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Back in the Day

July 30, 2009

     As something to occupy the extra time between issues of Captain America: Reborn, the newest issue of Captain America is a large flashback to World War II.  Some time after Civil War, but before Bucky became Captain America, he, as the Winter Soldier, and Nick Fury meet in an undisclosed location.  They chat about heroes fighting each other, prompting Bucky to tell the story of a vampire hunt he and Cap had back after the Battle of the Ardennes.  That’s a tiny little goof, since the Battle of the Ardennes took place in World War I.  I think this is really after the Battle of the Bulge, which took place in the same area.  Vampires were springing up among the recently dead American soldiers in Bastogne, and Cap and Bucky had to get to the bottom of it.  They find out about a Nazi vampire who was allied with Baron Blood, though neither of them are there at the time.  They end up realizing that an actress who came there for a U.S.O. performance was a vampire, sired by a local “young girl.”  They end up killing both, though they and all the soldiers around them feel the pain of seeing their friends turned against them.

     This is a cute little inconsequential story that you can just enjoy without having to worry too much about continuity or the current plotline.  That’s why it’s so nice.  It’s also a great example of Ed Brubaker’s superb character work, which has been typical of basically every issue of his run on this series.  As someone who is a big fan of vampires, I can’t say that I like how they look in the Marvel Universe.  Baron Blood looks more like a circus attraction than a credible villain.  But Brubaker still does great work with what he’s given.  The artist is Gene Colan, one of the oldest and most storied artists in the business.  I won’t comment on his usual work, but due to the inks by Dave Gutierrez and the coloring by Dean White, the whole issue just looks muddy and unclear.  I’d say it’s a rather unfair way to treat such a famous artist, as the end result is rather unsatisfying.  The art is really the only problem with the issue, though that’s a rather big problem.  However, I can safely say that fans of Ed Brubaker’s run on Cap and of Cap in general won’t be disappointed.

Plot: 8.8      Art: 6.2      Dialogue: 8.7      Overall: 8.4

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