CAPTAIN AMERICA #16.NOW
Written by Rick Remender
Art by Pascal Alixe and Edgar Delgado with Antonio Fabela & Israel Silva
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: February 5, 2014
Captain America, ideally, has always been a very safe and reliable character in the Marvel Universe. He is the prototypical leader and do-gooder that you could always count on to always be on the right side of things. He is the quintessential patriot, but he stands for more than just America as he adorns himself with his red, white, and blue and hoists up his circular shield to protect himself and the innocent. He ultimately stands for the devotion towards justice, and a straight-forward, by-the-books method of story-telling has often gravitated towards this character. Writer Rick Remender has effectively shaken up this straight-forward approach to Cap and has proverbially turned it upside-down. Mixing twisted science fiction with sociopolitical innuendo, Remender has somehow remained incredibly faithful to the character while putting a spin on the super-soldier hero that not only examines his loneliness as a man out of time, but also exacerbates the character’s already rich mythos and gives us something new.
With that said, this issue has very little to do with Captain America at all.
Instead, Remender shifts the focus on to Jet Black –the daughter of the evil Arnim Zola whom had reluctantly betrayed her father and escaped with Captain America from Dimension Z. We’ve heard very little from Jet Black since she returned back to Earth, except from the litany of tests she had to endure from Nick Fury to assess her power. For this issue we get into her mind as Jet Black traverses along the rooftops, giving her cold and unobjective opinions of New York and it’s citizens. Remender voices her through arrogant, introspective captions that teases the reader in wanting to hate the character, but just as the thoughts begin to enter your mind, Remender reels you back in and keeps your suspicion subdued. It seems that the evil scientist Arnim Zola has set up commodities and contingencies for his daughter Jet, if she were to ever come to Earth. It probably won’t come as a surprise to Cap fans for who makes an appearance by the end of the issue, but it further titliates the reader’s curiosity wonder where Jet Black’s allegiance will inevitably lie.
Artist Pascal Alixe offers a new perspective than we’ve been accustomed to with this series. Alixe brings a darker tone to the series by aiming towards creating realistic renditions of the characters and settings. Much of his sketch and crosshatch lines remain in the finished product and while it brings a fantastic realism to this world, it does tend to get muddled in tighter, close-up panels and ones with heavy shadows. What definitely shines through is the color work of Edgar Delgado, Antonio Fabela, and Israel Silva. The lighting effects, tones, and attention to backgrounds evoke a sense of cogency and bring authenticity to Alixe’s intent on realistic renderings.
This issue was a well-timed respite from the regular storyline happening in Captain America, and as described on the cover, is a prologue to the “Iron Nail” story arc. While Marvel has labeled it as a #1 amongst it’s “All-New Marvel NOW!” line, I wouldn’t say that it is a necessarily a great jumping on point for new readers looking to dip their toes into the realm of Captain America. In fact, the only appearance of Captain America is only a faux version that appears meek and laughable, and is guaranteed to confuse new readers. Aside from that, for continuing readers of this series this will be a refreshing treat that adds another breadth of character examination to a new player in the Captain America roster of heroes/villains and hopefully bring more cadence to “The Iron Nail” arc that Rick Remender is building towards.
The Verdict: 7.5/10