined that having Wilson be the new Cap would be a smooth transition and logical choice.

Now, I am quite looking forward to reading the ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA and CAPTAIN AMERICA AND THE MIGHTY AVENGERS series coming out next month.

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