Captain America #600 Review

Captain America #600
Story by Ed Brubaker, Paul Dini, Roger Stern, Mark Waid, and Stan Lee.

Art by Alex Ross, Butch Guice, Howard Chaykin, Rafael Albuquerque, David Aja, Mitch Breitweiser, Kalman Andrasofski, Dale Eaglesham, and Al Avison.

Colors by Frank D’Armata, Edgar Delgado, Matt Hollingsworth and Mitch Breitweiser, Marte Garcia, and Paul Mounts

Letters by Chris Eliopoulos, Todd Klein, and VC’s Joe Caramagna.

Price: $4.99

Captain America #600 is supposed to be pretty special. The big future event will start here, and we’ll see the return of Steve Rogers. In what way, we don’t know until Captain America Reborn hits in July. But the ball starts rolling here, with a big oversized issue full of contributions from several great creators that make the $5 price tag seem fairly reasonable.

The issue starts out with a 2 page spread written by Paul Dini with art from Alex Ross, that’s actually a reprint from 2002. It’s done in the style of the big tabloid books they were doing around that time. It’s a basic recap of the major points of Steve’s origin, and is probably a good thing to stick in a book where new people might pick it up. It’s a bit melodramatic, but one thing that becomes clear throughout this issue, and in the history of Captain America is that melodrama seems to be par for the course, and if you can get on board with that, you’ll be just fine.

Then the real thrust of the book gets started with the regular issue part written by regular Cap helmsman, Ed Brubaker. It’s been one year since Rogers was shot dead on the steps of the courthouse, and we travel around the Marvel Universe looking at who is affected and how. Our first stop is Sharon Carter, who was the one, while under mind control, who shot Steve. She gets some memories back, in a very timely and convenient fashion, and finds her way to the gun she shot him with. It turns out this is a cylon gun. Well, maybe not a cylon guy, but it’s weird looking, so close enough. But she seems pretty relieved that it’s whatever kind of gun it is, and not just a gun gun. Phew.


Then we wind our way over to 50’s Cap guy, which is what I’ll be calling him, yes. This is a great sequence with art by Howard Chaykin, an artist to whom I’m finally coming around. It’s just four pages, but it tells us exactly what creepy headspace 50’s Cap guy is in, and it looks like it could lead to some more interesting stories. I think he might be going to start one of those super regimented Disney type communities with rules about what kind of shoes you can wear, and where only white people live. It’s just a guess though.

You didn’t forget the return of girl Bucky did you? Oh yes, Rikki Barnes is real, and she’s from another world. That’s all I know, but Eli Bradley, Patriot from Young Avengers, and her have a nice talk and make friends. Maybe she’ll be Bucky’s new partner? The truth is, other than a disinclination towards alternate people from other worlds (First they take “Reborn” from DC, and now this!?), this was alright, mostly because I really like Eli as a character, and am happy to see more of him.

Then it’s off to see where Crossbones and Sin are being held in prison, in a really nice little segment about how scary these two can be, and also how bad correctional officers can really make a difference in national security. You can’t tase someone for yelling at the TV no matter how much you don’t like your new bosses. Ah, such is the power of evil, evil love that Crossbones busts his way through the whole prison to get to his lady love, and they make out as they’re being gassed. Kinky. David Aja did the art on this, and he’s simply dreamy.

Concluding Brubaker’s bit, we see what the Avengers (renegade division) are up to, as they work out with Bucky in full Cap uniform, and Clint Barton with a bow and purple Hulk pants. I think we know where Brubaker falls on the Hawkeye issue. They’re trying to decide what to wear for the big Cap rally, as it would be untoward to appear gauche. Of course, style prevails and Black Widow convinces them that street clothes might make for a nicer evening at the park. Some awkwardness pops its head out, as we’re once again reminded that Bob Jenkins, the Sentry, might not fit in with Norman Osborne’s troupe, just before Osbourne steals the stage, announcing a reunion of Simon and Garfunkel, which is apparently a big deal to Clint. I wish that last part was just a joke I made up. Sharon hunts down Sam Wilson, the Falcon (who is wearing that, as well as Bucky wearing a jacket that says “hey, I AM Captain America, even though I’m trying to hide!”), and tells him they can save Steve, presumably because of the aforementioned cylon gun.

Sure I joke a bit, but it was a fun issue, produced with some very nice art from Butch Guice, Rafael Albuquerque (who I really thought was Stuart Immonen), and Mitch Breitweiser, who’s getting better every day, to the point of perhaps being too good. Again, it’s a touch melodramatic, but also perfectly in keeping with the history and style of Captain America comics over the years.

But hold on, because you paid $5 for this, presumably. Next up is a nice little story of another area of Steve Rogers’ life that some of us might have forgotten about. Roger Stern scripts a story about Steve’s ex-girlfriend, Bernie, who I only vaguely remember, and we learn that Steve was a super, hunky, dreamboat. I’m paraphrasing of course. With very strong art by Kalman Andrasofsky, we’re introduced to a portion of the history that newer readers might know nothing about, and we learn that, if you ever need people to help you move, it’s not such a bad thing to have Captain America owe you a favor.

Last up in the original material section, there’s story by Mark Waid and Dale Eaglesham about collector-fever following the death of Steve. Yes, they have comics about him, and he Steve even drew some pages in the exact style of Jack Kirby, which was actually pretty cool. A high end auction house is selling a huge collection of a Cap fan who knows what Captain America is really about. When a smarmy figure (eerily similar to a certain comic publisher I’m not going to name) tries to use his money to buy the rights to Cap so he can smear the name further, we’re treated to a nice little short story twist. Overall, it was a touch corny, and a touch bitter, but sometimes that’s when Mark Waid is at his best, and I really enjoyed it.

Wrapping up the giant comic book that is Captain America #600 is a text piece by Joe Simon, co-creator of Captain America with Jack Kirby, about the early days of Cap creation, and where they were coming from, followed by a reprint of “Red Skull’s Deadly Revenge” by Stan Lee and Al Avison, from 1941. It’s kind of goofy sure, but the panel layouts are pretty impressive. But seriously, the Red Skull wore the silliest disguise I’ve maybe ever seen.

Overall, it’s a neat little package. Probably not worth the hype, but definitely worth a read, and certainly worth the cover price, but given the option, I could have waited for Wednesday.

Josh Flanagan
Seriously, a beret and man panties?
josh@ifanboy.com

Comments

  1. I forgot they were publishing this for Monday and not Wednesday. Great review

    But the main story itself by Brubaker sounds kinda ‘eh’. The extra material sounds great though.

  2. Wait so this is out now, like right now?

     

  3. Right now.  Available for your perusal.

  4. The last issue was the first Captian America ive ever read. I bought it because of your good words about it and really enjoyed it. I guess ill be waiting for Rebirth to really jump in.

     Btw have you seen the preview cover for rebirth??? Hes totally pooping!

  5. Marvel seemed to really bungle this whole Monday release thing. Either people don’t know the issue is out, or their stores didn’t even get it.

  6. My shop actually doesn’t get the issue until Wednesday.  They were together enough to let their subscribers know in advance by email, but I bet they get some annoyed walk-ins.   I could try to find it at another shop but I’ve got it pulled already for Wednesday, so. . .this was really not a great idea, Marvel.

  7. no matter how much promoting is done there really isn’t a way to release a single comic on a monday and have it sell as well as it may have on a wednesday. very weird they would even try it o.o

  8. Rebirth,Reborn.How about Recycled?

  9. @sgrsickness: This comic will sell the same amount no matter what, the bigger issue is that the retailers weren’t told about the mainstream media push (that turned out to be no kind of push at all) or that they books were — supposedly — shipping on Monday, so they weren’t able to up their orders. That is really why the book will sell less than it should, not the early release.

  10. The reason many stores didn’t get it: shipping charges.  To get these in by Monday, stores had to pay extra money to have them shipped out to them.  And while this was a moderately cool little anthology, it really wasn’t worth the headache of releasing it on a random Monday.  I mean, if they wanted to make it special, and release it on a non-Wednesday, they should have put it out on the 4th of July.  Or gotten it out by Memorial Day or something.

     

    This was pretty much a four star book.  And you should really make sure you’ve got a Five Star-er if you’re going to make it a special event.

  11. @akamuu   That’s a great point.  I assume my shop expects to sell out of however many they order, so why bother paying more to get them early? 

  12. Because Marvel was hoping that news coverage would drive people to the stores and it would be an event.  But you can’t really plan or expect news coverage, and they were trying to capture lightning in a bottle again, and it doesn’t seem to have worked.

  13. @ohcaroline: It is absolutely getting some media coverage. But look again at that story and see what’s missing.

  14. Jeff Reid (@JeffRReid) says:

    Is anyone else a little disenchanted by the way Marvel has renumbered this series to make it be #600?  Marvel’s done this before with THOR and FANTASTIC FOUR, but it seems cheap each time.  It’s a sales thing, which I understand, but it takes away from the idea of a fresh, new start that the renumbering seems to be offering the fans.

  15. If these deaths and resurrections are proof of anything, it is that fresh new starts in comics are illusory. Or perpetual, depending on how you look at it. Now, giving them new #1s in the first place might have been a little dumb, but this? This renumbering doesn’t make any difference to me at all.

  16. My shop isn’t open on Mondays. I told them this was coming out on a Monday and asked what they were doing. They didn’t even know about it. The guys just kinda laughed and said "I’m sure it’ll be in your pull on Wednesday."

    This is a really odd shipping plan. You think they’d want it on a Wednesday so that any potential new readers that picked it up would realize that all new comics come out on Wednesdays so they should maybe check back next week.

  17. Really bad timing if they’re trying to get media coverage…

  18. @chlop: Wonder what’s more important?

    Iran elections rigged

    N. Korea talking about nuclear war

    Economy still not holding up so well

    Jon and Kate having marriage problems

    Or Captain America ressurected?

  19. $1.66 is what I paid for it.  Marvel’s subscription price.  Works even on the $5 comics.  12 issues, $20.

  20. Released on a Monday….eww. I’m reading this in trades (well…Omnibus!) but this is pretty lame on Marvel’s side IMO. Just wait and release it with the rest of the books on Wednesday…I mean, this just makes no sense.

  21. Were they trying to avoid leaks? Is it worth trying to make sure it doesn’t leak?

  22. My store didn’t get the book either even though they ordered it to come today and now a little worried they may not get it at all. 

    @Brian I’m a Omnibus reader too but figured I would pick up #600 since I’m going to Heroes Con this weekend and Brubaker is going to be there.

    Anybody else going to Heroes Con this weekend?  It’s my first con and pretty stoked about it.

  23. Writers – Ed Brubaker, Paul Dini, Roger Stern, Mark Waid, and Stan Lee

    Artists – Alex Ross, Butch Guice, Howard Chaykin, Rafael Albuquerque, David Aja, Mitch Breitweiser, Kalman Andrasofski, Dale Eaglesham, and Al Avison.

     That line up of talent makes me very excited, the return of Steve makes me very happy…You only make me look more forward to picking this up on Wednesday with this review  (only day I can get to the comic shop)..

    Hype or no hype..Brubaker is writing a great epic

    I.B.I.T.

    In Bru I Trust

  24. The Mark Waid story was, hands down, my favorite part of the issue. The Brubaker stuff was alright, it progressed the story along well, just was ok though.

  25. LOVED the Bernie story by Roger Stern;  good to know what happened to her and the rest of his early 80’s cast…

  26. There were some things that Brubaker made Osborn say that I thought were unnesscary and pointless. This is where I say "so long Cap"

  27. I noticed they used the hyphenated version of the word SuperPatriot? We all know who the real SuperPatriot is!

  28. every shop in town acted like I was retarded when I asked if they had this today.

  29. From what I’m seeing this whole plan seems to have fallen a little flat.  If I might be alowed to stretch the metaphor to breaking point, this is kind of what happens when you deliberately set out to make the same lightning that you’re looking to catch.  Everything about this seems orchestrated, when # 25 had this feeling of spontaneity.  Also, it feels (and this is purely an opinion) like Marvel was getting impatient to make this splash when Bru was biding his time, telling Bucky stories and possibly wasn’t quite ready to bring Steve back just yet.  Just glad that if it had to happen, he’s at least allowed to be the one to write it.

  30. I’ve mostly been ignoring the marketing/release kerfuffle — I can see people’s points, and I think it’s definitely something to learn something from, but I know nothing about economics or marketing and I’m not going to pretend to.

    What I DO know is that I love Steve Rogers and am thrilled about his imminent return.  I also know that Bernie Rosenthal is my favorite of his ex-girlfriends (his ex-fiancee, even, though the story neglected to mention that), so seeing her was a real treat.  And the Mark Waid story very nearly made me cry.

    I’m trying to figure out why Guice drew Sharon with bangs and a headband, though.  When did she turn into Gwen Stacey?

  31. Great review. I agree with all of the points. I enjoyed the Roger Stern story, because it took me back to when I was a kid and was reading those issues in my Grandparent’s basement. It was weird looking back and remembering that Steve Rogers/Cap actually had a secret identity.

  32. Marketing and retailing bs aside, I really loved this comic.  The Brubaker stuff was as good as the best parts of his run so far.  I’m looking forward to Reborn, I just hope Marvel can stay out of its own way and let us follow the story in the comics instead of throwing hail marys to the speculators.

  33. Did  anyone else count all the covers in the back?  There were not 600!!!

     

    Also, can someone tell me who the comic publisher is "eerily similar" to? 

  34. it’s funny that people are saying marvel’s "reborn" is similar to dc’s "rebirth" when marvel had ‘heroes reborn’ before that.