Steve Rogers dons the mantle of Captain America once again and teams up with Diamondback in Captain America Epic Collection: The Bloodstone Hunt. Along the way, they’ll battle Baron Zemo and face Captain John Walker, the U.S. Agent. Is it good?
Collecting twenty-one issues originally published in 1989 and 1990, Captain America Epic Collection: The Bloodstone Hunt captures an era of comics that rarely gets attention. Essentially a transition between the deconstructionist 80s and the 90s (rightly or wrongly stereotyped as an era of big guns and pouches), this book is a series of comics that deserves to be revisited.
The collection starts towards the middle of the late Mark Gruenwald’s run on Captain America, opening as John Walker returns the shield to Steve Rogers in a press conference. Things escalate from the start, as John Walker is shot and Steve Rogers is left looking for the assassin. The book becomes an international thriller, as Captain America teams up with Diamondback against Baron Zemo and Crossbones. For a relatively newer reader like myself, this collection offers a lot of “missing” history for the character. While I knew of Diamondback and U.S. Agent, I’ve never quite understood their appeal, and most “classic” collections focus on the comics of the 60s and 70s, so it’s nice to actually “meet” them and learn just why they’re so beloved by other comics fans.
The artwork in this collection is stellar — Kieron Dwyer’s proportions on his figures are heroic without being overly muscular. That may seem minor, but it then matters when a supporting character becomes too muscular to move. The staging of the action works well, considering that most of the characters seen here fall in the “super-soldier” power level. The closeups also capture the emotions of the characters and the beats within action sequences (see Magneto in his fight with Red Skull — yes, it’s amazing).
Is It Good?
Captain America Epic Collection: The Bloodstone Hunt is a densely packed collection that highlights Steve Rogers’ best traits. There are some dated moments, such as when Sersi drops a Pee-Wee’s Playhouse reference. But for the most part, the heart of these stories still stands up. For fans of the character or those readers who want to explore a different era of comics, Mark Gruenwald and Kieron Dwyer’s take on Captain America will be sure to delight.
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