Captain America #1 by Ammar Al SubahiPublisher: Marvel Comics
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve McNiven
Inker: Mark Morales
Colorist: Justin Ponsor
Overall: 4/5 stars
Premise: An old ally of Cap's from WW2 has resurfaced, and is now trying to assassinate him and his friends.
A lot of stuff has happened to Cap these last years, but is any of this back story referenced in this issue? Do you need it to be able to enjoy or "get" what happens in this book?
Thankfully, no. No back story is needed nor is it even mentioned: It's a new book which promises a new direction. Maybe a step back, maybe a step in the right direction. I'll let you decide for yourselves.
The issue begins with a quick recap of Cap's origin. We quickly find out that Cap is attending the funeral of Peggy Carter (who you might remember from the movie). With him are his current kind-of-girlfriend; Sharon Carter who's Peggy's niece (let's just let it slide, okay?). Also attending are Cap's old war buddies Dum Dum Dugan and Nick Fury (how are they still alive and kicking, you wonder? They got younger. Let's just leave it at that. Welcome to the world of super hero comics).
All is fine and well until suddenly, Cap notices that Dum Dum has a target on his chest. Cap saves him from getting shot, and quickly tries to chase down the shooter. The shooter manages to get away, but Cap does manage to catch a glimpse of him. And we find out that it's an old fellow super soldier ally from WW2, code name: Agent Bravo, who has been MIA since the war. The group start investigating his sudden appearance and try to figure out why he is out after Cap and his friends. Apparently, something really bad happened in a mission back in the war, which we'll find out in the coming issues. Meanwhile, Cap's former ally-turned-enemy is revealed to be plotting to kill Cap with an old nemesis...
There's no real hook to the story so far. In fact, we've seen this type of "past-comes-back-to-haunt-him" storyline in Captain America before. But it's still a solid first issue. And knowing Brubaker, I can definitely guarantee that he'll suck you in with a thick plot and great character work soon enough.
The lighter tone of this book is strengthened by McNiven, whose artwork seems to have changed somewhat since Civil War and Old Man Logan. The art here is softer, less stylized than what we've previously seen from him. The art also feels more fluid now, the panel lay-out is less restricted and sort of integrates more naturally with the pages. If you ask me, it's definitely an improvement.
The colouring by Ponsor matches this new style perfectly; it's strong and colourful but doesn't pop off the pages. Likewise, Morales' inks are subtle and makes the characters mesh with their surroundings, but still clear enough to separate them from it and mark them. Simply put, this creative team is making some really well balanced art here.
I wasn't blown away by this issue, but I thought it was a really solid one. The artwork is what takes it up a notch for me.