Saturday, June 20, 2009

Captain America #600 (Lead Story) by Ed Brubaker, Butch Guice, Howard Chaykin, Rafael Albuquerque, David Aja, and Mitch Breitweiser

Review by Chris Clow

Ed Brubaker's 51st issue of Captain America has gotten the consolidation treatment, and we've gone from Volume 5 back to Volume 1 by assuming #600. This issue represents a tide change in the course of Brubaker's recent issues in the sense that, for the first time in 26 issues, a little over two years, this one is about Steve Rogers. Sure, he's been mentioned over the past couple of years and nearly deified in the eyes of many of Marvel's heroes, but Steve has become the driving force behind the Cap title again, because it's setting the stage for what some have been hoping and some have been dreading:

The Return of Steve Rogers.

On the anniversary of Steve Rogers' death, Sharon Carter begins to gain more and more of her memory from when she was under the control of Dr. Faustus. In short, the result is that she remembers a small but very important detail from the day she was forced to murder Steve Rogers: there was something...different about the "murder" weapon.

We are also taken around to various other reactions to the anniversary of Cap's death, including an appearance from the Grand Director, who ominously says he wants to be Captain America when he finds people that are "worth saving." The New Avengers and the current Captain America, Bucky Barnes, plan to attend the candlelight vigil that will be held for Rogers in full costume, but are convinced by the Black Widow to go in street clothes. As per usual, Norman Osborn takes the vigil as a publicity stunt, saying great things about a man he referred to only seconds before as a man who "died a traitor."

Sharon then appears before the New Avengers saying that she now knows that they all can "save Steve."

As he's my favorite character in Marvel's stable, I am positively thrilled about the return of Steve Rogers. This issue, however, fell a little flat for me because of the pacing. We're moving along rather quickly with the adventures of Bucky as Captain America and there's a sudden screech to make way for Rogers' supporting cast and his own return. I don't criticize the return itself, I think it's about a year overdue. But, I do think that Brubaker could've eased into it starting back at least at #45.

I can take it, though. He delivers the goods on emotional power and the simple dumbfoundedness that Bucky and the Avengers have when an ex-girlfriend walks up to them saying that they can "save" a man who's been a corpse for 1 in-universe year. What will Brubaker do with that gun? Why is it so different? How can it permit the return of Steve Rogers?

Great question to have as we await the arrival of Captain America: Reborn #1 and the one true Star-Spangled Avenger.

Grade: B-

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