Captain America #1 is published by Marvel, written by J. Michael Straczynski, Jesús Saiz, colors by Matt Hollingsworth, and letters by Joe Caramagna. Captain America’s past resurfaces whilst he makes decisions to keep the memory of his family alive.
This issue is something of a return to the status quo for Captain America, grounding the character as much as possible. Straczynski has an interesting way of blending the past and the present, and Captain America is often the pinnacle of that blurring. It moves between the young and current Steve Rogers, all within one building, which is also the major turning point for Cap. He makes the decision to buy the apartment building, something that has stood and housed his family for decades.
This issue may branch out into adventures and the superhero side of Captain America, but the plot is elasticated, always returning back to the building. The moments of superheroes are brief, like distractions, but that speed creates a fascinating investigation into how many of the most important figures in the Marvel Universe divert their time. It’s often joked about by readers about how heroes pop up in different issues, and this comic attempts to demonstrate that that can be done. The intro to the actions is lighthearted and fun, which is the energy that the whole issue possesses.
What is great about Captain America is the simplicity and purity of the character. There is something so inherently good about the man, that he just believes in helping who he can. Whether it be a person on the street or a member of the superhero community, Steve can’t say no when he’s asked for help. He talks to Tony Stark in the same way as he would to his neighbour.
Captain America #1 finds small elements of fragility in Cap that are very rarely seen elsewhere. He may be superhuman, but that has limits. And like with schedules, there are some clever pieces of dialogue that add flavor to the world of being an Avenger, The narration orbits the theme of stories and fits the sudden nature of the issue’s heroics. It should be noted that the lack of one particularly, especially when showing younger, pre-serum Steve, is confusing but could be due to a recent story development that wasn’t recapped.
The art is fantastic. Saiz has an ultra-realistic style that works well for the grounded, street-level characters who are supposed to look like regular humans. For Steve, there are two stages of that, positioned in two separate periods of his life. When the transition happens between the ages, the two figures are placed within the same panel, before the comic continues in that time period for the remaining scene. It’s amazing to see unfold within the page. The normality is there, and warming, with the superhero aspect always looking like it intrudes on the real world. When needed, and that is certainly the case later in the issue, Saiz has the ability to demonstrate what happens when Steve has to don the shield, with some excellent pages of action. The guest stars invite that exploration and take Cap very far out of his comfort zone.
The colors could be considered muted and dull, but any brighter, and it could be argued that it wouldn’t match the general art style. Captain America’s private life, gravitating around his apartment building and neighborhood, has frequently been colored to be gloomier, so that it resembles the period in time that Steve came from. When the adventure starts and Cap wears his costume, there is much more vibrancy and exhilaration with the shades. The lettering is formal and clear, helpful in an issue that contains so much dialogue.
Captain America #1 brings layers to an old man who has to be everywhere. For a man so stoic and permanently poised, perhaps even labelled as boring by some, Straczynski leans on that and sees if that can be tested. The unique approach to superhero stories, operating outside of when the narrative might begin, infuses the time-hopping plot with pace, variety, and humor. The whole comic is refreshing whilst using classic characters to draw in readers old and new.
Captain America #1
Captain America #1 brings layers to an old man who has to be everywhere. For a man so stoic and permanently poised, perhaps even labelled as boring by some, Straczynski leans on that and sees if that can be tested.