Written by: Rick Remender
Art by: Stuart Immonen & Wade Von Grawbadger
There are rare moments in time when, as a comic book reader, there is an issue that resonates with a reader. Down to the very core of who they are. An identification with a character and a story that couples them to an arc in a way that will not soon be replaced. For me, that is All-New Captain America #3. So much of the story that is presented by comic book greats Rick Remender and Stuart Immonen reflect chapters of my life (without the super-villains and shield-slinging) so I could do no less than hold this issue in the same reverence up until its final page.
Issue #3 continues the story of the fight against the cabal. Sam Wilson returns to the villain’s mountain base to find a rather upsetting situation. The four word panel describing it made me close my eyes and take a moment. My brow furrowed. My mind twisted, trying to imagine a means by which it was not true. Not necessarily because I felt for that particular character. But because of the brutality of the ending of Issue #2. Because of the ramifications it will have on the relationship between Sam and Steve. Because I know what it feels like to fail someone when you were supposed to be their mentor and their hero.
Remender is telling the story of a hero whom everyone expects to be less than what he is supposed to be. More importantly, Remender brings that continuing thread throughout Sam Wilson’s life from childhood to present, continuing the use of the flashbacks that have been appearing at least since Issue #2. When you come from a poor neighborhood, with meager upbringings, from a poor school system, people expect you to fail. They expect you to top out; to be capable of only but so much. If you want to “get” the new Captain America, you need to understand that the old Cap was about a super-man (see what I did there?) inspiring others to achieve their potential. Now, we are getting the story of a man inspired by that role model, but also carrying his own, lifelong spirit that has allowed him to rise above his surroundings and his means. To be something more than the sum of his parts. This may arguably be Remender’s best work. And, to be quite honest, I have no idea how he is pulling it off. This is not inherently about black or white, poor or rich. These stories should appeal to anyone who has aspired to be more than what another individual or group has tried to define you as. That should pretty much be everyone on the planet.
Immonen, Von Grawbadger, Gracia, Almara, and Caramagna’s collaborative effort on art and presentation are equally engaging. I love the color palette of this book, blending a theme of reds and blacks that are utterly appealing. The explosions, especially the last one, are exquisitely rendered. Immonen does a masterful job of emoting Sin’s face, as her expressions run the entire gamut of emotion in the course of the story.
There are a couple of blemishes. An explanation may need to be given at some point for the remarkable physical strength that Sam shows at one point. And I do not quite get the mini-tank that he is strapped to. Seems like a bit of over-production on Sin’s part. Why not just strap him to a regular-sized tank instead of creating a mini?
All-New Captain America #3 receives a 10 out of 10 on the Geeks With Wives Comics Rating scale for this week. It is an inspiring tale. One which displays Sam Wilson’s strengths and flaws, and, in doing so, makes him a relevant Captain America for the 21st century. For those who doubted, this issue might go a long way in convincing you that Remender and Marvel have got something to go on here. For those who still doubt, keep watching. You might yet be convinced.