Let’s start with the art. Rick Remender is writing the perfect story for his artist. John Romita Jr. has been drawing demons and monsters since I was a kid. His Daredevil and X-Men runs were filled with Blackheart’s devils and the demons of Limbo. So that means that drawing Arnim Zola’s genetic mutants are about the perfect use of his talents.
The creatures in Dimension Z are sporting some fantastic exoskeletons and crazy whisker/face prong things. We don’t see a ton of the monsters here, but the ones we get are good ones, and Remender’s dialogue has me hoping for more.
As I finished this issue, I was trying to figure out why I’m enjoying this story, but I didn’t care for Rogue’s solo adventure in the crazy dimension during AvX. I think it boils down to stakes. Cap is protecting Ian, a new character, Arnim Zola’s child, and Cap’s constant worry and protectiveness makes Ian important to the reader. It all happens in one issue, thanks to sped-up comic time, but man, I already worry for the kid!
Another strength is the self-reliance of Captain America. Cap has got his shield and his skills, so even if Zola has weakened Steve Rogers, he can still get by. He’s been surviving in this dimension for a year. Rogue’s powers are more passive by nature, and setting her up in a solo story just doesn’t fit as well.
Remender drops his first hint about Hank Pym’s new job as tech supplier for Cap. If this is the only home Pym has in Marvel Now, I hope we get to see him soon!