Hey folks! Wishing all of you guys a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! With 2010 so close and the holiday spirit up in the air, even bloggers like me need some R&R to catch up on the holidays. That being said, I'll be taking few days of vacation, but I'll be back just before the new year dawns on us. Before that though, here's a review on a very special issue of Captain America that true believers DARE NOT miss if they've been following the series religiously since Ed Brubaker took over writing duties. This particular one shot special covers what happens after the events of Captain America: Reborn - a series that has yet to conclude until next month and ushers in the return of the original shield slinging hero, Steve Rogers. Still, this book hardly spoils what is already a forgone conclusion, so the only question remains - who will wield the shield?
Captain America: Who Will Wield The Shield?
Written By: Ed Brubaker
Illustrated By: Butch Guice & Luke Ross
Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, is back. After being lost in time and subjected to the diabolical machinations of his archnemesis, The Red Skull, Cap has reclaimed his mind, body, and soul, and is now back in the present day alongside his friends and fellow avengers. However, Steve hasn't fully recovered from his ordeal yet, and the uniform he has worn for so long has gone to his old friend and partner from World War II, Bucky Barnes. The former Winter Soldier has carried on the fight as the new Captain America since Rogers' passing, but with him back among the living, he is ready to give the mantle back to his mentor. Still, is Bucky willing to part with the shield, and is Steve ready to reclaim his old identity?
Right smack in the holidays, Brubaker has landed us a Cap tale worthy of note and praise. Truth be told, it's been a long time since I enjoyed reading a Captain America book, and while I had my worries about how this special would turn out in the end, it completely kept my eyes glued to the action and the writing was just excellent. Since Reborn started, the pacing hasn't been quite the same. It's a known fact that we all wanted the original Cap back, but justifying his return as a result of space and time distortion wasn't really my cup of tea after all the work put out in making the main series an iconic and espionage laced bestseller. Add to the fact that Bucky turned out to be a GREAT Captain America after Roger's death, and the math just doesn't add up to how Reborn brought back the original sentinel of liberty. It puts aside all the hardwork and attention Barnes has earned and turns him into little more than a sidekick again, which is just too harsh. Thankfully, this one shot remedies all of those concerns and addresses the situation between the two Captain Americas. Close allies, friends, and even enemies gather to bring the issue to light and see just who between the two are ready and worthy to continue as the symbol of justice. Doubt of one's own capabilities and concern for the others future are the big themes playing out here, and it works well with the dynamic played out between the two blue boys. Steve and Bucky are portrayed as genuine friends who have the utmost respect and understanding for one another, and it's this friendship that helps mend the fences and concerns about who should be carrying the "matrix of leadership". As always, there will be no spoilers here, but it isn't too hard to figure out the obvious route this series is going... or is it? That's something to be determined by the readers themselves, and this book is a start to all great things to come.
The art here can be a little inconsistent, and that's solely due to the fact that two artists are on board to pencil this issue. Butch Guice and Luke Ross are alumni themselves in all things Cap, so fans who've been on board for the longest time will recognize their drawings well and good for the duration of the read. While inconsistency may be a problem, that's not to say their portrayals of the characters and action scenes are a bad thing. Each does what he does best in their own way, and it lives up to the momentum and spectacular awe built up through the narration and flow of the story. If Brubaker had to pick his team of artists alongside longtime collaborator Steve Epting, I think Guice and Ross would make the cut with no questions ask. As for the cover, it's a spectacular piece by Gerald Parel, and it sends a clear message to folks out there that's one of awesome and epicness.
With the new year upon us and Steve Rogers back in the fold, I would undoubtedly say that WWWTS is a special that no Cap fan... or COMIC FAN should miss. Those out of the loop for a long time may be wondering what the heck is going on at this point, but fret not, this is a clever issue that gives a good idea of what transpired on Reborn and what the fate of the Captain America legacy will be. It's also a book that puts to rest old issues and concerns that have stemmed as far back as Civil War, and there's also a special meeting on the last page that will give fans a chuckle... as well as a lead on to the big Marvel event beginning next month. For now, Captain America is back, and we're all happy he's here to stay.
Score - 10/10
Well, this may be the last post for now, so belated Merry Christmas and have a Happy New Year Folks! Chow!