Hey everybody! As of late, I have been having a big Cap-A-Thon lately in preparation for my Top Ten Captain America list for the History of Comics on Film Blog. Justin suggested that I might make a Fanholes side story akin to the Thor side story where I go over some current stories that were too recent for me to include in my Top Ten.
First off, I'd just like to mention that I have enjoyed Ed Brubaker's run on Captain America even though I haven't included any of his run in my Top Ten List. In my defense, at least half the stories deal with BuckyCap, and he wasn't really the focus of the Top Ten list. Also, in that half of the run there are some political hot-buttons pressed that I could do without as well as the ever-present knee-jerk reaction comic writers have where they are compelled to villainize the 1950s.
The majority of the other half of the stories with Steve Rogers tend to
involve tie-ins to crossover events I'm not particularly fond of, such as House of M or Civil War. There's also the ruination of the old comic nerd phrases such as, "Is he dead? Or Bucky dead?" Or the good ol', "Only Bucky stays dead in comics."
Don't get me wrong, "Winter Soldier" is expertly written, despite its off-putting premise. I think I'm just one of those guys who will never get used to Bucky or Barry Allen being among the living again (even if it may only be a limited-time offer).
Captain America: Man Out of Time #1-5
Mark Waid pens an update of Captain America's introduction to the modern day in this 5 issue mini-series. While I have been impressed with the majority of Waid's previous work on the character, I have to admit this book is somewhat of an odd-duck to me. Marvel's sliding timeline is only half-put into play here and you start to wonder how well a man could realistically adjust if he were to jump 6 decades into the future. In Avengers #4 the present day is only 1963, but today this story is set in 2011! It's gone from 18 years on ice to 66 years in suspended animation!
Almost the first thing that happens to the Captain when he awakens is a kid with a gun shoots him point blank. Not five minutes outside of Avengers Mansion and we're literally assaulted with a variety of social commentary that you'd think would make a guy's head explode even if he wasn't on ice for the last 66 years!
Wimmenz is docterz and segregation has disappeared! Time's Square looks like aliens have taken over and all these folks have their new-fangled PDAs and Mp3 players. Instead of Rick Jones and the Teen Brigade being ham-radio operators, they now use message board forums and the interwebz to get NPPI on the Avengers for Captain America. The timeline keeps sliding like this, and one of these days Cap'll wake up in the cockpit of Doc Brown's Delorean or on the beach of the Planet of the Apes pounding sand with Charlton Heston!
Ultimate Captain America #1-4
I may not care for the Ultimates very much, but god damn Ultimate Cap is a hoot! In this mini-series from Jason Aaron, we get the Ultimate version of the character Nuke going up against Ultimate Cap. I guess Nuke has been watching too many Jane Fonda workout videos, because he's almost the political antithesis of his 616 counterpart here. He's trying to break Cap by exposing what he feels are all the so-called atrocities perpetrated by America since Ultimate Cap has been away. He not only tortures the Captain, but forces him to listen to chapter after chapter of what he considers the low points of America's wartime policies in Vietnam. Of course Ultimate Cap doesn't put up with that crap indefinitely. He manages to escape and proceeds to kick the ever-living shit out of "Jane Fonda" Nuke. Then to return the crappy favor Cap reads Nuke some chapters of the Bible in his hospital recovery room. Take that Ultimate Frank Simpson! You think this A on my forehead stands for Fonda!?!?!
Captain America: Patriot # 1-4
The focus in this particular mini-series is on the 3rd man to fill the shoes of Captain America. The Patriot (a.k.a Jeffery Mace) is a Golden Age Marvel Comics character who ended up serving as Captain America. In fact, the story from Avengers #4 that revealed Steve Rogers was in suspended animation since 1945 is actually a retcon, since there were Captain America Comics published from 1945 onwards. To explain these discrepancies, characters such as the Spirit of '76 and the Patriot himself served as replacement Captain America's in place of Steven Rogers.
If my fellow Fanhole, Justin (Grimlock),managed to convince you to check out The Marvels Project, then I think you may find this a good companion piece. Karl Kesel and Mitch Breitweiser manage to create a similar atmosphere to the one crafted by Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting in the Marvels Project. Though the obsession with villianizing the 50's does creep up on you before you know it. Oh well, I guess every comic writer feels the need to throw in their two-cents on McCarthyism.
There is also a key moment where Mace has to suit up as the Patriot once again. However, this is because Captain America can't be seen speaking at the funeral of a man who received a Blue Discharge. Mace decides to go anyway (as the Patriot) to speak at his friend's funeral. Mace eventually continues his career as a newspaper reporter and gives up the life of a super-hero.
It may not be for everyone, but if you enjoy the focus on the minutiae of Captain America's various replacements over the years and were a fan of The Marvels Project, I'd at least give this book a look.
Captain America: Forever Allies #1-4
Forever Allies, by War & Remembrance scribe Roger Stern, is probably my favorite of this recent batch of comics. Part of the story is told in the past,with Bucky and the Young Allies. The present day part of the story focuses on BuckyCap who is on the trail of my new favorite Sexy Evil Sentai Lady, Lady Lotus.
She especially looks attractive in all the flashback sequences. It's also fun to see Bucky working with Toro and all the rest of his old crew in the Young Allies. The story makes a positive use of Bucky's past so that it is viewed as a strength in his current day adventures as Captain America. This is a refreshing change of pace from all the grim and gritty back story of the Winter Soldier. - Derek