Steve Rogers: Captain America #1 (Marvel Comics)
After a successful movie and being restored to his youth, Steve Rogers returns in Nick Spencer and Jesus Saiz’s Steve Rogers: Captain America. While I haven’t been as into Spencer’s Sam Wilson series, I have to admit, there’s a lot to like in this issue. For those looking for more straight-forward Cap action, it’s hard to knock this as this opening issue has a lot of what Captain America fans love: Cap smacking Hydra goons with his shield. But there’s also a really major cliffhanger that may leave some scratching their heads.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Steve Rogers finds, well, Steve Rogers back in the Captain America suit. After the events of Avengers: Standoff, Rogers has been restored to his youthful self, and is ready to bring the hurt to a newly reborn Hydra. Under the watchful eye of the Red Skull, Hydra has become an even more hateful organization, this time adding race crimes to their long list of criminal activity. At a time when the nation is most divided, Red Skull has found the perfect way to gain followers, and it’s up to Cap to stop him.
Until I got to the last page, which is, quite frankly, one of the craziest cliffhangers this year. Of course it’s not going to stick, but it’s a good example of how Nick Spencer, who is awesome on books like Astonishing Ant-Man and The Fix, isn’t the best fit for this type of book. Sure, Steve Rogers starts off really strong, but there’s simply not enough set up to really make the “reveal” stick. Not only that, but there’s a weird sense of humor throughout the book. Having Rick Jones crack corny IT jokes is one thing, but once Cap comes across Baron Zemo and his “Masters of Evil” made up of D-listers, it’s hard not to roll your eyes. Zemo even says “toodles!” at one point. It seems like Spencer is still mastering the balancing act of humor and action in his books, and a lot of the humor in this issue seems out of place. Despite this, there are still some intriguing moments to be found in this issue, like an interesting look into Steve’s time with his mother in Brooklyn, and a great look into how a person could join up with Hydra.
Jesus Saiz’s art is the reason to pick this up. Saiz, who brings a real great sense of fluidity and motion to this issue, executes the action sequences that Spencer scripts out beautifully. It’s hard to think of a better fit for this issue to be honest. Saiz is so good that he even makes Cap’s new shield and costume look pretty cool, even if I still can’t buy that the new triangular design is superior to the classic round shield.
Steve Rogers Captain America is definitely forging a different path than previous volumes in Cap’s comic book history, and while I’m a little unsure of some of it, I have to admit, it does have potential. As weird as the cliffhanger is, I’ve gotta check out the next issue to see if it’s legit or not (I’m betting it’s a bait and switch). Hopefully Nick Spencer can find the balance between serious and comedic soon with Steve Rogers: Captain America. Once he does, we may have a pretty stellar Captain America series on our hands again.