Welcome my friends, a new age of Marvel is upon us. As Secret Wars draws to a close, a new Marvel comic universe is created in its wake. This has been a highly anticipated and simultaneously dreaded event throughout the past year. In 2011, DC comics attempted to reboot their comic universe through an event comic, much like Marvel and Secret Wars. DC and its FLASHPOINT event created a new singular universe as well as a new starting point with very little back story for new readers to need to understand. It was an attempt by Dc to gain new readers, while simultaneously playing to what they believed was their core audience. Considering DC was forced to reboot their comic universe THIS year through another event called CONVERGENCE, you can imagine how well received their NEW 52 was.
Will Marvel make the same mistakes as DC and alienate their fans, and destroy their previously established continuity with their new RE-LAUNCH? Actually…. no, as far as I can tell through their most recent releases, Marvel is merely continuing where they left off before the Secret Wars event, and including characters from other Marvel continuities into their main 616 story-lines. It doesn’t feel so much like a reboot, as it does just a new set of #1 issues.
Now, while I am happy Marvel is not destroying any previous continuity, I still sit warry in regards to their new continuities, and story lines. In particular, the first book, I will be discussing from their new lineups will be Sam Wilson: CAPTAIN AMERICA #1, and discussing my qualms with this book, and the direction the writers have decided to take.
Some time ago, Steve Rogers body was forcibly aged to match his actual age, leaving him as a geriatric. In his feebled state, he decided to pass down the shield to someone he felt was worthy, in this case, he left it to FALCON, aka, Sam Wilson. Sam gladly took the job, and has been fighting in the role as Captain America ever since. However, as opposed to the previous Cap title which featured him, this title appears to be taking a more down to Earth approach. In that the focus of the book is not the super heroics and HYDRA/AIM attacks, but is instead focused on Falcon’s personal views on what he should be doing AS Captain America.
The book makes a point of focusing in on the fact that as Captain America, Steve Rogers stood more as a symbol, and rarely if ever through his hat into a political ring. he kept his policies and opinions “close to the vest” as Sam states. Yet Sam wants to make sure his opinions are heard, and decides to hold a press conference where-in he divulges his opinions while simultaneously terminating his employment with S.H.I.E.LD. and the U.S. Government.
The main problem with this press conference however, is that it is never shown. We receive news lines that state Sam is a Partisan in regards to his policies, but they never clearly state which side of the political line he stands on. This is extremely frustrating as it is the lynch-pin of the entire series. Nearly ever character not directly working beside him is shown to despise him, from civilians, to former allies like Maria Hill, and even STEVE ROGERS HIMSELF.
Unless we know WHY people hate him, it makes the entire arguement confusing. The writer refuses to make him Stand on either side of the party line and attempts to play it safe in regards to his readers. This decision is the worst possible one the writer could have made. While I may not have agreed with Sam Wilson’s political views if they revealed he stood as a bleeding heart liberal, I at the very least could respect him for standing BY those beliefs. Instead we are left guessing.
Aside from that however, the rest of the issue plays out very naturally and introduces Sam’s team of supporting characters. His love interest/partner in ass kicking is Misty Knight, a former NYC cop and street level super heroine who has worked with the Fearless defenders as well as heroes for hire. There is also his pilot (who apparently doesn’t own a plane) is the D-list superhero Demolition man, or D-MAN. D-Man has not been featured in a heavy supporting role such as this in YEARS, and according to the book, that is for good reason.
Altogether, this book left a poor taste in my mouth. It manages to set up character motivations, and story elements regarding the new branches of the HYDRA cult ZODIAC, but it does little to advance the character of Sam Wilson. The whole point Sam makes throughout the issue is that he wants his opinions heard…. yet we never hear them. If his policies are revealed somewhere down the line, that may help shake my problems with this book, but I don’t see that happening anytime soon.