Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Captain America: First Vengeance - Fred Van Lente

This trade paperback reprints a recent mini-series that serves as a prequel to the upcoming movie. As a result, there are some differences between this version of Cap and the established comics version. Purists, consider yourself warned.

And speaking as a purist myself . . . some of the changes are okay, the sort of thing you can expect when Hollywood gets its hands on something, and some are less so. Right off the bat, Cap’s costume is different, since he’s drawn to look like the movie version of the character. That’s actually all right with me. The look works. In the half-okay version, the Howling Commandos are only partially there. Dum-Dum, Gabe, and Percy show up and are portrayed pretty close to their comics versions, but where are the rest of the Howlers? And who’s that French guy running around with them? And Bucky Barnes is a Howling Commando? No way!

Which brings me to my biggest complaint, the fact that the movie continuity makes Steve Rogers and Bucky Barnes roughly the same age. I realize that the current incarnation of these characters takes the view that Bucky was a teen-ager during World War II, instead of the adolescent “kid sidekick” he was in the original Simon & Kirby stories, but that’s not nearly the same stretch as making him and Steve contemporaries. That doesn’t work at all for me.

All that said, the story is fairly entertaining and the artwork is good for the most part. Viewed as an alternate universe Captain America story (which is usually how you have to view movie adaptations anyway), CAPTAIN AMERICA: FIRST VENGEANCE isn’t bad. It’s not really necessary unless you’re a completist or really enjoy the movie, though.

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