but during the 80's and 90's the character sort of languished.
First up Captain America 16 (the main title) vol 7 by Rick Remender and Pascal Alixe
Well, the first thing you'll notice about this book is Captain America is pretty much absent from the entire issue. Instead, Remender focuses on a character of his own creation, Jet Black, the daughter of Arnim Zola, who is a remnant of the Dimension Z storyline that many readers found off putting. And I must admit, while I was a fan of the Dimension Z storyline, I will agree it seemed to run a bit long. When it finally ended, I dropped the series. So, seeing that the issue was basically a Jet Black solo story really put me off. One, because this felt like a wasted opportunity to get the people who were unhappy with the Dimension Z storyline back on board (and the sale figures make it look like that's a good 20K of people) and two, because Jet Black runs around in one of those costumes that seems like it was created during the worst of the 90's comics era when super heroines were all running around in thongs.
The story itself is a setup for another multi-issue storyline which introduces an agent of a cabal called the Iron Nail called Tsar Sultan (which I think is a lazy name...) In an attempt to get Black to join the Iron Nail, Sultan causes Jett Black to confront visions of her father and the Red Skull who question her new found allegiance to Captain America.
Overall, this is a pretty disappointing introductory issue, so I give it one star.
Next Up, All New Invaders 1 by James Robinson and Steve Pugh
well documented on this blog, and over the recent years, I've watched Marvel revisit the title, usually with dismaying results.
After a two page prologue with Kree fighting an Imperial Guardsman in the desert, Robinson reintroduces readers to Jim Hammond, The Original Human Torch, who is now working as an auto mechanic in a small town in Illinois. This gives us a vista that is physically removed from the normal New York Marvel universe and echoes the folksy tone of the book.
It's a pretty standard beginning to a superhero story but where it shines is in the dialogue. Unlike many other Marvel writers who are write dialogue that makes their heroes sound like Starbucks baristas, Robinson's characters have a voice that sounds fitting. The art for this series is from British illustrator Steve Pugh, whose has been around since 1990 is probably best known for his work on Hellblazer and Animal Man. He doesn't have a lot of experience drawing your standard superhero fight comic which makes for some weird choices during the battle scenes:
On the flip-side his faces are more expressive than you typically see in Marvel comics today which compliments Robinson's dialogue skills.
I was pretty satisfied with this comic and will continue buying the rest of the (mini?) series. I give it 4 stars.
The last entry in this post is the most disappointing.
Avengers Endless War OGN by Warren Ellis and Mike McKone
Instead, this ended up being 120 pages of what felt like a movie tie-in. With a price tag of $20 (for the digital version) that works out to be cheaper (per page) than most current Marvel comics, but a LOT of this book feels like padding. For one thing, there are 35 pages of scenes where the Avengers are just standing around and talking, like this:
Looking at those pages above, you may notice, as other fans have, that there is a certain stiffness to the illustrations. While I didn't find it as off putting as a lot of other people, it is a little curious. I don't think I remember Mike McKone drawing like that in the past. I think it's a result of extra pages being rushed out. Compare the face of this girl in the first scene of the comic:
I'm also a bit confused by who was the target audience for this comic. On first glance I figured it was the fans of the Avengers movie since the costumes and lineup (the Hulk is included here) seem to fall in line with the movie. But they do weird things like color Hawkeye's hair blonde and give Iron Man gold and grey (?) armor and add Ms. Marvel to the mix that, again, makes me think somewhere, this was originally going to be set in the regular Marvel universe.
Whatever the audience, this book will probably not entertain them. And it seems the ratings on Amazon back this up. I've seen quite a number of people refer to this as Endless Snoretime and I think that's about right. I give it 1 star.
I'm going to wrap it up here. To those of you going to the movie this weekend, let me know what you think of it!