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The Darkest Hour

January 4, 2010

     Okay, not only is this not the actual cover to the fifth issue of Captain America: Reborn, but as the whole internet knows, various other issues of other comics, plus the epilogue, have ruined this entire story.  This is the penultimate issue of Steve Rogers’ return, and the epilogue is already out, due to a change in the number of issues of the miniseries.  Since they made that change well beforehand, couldn’t they have just pushed the epilogue and the various annuals back one month?  Just one?  Well, at any rate, Cap continues to fly through time, and Namor and Mr. Fantastic check his body in his coffin, but it suddenly disappears.  Bucky is tortured by the Thunderbolts, and Sharon Carter worries about what she has done.  While skipping through the Kree-Skrull War, Cap manages to get Vision to store a message in his memory for everyone in the present day.  Falcon rescues Bucky, and the Red Skull travels to Latveria to meet with Dr. Doom and see his evil plan fulfilled.  The current Vision suddenly finds the message Cap left to his predecessor and gives it to Wasp and Mr. Fantastic, and Bucky, the Black Widow, and Ronin track down Sharon Carter.  As the Skull’s plan comes to fruition, Cap is pulled forward in time, and his body arrives in the present day, only now inhabited by the Skull.  Steve is now trapped in a mindscape where the United States is ruled by Nazis, and he finds the Skull and starts to fight with him.  The allied Avengers group arrives to stop the Skull on the way to Washington D.C., and a massive melee begins.  Bucky is unable to actually truly stop the Skull, as he is worried about hurting Steve, and the Skull stands above him, ready to behead him with his own shield as Steve fights his own battle within his mind.

     For having so many silly ideas involved in this, and for having those problems I mentioned before, this sure feels like an epic story.  Especially the parts with the fight in Washington D.C.  Ed Brubaker sure knows how to tell a story, even if his methods are occasionally odd.  As I had hoped, Norman Osborn and even Dr. Doom have stepped aside in the story, and the Red Skull has taken his place as the true archnemesis, rather, antithesis of Captain America.  Just as it should be.  Brubaker does great work with all of the bits in Cap’s past, and his method for getting a message into the present about Cap’s condition was very intelligent.  Plus, the whole Nazi America mindscape thing is just great.  It’s just this great look into both Captain America and the Red Skull the likes of which have only been done by the greatest of writers on this title.  Because Brubaker is definitely counted among them.  I’m rather peeved that I already know the outcome of all of this, but the story is good enough that I’m still excited to see the final battle.  I should have always known to trust that Brubaker would know how to handle this resurrection.  Bryan Hitch’s work is also superb, as it has been on this entire series.  Again, maybe because of Butch Guice?  I don’t know.  But this is one high-octane story that seems like it will go down in that relatively small list of comic book deaths done right.

Plot: 9.0      Art: 9.0      Dialogue: 9.3      Overall: 9.0

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