Quick review: Captain America #5


By Rick Remender, John Romita Jr., Tom Palmer, Scott Hanna and Dean White

I was not sure what kind of Captain America comic book to expect from Rick Remender, the guy behind the madness of Uncanny X-Force, Frankencastle and of course Fear Agent. Five issues in and I am overjoyed by its weird, wonderful approach that feels like part B-movie, part Kirby’s Fourth World. I have noticed that for the relaunches of Captain America, Hulk, Iron Man and Thor, the comics have all felt unique, taking the characters in new directions that place the heroes in all new environments to face new threats.

Captain America has become stranded in Dimension Z, brought there by the mad scientist ad part-time TV screen, Arnim Zola. Escaping capture, Cap managed to bring one of Zola’s clones with him.

Trapped in a weird world of monstrous creatures, Cap is no longer alone in a war against its ruler, Arnim Zola. His adopted son Ian stands by Steve Rogers as they brave the natural dangers of the environment and the ever present Zola who has been hot on their heels. Twelve years after finding himself in Dimension Z, Rogers has decided to take the battle to Zola himself.

Unfortunately, he has become infected with a kind of viral form of Zola’s genetic manipulation. A leering video screen image of Zola commands Rogers to give in to his control and reminds him that escape is impossible.

But Steve Rogers will never stop fighting, even against impossible odds and a never-ending sea of genetically created terrors hatched from Zola’s lab. Distorted super soldier clones, Doughboy and Ian’s amazonian sister Jet aim their attacks straight at Cap and Ian as they near the only way out of dimension Z, and then things get worse.

The monthly Captain America book has worn a lot of hats over the years from political thriller to high suspense drama. However, Remender’s vision is so otherworldly and alien that it leaves everything else behind. True, this book is not for everyone and the abstract art by John Romita, Jr is an acquired taste. I have to say that speaking personally, I am attracted to stories that raise the stakes for the hero, often stacking them so high that there is no way s/he cam overcome them. That is definitely the case in this revamped Captain America comic where at one point he is using his shield as a kind of wok to cook moss for food. There really aren’t too many things going for him.

I am unsure how this comic fits in with the regular time line of Captain America, but I figure it will all line up at some point. I had noted the influence of Jack Kirby’s Fourth World and it is in full effect in this issue. Jet looks almost exactly like Big Barda and Dimension Z isn’t unlike Apocalypse. But rather than imply that Remender and Romita Jr. are stealing ideas, I instead feel that they are paying homage to the King.

If you are a big fan of the Ed Brubaker run, this may not be your kind of Captain America comic book… but it’s like nothing you’ve seen before and I am deeply enamored by it.

What a ride!

(click on the images below to enlarge)


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