Falcon taking over as Captain America hasn't exactly been a secret the past few months, despite what the question the cover poses. Marvel has been pulling a media blitz for the "new" Captain America the same way they did for the new Thor. Joe Quesada premiered the soon to be christened Cap on the Colbert Report back in July, which while it did generate some hype it did kill any surprise that issue 25 may have tried to build. Heck Remender even realizes that and makes a bit of a meta-comment as Cap/Falcon reveals himself.
The issue is a culmination of what Remender has been building since issue 1. We see the Avengers taking on Arnim Zola’s creatures from Dimension Z, the reunion of Steve and Sharon Carter (who was assumed killed in action back in issue 10), the betrayal but not really a betrayal of Jet Zola.
Last issue finished on a cliffhanger with Falcon sacrificing himself to save New York from a bomb that would level the city. Falcon of course survives due to Vibranium wings that Iron Man made for him. You know… those wings that conveniently never mentioned till now?
Anyhow, his plans being foiled (that’s the proper term for when you stop a bad guys plan, right?) Arnim Zola looks to retreat back to his dimension with his daughter, Jet, in tow. He tries to explain to her that the Avengers won’t ever be able to trust her due to her lineage, and that she has no place in this world. Jet, not wanting to believe him, rejoins the Avengers in Central Park, who of course immediately accuse her of conspiring against Captain America. It takes literally a panel before Sharon Carter is claiming she heard Jet colluding with Arnim. The only problem with that is that Jet has been on Earth for months and is in a relationship with Falcon, and wouldn’t betray him. Old man Rogers insists on Jet coming back to Avengers Mansion so she can explain everything, except she’s going to have to do it in handcuffs… to be safe. Well that goes down about as well as can be expected.
Jumping to a week later, we see Steve Rogers has called all the Avengers to the Mansion, to announce that he is retiring from active duty and appointing himself as tactical support while the Avengers are in the field. Of course not before making a terrible joke about now referring to himself as… General Geriatric.
As Steve steps down he announces to the assembled Avengers (get it? No…? nevermind...) that he is passing the shield on to Sam Wilson who will serve as the new Captain America. Lifting the shield above his head the new Captain America gives the familiar battle cry.
Yeah Iron Man, that was pretty much my reaction too.
While it was good seeing this particular chapter of Steve Rogers’ life come to a close, I couldn’t help but feel a little disappointed with the execution. Rick Remender's take on Steve Rogers is worlds away from Ed Brubaker's prior run. This run has had a definite Kirby vibe, and this was kind of what was needed after the darker spy/espionage thriller of Brubaker’s work. So Remender sort of went full hog with sending Steve Rogers to another dimension ruled by Arnim Zola and his mutates, Cap adopting Zola’s son and raising him as his own, thinking his son had died, thinking his girlfriend had died, depowering him and aging him to his 90’s, Remender seemed to like putting Steve Rogers through the ringer, so much so that I’m surprised there wasn’t a whole issue of someone kicking Cap in the balls. So I can kind of see why Remender gave this last issue a bit of levity as all these awful things that happened to Steve were wrapping up as his girlfriend and son had returned to the land of the living, and he could hang up the tights and retire. Cap could finally enjoy himself a little bit. Which is all well and good, but Remender may have laid it on a little thick. There are several panels that go on about whether Beast ate all the chimichangas, the Vision getting gas, and whether Spider-Man should write jokes for Hawkeye. The whole thing sequence falls flat and deflates what is supposed to be a pretty important moment in Marvel history. Yes this is the second time we’ve seen one of Captain America’s partners take up the shield, and I really liked Bucky-Cap, Falcon has a longer history with Captain America than Bucky does. Falcon has been at Steve’s side for 45 years, and (at least to me) deserved a little bit better than the shield not needing sequins.
Carlos Pacheco, who is usually a very good artist, somewhat floundered with this issue. For the first few pages his work was solid, but over the issue, figures became more blocky and less dynamic. There are some poorly drawn faces, that look hastily done. Pacheco is a better artist than this and his underwhelming art lets down the story somewhat. He has been switching off art chores for most of his run on the book, but it didn’t seem to give him enough lead time to bring his A-Game on this issue. Also Pacheco’s art to me doesn’t jive well with colourist Dean White. White’s work is one of the industries best colourist and he was a great fit with Jerome Opena, during Remender’s Uncanny X-Force, but the somewhat grainy retro palette he’s attempting in Captain America just doesn’t quite work. The real saving grace art wise in this issue was Stuart Immonen’s epilogue. Immonen’s art is always like eye sex, and it’s going to be great having him take over as artist when All New Captain America launches next month.
Remender can be a bit of a divisive writer, and his run on Captain America hasn’t been without controversy (the Falcon statutory rape thing that was totally not a thing for anybody who actually read the book), but overall he’s done a great job on this book, despite this last issue. Captain America # 25 closes the series in a similar function that Thor God of Thunder # 25 did, we get resolution to story threads from the start of the volume, the protagonist is in a very different place in their life, and someone new has taken the mantle of the title character. While Thor God of Thunder was more successful, Captain America does look to be heading to a very interesting new direction. Sam Wilson is a great character and having him step in for the retired Captain America opens up the series to a lot of exciting possibilities. I just wish we could have had a better executed wrap up to help usher this new era of Captain America in.
- Falcon finally wields the shield
- Stuart Immonen epilogue
- Somewhat underwhelming debut of the new Captain America
- Pacheco is capable of better art
- Jokes that just aren’t that funny and take some of the importance out of what should be a pretty important moment in Marvel continuity