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Thursday, March 20, 2014
A ghost from the past haunts Captain America in the present...
The now legendary relaunch of the Captain America series under the stewardship of writer Ed Brubaker and artists Steve Epting and Mike Perkins forms the basis of the forthcoming Cap movie sequel, and as a result of which this bumper collection has the potential to be riddled with spoilers.
It remains a seminal instalment in the 75 year history of the Sentinel of Liberty, breathing new life into the character and beginning a run which would last the best part of six years for Brubaker as writer.
What is immediately evident from the 13 issues collected in this volume (issue 10 was a House of M crossover set in an altered reality and is not included here) is that Brubaker has a perfect understanding of who Steve Rogers is, and how he has been shaped by the events of his life both in the 1940s and the present day.
Flashing back to Cap’s wartime exploits might seem commonplace now, but when this series started it was a new narrative trick, and served to show how much of a man out of time Rogers actually is, as well as revealing the contemporary consequences of various WWII adventures, not least of which is the identity of the Winter Soldier himself.
Without giving anything away to that small percentage of the comics-reading population who might not be aware of the twist reveal in this story, the Soldier is a former Soviet black ops agent responsible for political and military assassinations from 1954 onwards, reactivated by a rogue general with his own agenda.
Meanwhile, Cap is experiencing warped recollections of his activities during the ‘40s, forcing him to question his own memories and whether he has forgotten more than he has remembered of the dark days of WWII, particularly events surrounding the death of his former partner Bucky Barnes.
Add into the mix the Nazi supervillain known as the Red Skull, Cap’s former partner Jack “Nomad” Monroe, and his current allies in SHIELD, and you have the ingredients for a near faultless epic the likes of which Captain America has been denied since the glory days of Mark Waid in the 1990s.
Kinetic action sequences flow seamlessly into spy drama, all the while adding a depth and poignancy to Steve Rogers which many writers fail to achieve. A truly stand-out series which deserves a place on the bookshelf of any comics aficionado.