Ok, you’ve probably heard about this one already. I did, too. I tried to let the rumors go until I read it for myself. Now that I have… I really don’t like it, and I don’t buy it. There are going to be spoilers here. Know that going in.
After the events at Pleasant Hill, Steve Rogers is back to his usual, younger, combat-ready self. He’s back working for SHIELD, apparently under the direction of Sharon Carter, who now looks older that he is. Maria Hill is still lurking around in the background, awaiting trial for what she’s done.
Cap (as Steve, this is going to get confusing, isn’t it?) is in the field. Not with Cap/Sam and Bucky/Winter Soldier as the cover shows, but with two really obscure characters from Cap’s past, Jack Flag and Free Spirit. Steve has a new shield, different shape with a few tools in it the old one didn’t have. Sam has the classic Cap shield over in his book and one of the Avengers ones.
Some of the book is told in flashback, set in 1926 East Side New York. I suppose this is supposed to be laying the groundwork for the big reveal. I like Cap a lot, and consider myself a fan, but I don’t claim to have read every appearance of his. I don’t know if this point in his life has been touched on before, but I don’t think it has.
So… the reveal. Somehow, we’re supposed to believe that Steve Rogers, Captain America, has been a deep cover Hydra agent this whole time. I don’t believe it. He’s fooled people-readers like Black Widow, gods, psionics like Xavier and even his own teammate Moondragon, and no one knew this whole time? No, I don’t believe it at all. I think this is some kind of cheap stunt. Either this isn’t Steve, or there’s some reality warping in play, or this is just badly written. And he’s lifted Mjonlir. His Hydra cover is more powerful than Odin’s enchantments? I’ll keep this PG and say no way.
Plot: It’s an interesting twist. I don’t like it, I don’t buy it, but I’ll give points for creativity. Trying to divorce my own reaction from the story, I’ll give it a 3 out of 5.
Art: Say what you will about the story, the art is nice. Saiz did well. I’ll give the art a 4 out of 5.
Positives: The art is great. The new shield has a few interesting gadgets. I really hope Maria Hill finally gets put behind bars where she belongs. The writers dug deep to come up with Jack Flag and Free Spirit.
Negatives: I don’t believe Steve is Hydra. I just don’t. I don’t buy he managed to fool every being he’s come in contact with for decades. Bringing Jack back just to kill or maim him is just mean. I question the timing both in terms of turning the one last big patriotic hero evil right before Memorial Day, and turning the arguably most heroic and moral character in Marvel to the dark side on the same DC is finally pulling back from doing that with everyone.
I’ll give this maybe one more issue. But if this Steve thing doesn’t get explained well, I’m out.
Steve Rogers Captain America #1
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Jesus Saiz
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover: Jesus Saiz