JP On Gaming

Thursday, April 7, 2022

[Kinda Book Report] Captain America Essentials #2

Another pickup from last year's Free Comic Book Day and one I was pretty excited to read. Cap is an interesting character, and his movie portrayal by Chris Evans was really good. I was curious about some of the early (60s) stories about him.

Well... This is a mixed bag.

The villains are great: the Red Skull is just as dastardly and evil, Batroc and the Swordsman are interesting, Modoc and AIM are serious antagonists, and Hydra. Oh a favorite of mine in early Marvel: the Cosmic Cube! Give the Cube to the Red Skull and get a number of body swap stories with Cap and the Skull! Delightful.

The NPC crew is detailed: Sharon Carter the SHIELD agent/love interest is more than a damsel in distress, Nick Fury is cool, Rick Jones is interesting as a sidekick, doning Bucky's outfit (alas for a too-short period but the potential for a great duo was there), and the stand out: the introduction of the Falcon.

The biggest gem is Cap's own inner demons as he wrestles with being an anachronism. Is he a symbol of times passed? How can he live and protect his loved ones when everyone knows who he is?

All this should make for a great comic, right? Right?

Well not really. The stories touch on subject but over-simplify all the answers. One story of racism mixed with the mafia (maggia), the Falcon being wanted stood out and had me on the edge of my seat. But the ending was a let down. It solved nothing, offered no potential solution, and except proving Falcon innocent accomplishes little. Unlike the X-men stories later everything here is fairly shallow.

Next the art is not great. Oh it is very dynamic, but often, I had to make two and three passes to guess which position Cap was in.

I will settle on a 2.5/5 rounded out to a 3/5 for this one. It has so much going for it, but fails to really live up to the overall hype. This solo run is not great, and I think Cap shines more when he is parto of a team - such as the Avengers than in solo issues.

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