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Ending With Some Bangs

February 19, 2010

     At long last, the final issue of Captain America: Reborn is out.  Okay, so we already know how it’s going to turn out.  But let’s humor Ed Brubaker and Bryan Hitch, shall we?  Wasp breaks into the Red Skull’s lair and rescues Sharon Carter, and just as the Red Skull in Steve’s body is about to kill the current Captain America, Bucky Barnes, Steve wrests back control of his body.  As Wasp and Sharon find Arnim Zola hacking into Vision’s mind, Red Skull finds himself back in the mechaincal body Zola gave him.  Sharon shoots the body with Pym Particles, making it gigantic, and while the Black Widow, Ronin, and Falcon fight the M.O.D.O.K.s, the two Caps prepare for the final fight.  Sharon, Vision, and Wasp fire Skull’s A.I.M. carrier’s missiles at his body, and he topples, as Sin is covered in fire.  The Skull is gone, and Steve is back, though he is surprised to hear that Norman Osborn has Avengers.  Osborn continues to scheme, and Sin’s face has been burnt beyond recognition, now resembling her father.  Steve recalls two futures he saw when he was bouncing through time, one happy with Sharon, and one where New York was burning, and everyone, including Bucky as the Winter Soldier, was dead (hence his decision in Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield?).  Then, the story ends with him sharing an intimate moment with the love of his life, Sharon Carter.

     Although this was a great, action-packed ending, Ed Brubaker sadly did not deliver at all with the themes and subjects of this story.  There was no true final confrontation between Steve and the Skull, no great symbolism past the now forgotten mindscape, and we don’t even know if the Skull is alive or dead.  Plus, Steve barely even sounds like Steve, with none of the great speeches/statements that make him seem like a living symbol of the ideals and beliefs of the United States of America.  There’s even no final resolution to Steve and Sharon’s relationship.  Shocking, considering the fact that Brubaker is behind Cap’s modern success.  The whole time-jumping thing now seems like nothing more than a mechanism to bring Cap back, rather than a tool to examine his past and what made him him, as it could have and probably should have been.  Again, the story definitely feels epic enough, but it doesn’t have the structure behind it.  Bryan Hitch’s art is still good most of the time and really spotty in other places.  Sharon looks great in one panel and terrible in another.  At least the two Caps are still fine.  And I never really liked his take on the Red Skull, mostly because the Skull’s face never actually looks like it’s supposed to, rather too scrunched up.  So, this was by far the weakest part of Brubaker’s run on Captain America thus far.  Considering the fact that I still enjoy the main series, I won’t hold it too much against him.  But this is just another instance of the difficulty of comic book deaths and dealing with them.

Plot: 6.2      Art: 8.8      Dialogue: 8.3      Overall: 7.5

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