Thursday, June 18, 2009

Captain America #600

The first issue of The Avengers I read was issue #3 - an awesome comic that featured Thor, Iron Man, Giant-Man and the Wasp fighting the Hulk and the Sub-Mariner. It was Lee and Kirby at their best.

But the "next issue" blurb mystified me. It promoted the "return" of Captain America. To which I could only respond, "Who the heck is Captain America?"

And then I missed Avengers #4, and didn't get to read it until it was reprinted years later. But I did get the fifth issue, and almost instantly became a Cap fan.

Like Batman, here was a guy who had no special powers, but was the world's greatest fighting machine. He carried one of the coolest weapons in comics - his shield - and no matter the odds against him, he always found a way to win.

I've followed his adventures ever since, through his best adventures (Lee & Kirby, Steranko, Englehart & Buscema, Stern & Byrne, Waid & Garney) and his worst (Liefeld).

The most recent years under writer Ed Brubaker and his art teams should be lumped in there with the best, as we've seen Cap restore his long-lost partner Bucky to "life," and then lose his own life in the aftermath of Marvel's abhorrent Civil War.

With Marvel returning this comic to its original numbering, Cap hits issue #600 in style. The issue was actually released on Monday this week as a promotion for the upcoming series Reborn, which will, of course, have a significant impact on Cap's story.

This issue is an interesting mix of artists and stories, as the creative teams give us a look at all the important members of Cap's cast, both friend and foe, and where they are a year after Cap's death.

And for the first time since that event, we get a hint that we may not know the whole story about that fateful day.

I should mention that this comic also features a reprint of a classic Golden Age Cap story, and a short essay by Cap's co-creator, Joe Simon (Jack Kirby being the other co-creator, of course).

All in all, it's a terrific package, and well worth the extra coin, even if we have to wait for the Reborn mini-series to see what happens next.

Grade: A-

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