Man, do I love this comic. I’ve been a fan of Rick Remender’s Marvel work for years now. Stuart Immonen is one of my top 5 comic artists. And I love the Falcon. So this was not a hard sell for me. But seeing these three beloved elements come together into such a strong combination is still a joy.
Rick Remender has really picked up the comedic dialogue in all of his books recently. I noticed it in Uncanny Avengers and Axis first, but the style continues here. Falcon has some tremendous asides and one-liners as he takes on hordes of Hydra goons. But the high point of dialogue, without a doubt, comes from the mysterious super-villain of the issue; Batroc the Leaper. Batroc is in a new hooded outfit that I don’t quite love, but man; his anti-American rant is just top-notch. (The ONLY thing that brings me down in this premiere issue is the possible final fate of Batroc. But we don’t’ see a body, so I’m not going to freak out yet.)
I also find it interesting that Remender is continuing the buddy-aspect of the title too, just with new characters. Now that Falcon has risen to be the star of the book, the sidekick/partner role has fallen to Ian Rogers, the new Nomad. Now, I love the Nomad name, but I loved the old costume too. So Ian’s much more Kirby-esque design is pretty strong, but I do miss that old swashbuckler look. And it would give Ian some discs to toss around too. Think about it, Ian!
Hydra can be boring, but supplemented by Batroc and a competent speeder-bike pilot; they seem like a good challenge for this whole issue. Best of all, faceless, nameless goons like Hydra agents can be killed with no repercussions to the overall Marvel U. And yet, FalCap DOES NOT KILL. In fact, he is vigorously opposed to it! Ian doesn’t have that limitation, but how wonderful was it seeing FalCap trying to be the better man in these fights. He even chooses saving a Hydra goon over his shield!
(Another aside: Redwing is dead meat. While I adore the concept of Sam having his feathered friend around, there is too much built in pathos and tragedy in killing the bird. I hope I’m wrong.)
None of this would have the same impact if it wasn’t for Stuart Immonen’s pencils. The breaking glass on a Hydra goon’s mask. FalCap scrunched up behind his shield to avoid gunfire. The frantic scramble into a mysterious elevator. These moments have weight and impact. I found myself thrilled as I flipped the pages to see what happened next. Immonen’s X-Men work has been fine, but seeing the pencils shine like they do here? I’m excited for the future of this EXCELLENT comic.