CAPTAIN AMERICA #700
Written by Mark Waid, Chris Samnee
Art by Chris Samnee, Matthew Wilson, Joe Caramagna, Jack Kirby
Edited by Alanna Smith, Tom Brevoort
Published by Marvel Comics
Release Date: April 11, 2018
As Mark Waid’s “King Captain America” story draws to an abrupt, slapdash close, at least it can be said that the author captures the essence of who Rogers is and what he does best. Unfortunately, this story almost literally collapses under the weight of its own ambition as the execution is, to be generous, terrible. The spirit of a great Cap story is in these pages, but at best it seems to be a cliff-notes adaption of Remender’s Dimension-Z story from 2013: Cap is propelled into a new time/place, he finds the world under the thumb of a villain, he liberates said world and bonds with a new character, and then returns home. Alas, this reviewer is not a fan of the arc that Waid has tried to conceive of, largely because so much is rushed through without explanation. Issue #700 is the first and only issue to finally touch on the idea of “King Captain America” and it is genuinely over as soon as it starts. I am not sure if this story was meant to be a 12 issue run that got cut down to three, but the universe set up by Waid is so bare bones I don’t think characters even have names outside of Babbington and Liang. I would have loved to know more about the mutant commandos Cap has been working with, but we see little action throughout Issue #700.
There are sequences of thrilling beauty in this issue, particularly in regards to how Samnee makes use of minimalist designs supported by clean lines. The color scheme is vibrant while retaining all the right notes of ‘apocalypse’ that the story demands. Samnee’s pencils works great with the colors in this comic during moments when Cap’s shield is struck by explosions of light. In fact, light and fire frame one of the highlight visual moments towards the end of Issue #700. The sequence, which I sort of commented upon in the earlier paragraph, ties in with Cap’s words to stir the heart. As a reader who genuinely disliked this comic, darn if Samnee and Waid don’t hit a home run when the story needs it most. It all just, as I said, makes me long for more.
This comic is possibly the most interesting teaser for a setting I have come across in a long time from Marvel, so perhaps the that is why I am so disappointed in this issue: because it brings everything to an end. However, having said that? Waid delivers on what is possibly the best Cap line in a long time followed by a genuinely moving act of pure sacrifice. That sequence with Cap doing what cap does best (I won’t spoil it here) is the essence of what Rogers is, a hero who gives everything for others.
I would also like to comment on the interesting ‘back story’ matter that is tucked away once the finale of the “Out of Time” arc comes to a close. With the “Out of Time” story so slim as it was, did this addition need to happen? It appears to be beautiful art by Jack Kirby which has had a ‘story’ built around it to transition Cap from one sequence to the next. For this reviewer it was too much and it hindered the issue. I’d have loved if what was shown was just the art, but trying to cobble a story over the art, when the main story in the issue was so rushed, seems like it did damage to both narratives. I am positive that there are going to be those who will genuinely enjoy Waid’s chance to work with Kirby art, but it didn’t work for me the way I am sure Marvel probably hoped it will play with numerous fans of Captain America.
In the end, this all-too-short story arc for Cap has come to a close and we’re sort of left where we began, but that isn’t a bad place so long as there is always the promise of more Captain America to come in our futures.
The Verdict: 6.0/10