Friday, June 19, 2009

Random Reviews: Captain America #600

If you haven’t been following Marvel comics recently, you may not be aware that Steve Rogers, a.k.a. Captain America, is currently dead.

Batman seems to have strong opinions on everything. Jeez, Batman.  That was annoying enough when you were complaining about your own supposed death.

I can understand why he is sympathetic to poor Captain America though.  Much like the current Batman comics, Captain America was replaced by his former kid partner.  That has got to be humiliating.  Not to mention, both managed to knock up a lover/enemy.

Obviously, the two men have a lot in common.

Unlike Batman, Captain America has been dead since April 2007.  That is actually pretty long for an iconic superhero like Cap to be dead.  Not surprisingly, Marvel comics decided to bring him back.  Steve Rogers will be returning next month in the upcoming Captain America: Reborn.

However, this month Marvel released Captain America #600.  This issues features 64-pages of worth of (mostly) self-contained stories of various characters reacting to Captain America’s death.  Their quality varies wildly, so I will review each individually.


A five page retelling of Captain America’s origin story.  Oddly, the first two pages are drawn by Alex Ross and tell the iconic origin.  The remaining three pages are obviously tacked on by an uncredited artist and tell the story of him being found by the Avengers and of him being killed during the superhero Civil War .

2 out of 5 Stars.  This would have been more without the tacked on pages.

One Year After: Sharon Carter’s Lament

This is written by regular writer Ed Brubaker and follows Sharon Carter on the anniversary of Captain America’s death.  She was Captain America’s lover.  She was also his killer, thanks to being brainwashed by Dr. Faustus.  This has her tracking down the murder weapon, and serves as setup for the upcoming Captain America: Rebirth story.

4 out of 5 Stars.

One Year After: The Other Steve Rogers

This highlights the other Captain America who fought commies in the 50’s.  This did nothing for me.  The other Steve Rogers was created to fix a continuity hole and was about as logical as Superboy punching continuity.  The story wasn’t bad per se, but I simply don’t care about the protagonist.

3 out of 5 Stars.

One Year After: The Youth of Today

I liked this story, which is a bit surprising as it involves Robert Liefeld’s female Bucky and Elijah Bradley, a.k.a. Patriot from the Young Avengers .  I am not very familiar with either of them, but the character drama was excellent.

4 out of 5 Stars.

One Year After: Crossbones and Sin

This story takes place in prison.  Crossbones is publicly believed to be Captain America’s assassin, and he does nothing to disabuse people of this notion.  Sin is the daughter of the Red Skull and also Crossbones lover.  This story didn’t do too much for me, as I am just not that into the characters.

3 out of 5 Stars.

One Year After: The Avengers Dilemma

The New Avengers reminisce about Cap and try to decide whether they will be showing up in costume at the unofficial vigil for Captain America that is occurring in Central Park.  Not bad, but mostly setup for the later section in the park.

4 out of 5 Stars.

One Year After: The Red Skull’s Delirium

This section is just checking in on the Red Skull.  Because you pretty much have to do this in a supersized Captain America comic.

3 out of 5 Stars

One Year After: The Vigilant

Falcon and the New Avengers at the Central Park Vigil.  Norman Osborn’s team of Avengers is circling the park and Osborn basically acts like a dick.  Sharon Carter shows up with her belief that Captain America can be saved.

4 out of 5 Stars.

In Memoriam

Roger Stern takes a nostalgic look back at some of Captain America’s forgotten supporting character, like Bernie Rosenthal, Josh Cooper, and Mike Farrell.  He also throws in a slight retcon to explain Mike Farrell’s personality shifts.  I have to admit that I enjoyed this because it highlights characters from one of the few eras where I was reading Captain America regularly.

4 out of 5 Stars.

The Persistence of Memorabilia

Utter crap.   The story is cloyingly sentimental.  The villain, such as he is, is laughably one note, and it even seems to advocate censorship at the end.  Oh, did I mention that the art is simply terrible?

0 out of 5 Stars

Red Skull’s Deadly Revenge

A classic by Stan Lee.  By classic I mean completely odd.  The plotline somehow involves the Red Skull escaping prison and taking up archery while wearing a beret and hotpants (seriously!).  He uses his new found archery talents to shoot Bucky and pin Captain America to a wall so that he can figure out his secret identity by checking his wallet! 

He then dresses up as Captain America to commit crimes, but does not take off the Red Skull mask first (despite having done so earlier when learning archery).  Luckily, this does not hamper his masquerade because he holds up the shield to cover his face, just like the chiropractor pretending to be Bela Lugosi in Plan 9 from Outer Space. 

Whatever Stan Lee was smoking when he wrote this, I need some.

5 out of 5 Stars.  (Well, at least if Stan will pass the pipe).