Summary: After the death of a dream comes the return of a legend! Captain America–Steve Rogers is reborn, but is he the hero we know and love? Or is the new Captain merely a pawn of the Red Skull or perhaps something worse? That’s what his friends including Sharon Carter, Bucky Barnes, the Black Widow, the Falcon and more must find out before the Skull’s master plan comes to fruition! And perhaps worse than the Skull, what is Norman Osborn doing lurking on the fringes?
Captain America: Reborn, by Ed Brubaker, Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice 7.5
I was actually pleasantly surprised by ‘Captain America: Reborn’. After reading Mark Waid’s ‘Captain America: Operation Rebirth‘, a similarly-titled collection of comics from well over a decade prior, I couldn’t bear to read another Cap comic: it had been too grueling and for some reason I half expected something as meaningless and poorly conceived here.
Thankfully, ‘Reborn’ is far superior. It took me a few pages to warm up to it, though: right from the start we were told that Captain America might still be alive, even though he was assassinated a year prior. He had since been replaced by his former sidekick, Bucky, who (donning a new, but similar-looking, suit) was trying to find Cap and rescue him.
All I could think was: “Oh boy, here we go again! Dead but still alive…”
While I think that no one was ever convinced that someone such a Captain America could die permanently, being a flag-wearing superhero icon, it was nonetheless disappointing to me to find him being revived – the contrivances for which were just beyond the realm of credulity (Let’s just say that the scientific plausibility of the scenario is dubious at best).
But Brubaker, for all the insane twists and turns in this set of books (including a blatant rip-off of ‘Slaughterhouse-Five‘, and soap opera-like developments), managed to make the set engrossing enough for me to breeze through it – something ‘Rebirth’ couldn’t even hope to achieve. Brubaker provides a good pace, doesn’t skip any essential bits and wraps it up satisfyingly. Well done, sir!
The art, however, was less appealing. Hitch’s penciling is serviceable, but not stellar – which was surprising to me, given the nature of the project. For the resurrection of the Marvel Comics legend, you’d have expected the studio to bring out its big guns and make this look as epic as it deserves. Now I’m not saying that Hitch isn’t any good, there are plenty of examples of his skill, but it frequently feels rushed, unrefined.
Be that as it may, ‘Captain America: Reborn’ is a decent collection. It doesn’t feel original or exemplary as far as comic books go, but it’s a pretty good read. And for anyone wondering what happened to Cap after that fateful day when he was gunned down, the set should satisfy their curiosity to some extent. ‘Reborn’ is a suitable attempt at breathing new life into a character from another era, who has been out of time.
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