Thursday, February 24, 2011

Steve Rogers: Super Soldier - Ed Brubaker

Let’s recap. Steve Rogers was the original Captain America, but he died a while back, assassinated during the superhero civil war. (I missed all that, but I caught up.) Captain America’s former sidekick Bucky Barnes, who was thought to be dead since all the way back at the end of World War II, really wasn’t, so he took over as Captain America. Turns out Steve wasn’t really dead, either, but when he came back he didn’t want to take the Captain America identity away from Bucky. So, since his secret identity went out the window a long time ago, Steve Rogers becomes sort of a super national security advisor and also is placed in overall command of the various teams of Avengers.

If you’re still reading and haven’t gone, “Oh, no, more of that crazy comic book stuff!”, that brings us to STEVE ROGERS: SUPER SOLDIER (because it was the Super Soldier Formula that gave scrawny, sickly young Steve his powers back in 1941, you know), a new hardback reprinting the mini-series that introduced the character to the Marvel Universe in his current role. It’s written by Ed Brubaker, who also writes the regular Captain America comic and SECRET AVENGERS, the best of the numerous Avengers titles.

The plot of this story goes all the way back to Captain America’s origin, as Steve gets involved with the grandson of the scientist who invented the Super Soldier Formula. The secret of the serum was thought to be lost ever since its creator was murdered by a Nazi agent right after giving the initial dose to Steve. Now the grandson appears to have recreated the formula, but instead of using it for good, he’s going to sell it the highest bidder.

Or is he? That question is just the first of several nice twists that Brubaker throws into the plot over the course of the story, saving the last one for the very end. This isn’t ground-breaking stuff, but it’s very well-done superhero action, the sort of yarn I was reading and enjoying in comic books more than forty years ago and obviously still am. Brubaker’s script is nice and hardboiled, not too silly, and flows right along. The art by Dale Eaglesham is good, too, with a strong storytelling sense.

For good measure, the book also reprints the actual Captain America origin story from the first issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA COMICS in 1941, which was written by Joe Simon and drawn by Jack Kirby. This story has been reprinted several times and I’d seen it before, but the juxtaposition of it with Brubaker and Eaglesham’s yarn is a nice touch. Overall, I enjoyed STEVE ROGERS: SUPER SOLDIER a great deal and recommend it highly for comics fans.


David Cranmer said...

I always liked Captain America and will look forward to this new one.

Troy D. Smith said...

Brubaker has done an awesome job with the characters. I like how he has essentially made the regular C.A. title an ensemble piece- Steve Rogers, "Bucky-Cap", Sharon Carter, Falcon, Black Widow, even the return of Bernie Rosenthal (Cap's gf in the 80s, and a favorite of mine.)

pattinase (abbott) said...

Your blood pressure must be very low indeed with your great outlook and the joy you take in everything. I always know I can come here and find some enthusiasm.

James Reasoner said...

I agree about the regular C.A. book. I've read some negative comments about the current Trial of Captain America storyline, but I'm lovin' it and I like the new Red Skull. I have the TPB reprinting the whole Winter Soldier storyline that started Brubaker's run on the book and hope to read it soon.

117/74 just now. (I checked.) But I'm on blood pressure medication because it had gotten a little high a couple of years ago. Not bad for a middle-aged fat man, though.

Troy D. Smith said...

One thing about the current storyline that bothers me, though... a continuity blip which shows that Butch Guice isn't up on his Marvel history. He portrays D.A. Blake Tower as a dumpy 60-something bald guy. Tower has been Marvel's NYC D.A., off and on, since the mid-70s, and has always been portrayed as a 40-ish tall, blond movie star type. In, fact, the guy in Dark Knight looked more like Blake Tower than Harvey Dent.

I'm both a geek and a historian, I am doomed to quibble about stuff like this.

James Reasoner said...

I hadn't thought about that, but you're absolutely right. Unless poor ol' Blake really aged in a hurry. Maybe never being able to have a trial without some super-powered brawl breaking out finally caught up to him.

Elias said...

Great blog! I was just watching the trailer for the Captain America movie and using my Logitech Revue with Google TV decided to search out cap a little further and see if I could get re-acquainted with the comic I used to enjoy so much. Looks like there's a ton to catch up on! As a DISH customer/employee I love the Logitech Revue for bringing together two of my favorite things, TV and the Internet...I can watch TV, post here, surf the net, and not I'm going to head over to the website for my local comic shop and put in an order for some Captain America back issues that I've missed. Anything you'd specifically recommend to help me get caught up to speed? I kind of f=drifted away after Captain America was assassinated, but it feels good to be back!