Monday, March 31, 2014

Captain America: Loose Nuke, Iron Nail

Since the current Iron Nail story is so tied to the Loose Nuke story, I'll be taking a look at both for my sublist assessment!

Few titles needed a refocus as much as Rick Remender’s Marvel Now Captain America. While I enjoyed the concept and repercussions of the Dimension Z story, it was not a saga that needed 10 issues to tell. By the end, I was barely making myself read the conclusion of the story. I appreciate self-contained stories as much as the next guy, but man, trapping Cap in another world, losing the costume and supporting cast, and keeping the main villain off-panel for much of each issue? Not a recipe for a compelling story.

Fortunately, Remender has refocused to EXACTLY the types of stories I want in a Cap title. First off, he set Cap and Falcon against Nuke, a classic Daredevil villain with perfect plot ties to Cap and the super-soldier program. Remender did a great job with Nuke’s characterization throughout, with constant references to “fighting for our boys” and the like. Nuke’s fears that American servicemen and servicewomen will be forgotten came from a sympathetic place, even as he engaged in horrible, mind-controlled atrocities.

Even better, I love the way Falcon has returned to his role as Cap’s most capable partner. Cap’s having a hard time dealing with the fallout of Dimension Z, and Falcon is his moral rudder during this emotional storm. Falc keeps him on-track AND helps him during his fights. Best of all, Falcon’s pet Redwing actually gets a moment too! At one point, Nuke tosses a grenade at the heroic duo, but Redwing knocks it aside. Now that’s a handy super-pet! I remember laughing out loud when I read it.

Later, when new villain Dr. Mindbubble has a slew of SHIELD agents going after our heroes, Falcon has a great line about how obvious it is that their opponents are not controlling themselves. It’s a “ho-hum, how normal” type comment that shows off how smart and professional the two heroes are at this point.

Another aspect of the book I’m enjoying is the inclusion of Arnim Zola’s daughter Jet Black. As I said in her first appearance, she could not look more like a Kirby creation, honestly, it is like Remender just transported Big Barda into the Marvel U. Heck, the more I think about it, the more accurate that comparison is. I thought Jet’s Marvel NOW issue was the weakest issue in a long time, which was a bummer, but fortunately she’s back to her hard-a$$ ways in the Iron Nail story.

The art has been great too. Carlos Pacheco came onboard during the Nuke story, while Nic Klein has been remarkable in his ability to keep the book with a consistent look. I absolutely hate Cap’s current armored look, but both Pacheco and Klein draw it well enough that I can tolerate it. The new villains Iron Nail and Dr. Mindbubble look like 1970’s Marvel creations, which is exactly how they should be portrayed. Nuke has never looked better either (and he may not get another appearance, if his status at the end of his story is correct).

This looks and feels like a classic Marvel super-hero story. Old bad guys, new bad guys, old heroes, new heroes. This book is adding to the Marvel Universe while utilizing the rich history of the main character. This is a GOOD comic with a solid spot on the sublist.  


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