Over the last 12 years, we’ve seen the Shield pass from Ed Brubaker who reinvigorated the character and even reintroduced everyone to Bucky under the guise of the Winter Soldier. After Brubaker’s run saw its end in 2012, Rick Remender took over and introduced us to the world of Dimension Z. By this point, Cap had seen close to ten years of dark twists and turns, so surely we’re about to hit some kind of new bright horizon, right? Just when Steve had been beaten down for nearly a decade, Nick Spencer took over the title and brings Sam Wilson into the mix as the new Captain America. Mixed reviews from critics and fans alike aren’t something that Spencer strays away from because at the end of his Sam Wilson run, he introduces the title Captain America: Steve Rogers which sees our heroes entire backstory turned upside down. The first issues of Captain America: Steve Rogers starts out like any other. Hydra makes a move, Cap is sent out to stop it and everything is hunky dory. Except in Spencer’s world, Cap is and has always been an agent of Hydra. The plot point was seen as a cheap grab for headlines by readers and was met with a lot of criticism but for the first time in a while, people were actively talking about a Captain America book. Nick Spencer’s run was short lived and ended just after a year of publication. During the Spencer run, Marvel was seeing the lowest sales it had seen in decades, creators were leaving and retailers were voicing their complaints about too many events, deadlines not being met and their displeasure with the new characters and the abandonment of their legacy. Last year, Marvel announced that they were taking it back to their roots with Marvel Legacy. On paper, this meant that Marvel had finally listened to their readers and we’re going to head back in the direction of their classic characters with new creative teams. At last years SDCC Marvel announced that Captain America would be taken over by Mark Waid and Chris Samnee, who had worked together previously on Daredevil and Black Widow. Not that you need anymore reasons to read this wonderful series, but if you’re hungry for classic Cap, then here are a few reasons you should be reading Waid and Samnee’s take on the Man Out of Time.
My favorite thing about early Captain America is the bright and bold colors that artist Jack Kirby used when creating the character. Nothing portrays American comic book art quite like those bold, bright colors and dark black lines. The last 12 years have been full of dark tones and shadows so this new series being as colorful as it is has been refreshing. Matt Wilson really does his best to help Samnee channel his inner Kirby with his dazzling use of colors. Between Wilson’s color work and and the way Samnee constructs his characters and their surroundings, the art really shines through to give the story more depth. Wait and Samnee complement each other very well and it definitely shows through their work. with his Waid bringing Cap back to his roots gives Samnee the freedom to explore new ideas and rehashing old favorites that haven’t been seen in years. Samnee doesn’t bog the reader down with extremely detailed panels and splash pages. That’s not to say that there is a level of detail to every page, but you can tell that it’s just well rounded art that doesn’t play on cliche techniques to grab the attention of the reader.Wilson and Samnee don’t let panels confine their vision but they do it subtly that it doesn’t even seem out of the ordinary. The art is something special but it’s only a small part of why this comic, while only on it’s second issue, is becoming one of the better things on the shelf.
Mark Waid just has a knack for writing boy scout-esque characters. Superman, the Flash, Superboy and even his run on Archie are just a few examples of his work with wholesome characters and I think it’s really where he shines. He’s able to take characters that are known for dark tones and serious subject matter, like Daredevil, and send him to a place like sunny California. The dialogue in the book brings Cap back to a humble hero that just believes he’s doing whats right and doesn’t seek the admiration of others for it. Whether it be wanting to wash dishes in exchange for a meal from a small local diner to saving an entire town multiple times, the Cap that Waid is bringing to the page is one that we’re all familiar with but haven’t seen in a long time. Steve Rogers is being brought back to his roots as an agent for good with a heart of gold. The writing in this book takes you to a simpler and less tumultuous time by keeping each issue a self contained story filled with adventure. Though that may not continue to be the case in the coming months, it’s a welcome breath of fresh air, especially for those who may just now be picking up on comics.
We’re only two issues in to this series right now and I think it’s safe to say that Waid and Samnee are doing what they set out to do. They’re bringing a classic character back to its roots without sacrificing great storytelling. People have been begging Marvel to go back to what they know and it finally seems like they’ve listened. I can’t wait to see where they take this story and I look forward to seeing it develop as well as the other Marvel Legacy titles.