What we have here, is a failure to communicate.
At least that’s how I see the new Captain America. I dig the story, I like the whole alternate universe vibe and the survival against weird creatures arc. On the flipside, this being a Captain America story doesn’t gel. This is a Fantastic Four story, or maybe a Spider-Man story or even something involving Wolverine. As a Captain America tale, writer Rick Remender’s attempt to do something radical in order to step outside the long shadow cast by Ed Brubaker just doesn’t work.
As I said, the story itself is just fine. A hero has been taken into an alternate universe by an old enemy. This enemy has experimented on the hero in an attempt to sire a clone. Our hero escapes capture and takes the clone child with him. One year later, which is where CA #2 picks up, the hero is wandering the wasteland with his clone child trying to escape. Making matters worse, the child is growing at a rate of three or four years to every one of being alive. How can our hero get out of this?
If you insert a hero with a more loner persona, this tale would be aces. Captain America is a leader, somebody who has his fingers in too many pies. That lack of singularity makes detaching him from the normal world and focusing on the Dimension Z story fairly difficult. The loss of CA from the real world for a year is something that would have to be addressed in other books such as Avengers, Winter Soldier and Uncanny Avengers. By trying to keep this contained in Captain America, Remender is sacrificing continuity just to write something noticeably different than Ed Brubaker.
Even if the Dimension Z arc works for you story wise, it is still too fast a switch from the serious, character driven work Ed Brubaker was doing into this sci-fi action set up. Then there’s a third problem, this shoehorned in subplot involving Steve Rogers as a kid. Apparently, Remender decided that Steve needed to come from a family where the father was a scumbag. I’m sure there’s a reason for this tacked-on plot device but, like everything else here, it’s coming too fast to be effective.
My hope is the Remender realizes his roll of the dice has failed. Trying to step completely out of the world Ed Brubaker set up for Captain America is admirable, but Remender hasn’t accomplished it effectively. These two issues of Captain America are silly and read as clunky and forced in comparison to where CA has been. I’m not saying Rick Remender had to continue what Brubaker was doing, but this drastic a change in tone isn’t working. Hopefully once this Dimension Z thing is wrapped up, Remender will give us a better version of Captain America.
The worst part is the silliness of the new issues in comparison to Brubaker makes John Romita Jr.’s art seem goofy, which sucks because I love John Romita Jr.’s work – he’s one of my favorite artists. Even in CA, I dig the individual characters and backgrounds he pencils, but overall, it feels too drastic a change from previous artists like Steve Epting.
Captain America is the failure to communicate. The failure is how Rick Remender has chosen to communicate his desire to step outside the Ed Brubaker shadow.
(2 Story, 3 Art)