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Captain America #1
Marvel Comics

Comic Books

‘Captain America’ #1 is filled with great character writing

‘Captain America’ #1 aims to explore Steve Rogers the landlord, and his life prior to getting his powers.

Captain America is embarking on a new creative team this week, and its creators are incredibly seasoned and clearly up for the challenge. Jesus Saiz has had his fair share of mega-legacy characters to draw, while J. Michael Straczynski needs no introduction. In their new direction for the character, the past is as important as the present. Expect some interesting mining of Steve’s childhood in a compelling first issue.

At the heart of Captain America #1 is a good sense of who Steve Rogers is in his day-to-day life. We get that as he buys an apartment building to ensure the tenants don’t end up on the street. Soon, we learn via flashbacks that Steve was once homeless after his father and then mother passed away. The boy from Brooklyn still pulls himself by the bootstraps, even with a little help from Iron Man.

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Speaking of Iron Man, Straczynski writes some good dialogue for the character in a brief scene. We only get his words via phone, but you can tell Straczynski has a good handle on him. Throughout the issue, we get a sense of the Boy Scout that is Steve Rogers through his interactions with superheroes and regular people. A great sequence shows Steve working on his building only to be dragged into another dimension after Sue Storm asks him to help the Fantastic Four out. He comes back only to thwart a petty crime. It seems this new era of Steve Rogers will showcase him as a hero of the people in small victories and a superhero.

Saiz’s art is clean and detailed, as we’ve come to expect from them. This book features characters in plain clothes, and Saiz makes them live in and relatable. Saiz has a dynamic style that suits Marvel, and you see it when Cap kicks a guy leaping over a car or dragging trash to make ends meet when he’s a kid.

Captain America #1

This villain is absurd!
Credit: Marvel

Even though this series doesn’t fall in the line of flashback comics, it heavily reveals a period before Steve got his powers in New York. That’ll be the most compelling element for longtime readers as he may have been involved with stopping Nazis recruiting in New York. This is before World War II, of course, and thus could show us Steve as a hero even when he was weak and small. Casual readers or those who only saw the movies might connect with the narrative, too, since Steve, before becoming Cap, was a heavy element in the first Captain America movie.

As a character piece, this issue is fantastic, but I will say it’s a slower-paced and plotted issue. The cliffhanger might mean some excitement in the flashbacks, but for the most part, this issue is slowly setting up Steve, the landlord, and Steve, the homeless kid trying to make ends meet. The general pace didn’t bother me, but not a lot transpires by the end of the issue. The opening action scene seems stuffed in simply to have action up front, and aside from this, action is fairly sparse. At least the opening motorcycle scene is fairly epic.

As far as the main threat, the setup leaves a lot to be revealed, so it’s hard to care too much about that. Long story short, there isn’t enough here to get folks jumping for joy, but I’m confident it’ll pan out eventually.

Captain America #1 is a well-built story with a lot of great character work. The superhero side is a little lacking, but the flashbacks are exciting to see as we’ll get new gaps filled in as far as Steve’s life prior to getting his powers.

Captain America #1
‘Captain America’ #1 is filled with great character writing
Captain America #1
Captain America #1 is a well-built story with a lot of great character work. The superhero side is a little lacking, but the flashbacks are exciting to see as we'll get new gaps filled in as far as Steve's life prior to getting his powers.
Reader Rating1 Votes
8.8
A strong start with great character writing and intriguing flashback scenes
The art is clean and dynamic when it needs to be
Not a ton of stuff happens outside of character work
Villain setup could use a bit more to get a sense of where it's going
8.5
Great
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