There's one bit I didn't like -- a retcon stating that Cap was forgotten after he disappeared, that by the time he was found in the ice (which, due to Marvel's sliding timescale where it's always 10 years after the Avengers first formed, now happened in 2007) most people didn't know who he was anymore, which is just silly; if there was a bona fide superhero fighting alongside the Allies in WWII, that wouldn't just be a footnote in the history books, there'd be like a million books and movies about him. (Hell, the backup story which recaps his origin uses Wasp's original dialogue from Avengers #4, which describes him as "world-famous".)
Other than that, though? It's basically perfect. A first issue is a mission statement, and this one ticks the right boxes: it's about Cap as an inspiration who brings out the best in ordinary people, and it's got him fighting a resurgent white supremacist organization right off the bat, because of course that's what he should be doing. (There's even a good line in there about how cosplaying as a member of a white supremacist organization is totally inappropriate.) Secret Empire is mentioned twice, briefly, once on the recap page and once in the issue (where a character mentions that Cap recently saved the country from an imposter who pretended to be him). I expect we'll still be dealing with some fallout from that misbegotten mess, but I'm sure happy with this first issue's approach: acknowledge it briefly and then move on.
The story's self-contained, but I'm sure it's also the first chapter in an arc, because everything's a six-issue arc now. (I haven't gone back and added up the numbering from all the various relaunches, but I'm guessing they fudged the numbers at least a little bit to arrive at #695, seeing as that puts the end of the story arc right at issue #700.) Still, it functions fine as a done-in-one story, and I hope more of the series does the same; you can certainly tell an ongoing story with a series of self-contained ones, and comics used to do it all the time, you guys.
And Samnee? Samnee is freaking wonderful, as always. I've been a fan of his since Thor: The Mighty Avenger (though I haven't picked up his previous collaborations with Waid, on Daredevil and Black Widow; they're on my to-do list but there are so many comics on my to-do list). He has some great action scenes in this issue, but also does a great job with Cap just walking around talking to people.
Captain America was in desperate need of rehabilitation. Waid has, of course, been here before; he also put the pieces back together after the infamous Rob Liefeld run. And Samnee, and colorist Matthew Wilson, bring that modern-retro style that I most associate with Mike and Laura Allred, the clean lines and bright, solid colors. It doesn't look old, it looks classic.
tl;dr Captain America is good again, you guys; you should read it. This one's going on my pull list.
In the latest issue, Cap is frozen in ice again and wakes up in a dystopian future where America has been taken over by a white supremacist supervillain named King Baby. The year is 2025.
It's nice to see that Marvel's letting Waid be Waid; there have been too many times in the past when they've tried to make Cap apolitical to avoid offending anyone. (Superman has exactly the same problem.) It's only been a few years since Quesada issued an apology over an issue that made fun of the Tea Party.
On the one hand, I'm disappointed to hear Waid and Samnee aren't sticking around longer, because, as I've already noted twice on this page, I'm fucking loving their run. And Coates himself acknowledges he's an uncomfortable fit for Captain America.
In one famous scene, flattered by a treacherous general for his “loyalty,” Rogers—grasping the American flag—retorts, “I’m loyal to nothing, general … except the dream.”
I confess to having a conflicted history with this kind of proclamation—which is precisely why I am so excited to take on Captain America. I have my share of strong opinions about the world. But one reason that I chose the practice of opinion journalism—which is to say a mix of reporting and opinion—is because understanding how those opinions fit in with the perspectives of others has always been more interesting to me than repeatedly restating my own. Writing, for me, is about questions—not answers. And Captain America, the embodiment of a kind of Lincolnesque optimism, poses a direct question for me: Why would anyone believe in The Dream? What is exciting here is not some didactic act of putting my words in Captain America’s head, but attempting to put Captain America’s words in my head. What is exciting is the possibility of exploration, of avoiding the repetition of a voice I’ve tired of.
On the other hand, I do find that tension fascinating, the tension of Cap being written by somebody who really doesn't believe in the American Dream but wants to challenge himself to write a character who does. Whatever else Coates's run ends up being, it'll be interesting.
And I'm sure Waid and Samnee will have another book before too long.
Captain America: Sam Wilson was Spencer too; he was writing both Cap books.
At any rate, yeah, I'm disappointed to see the Sam as Cap/Jane as Thor runs end so soon; it was bound to happen eventually, but I would have liked for them to stick around. (At least we've still got Miles.) I thought Legacy was going to be about old heroes teaming up with their successors, but it turns out it's not really about anything except the usual creative musical chairs and renumbering.
Which they're fucking doing again in July.
This time, evidently their solution to the "But didn't we just renumber a few months ago?" question is that they're going to simultaneously continue the current numbering and renumber with new #1s. (At least, that's what they're doing with Black Panther. Not sure if they're doing it with the rest of the books or not.)
Which, I gotta hand it to Marvel: I can't think of a better metaphor for its total inability to pick a direction and commit to it than dual-numbering.
“Over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be rolling out new beginnings for a few of our key franchises—new creative teams, new starting points, new storylines—all the big stuff that we’ve been building towards since LEGACY began,” said SVP and Executive Editor Tom Brevoort. “This isn’t a clearing of the slate—while these new starts will kick off with new #1s, we’ll be maintaining the classic LEGACY issue counts as dual numbering on these titles as well. Oh, and don’t read anything into not seeing a character on the Jim Cheung piece…we can only squeeze so many characters onto there without killing poor Jim!”
They've done dual numbering before.
(ETA: This looked clearer on my phone. In case you can't see it, there's a small "465" under the giant "50".)
It's generally to signal, "hey, you know how we relaunched at #1 a few years ago? Well we're about to revert back to the old numbering. So we can put a big #50 on the cover and then a big #475 ten months later."
To the best of my knowledge this is the first time they've done the reverse (maintained original numbering AND relaunched with a new #1).
DC did something sort of similar in the '90s where a cover would have the issue number and, below that, a number indicating what part of a storyline it was (helpful for stuff like Superman stories that went through Action Comics, Superman, Adventures of Superman, and Man of Steel).
#1s certainly sell better. Conventional wisdom holds that new readers find large numbers daunting because there's so much history you have to know to understand what's going on.
This is, in typical Marvel style, an attempt to simultaneously win over new readers while keeping the jaded fanboy audience and not doing anything difficult like actually changing anything about the comic. Presumably they think that new readers who just saw the Black Panther movie would rather start at issue #1 (and for some reason also that what new readers who just saw the Black Panther movie really want to see is a storyline where he travels to outer space), whereas current readers would be kind of annoyed to see the numbering change for the second time in a goddamn year and would rather the next issue have a number that follows the current one.
As fucking absurd as all this is, I'm kind of hoping it actually works. Having a primary numbering system that stays the same so I can keep my fucking collection in order, while having a secondary numbering system that lets new readers know hey, this issue is a great place to start, is an acceptable solution to an annoying problem.
As good as Waid is (and he IS good; I'll get to him in a second), it's the artists, Rivera and Martin, who are the real standouts. The graphic design is fantastic, particularly in how they visualize sound and Matt's radar sense -- and not just that, but in how they combine those elements with page layouts that control the pacing of the story. When Daredevil picks out a sound and reacts to it, you can feel the scene shift into slow motion -- and, usually, immediately speed up into a kinetic action scene.
And Waid's plotting is no slouch either. The concepts here are great: Daredevil's identity has been compromised, so Nelson and Murdock is no longer viable as a trial law firm. Waid does a great job of exploring the ramifications of this, and keeps the Matt and Daredevil parts of the story intertwined and supporting each other.
The villains are well-chosen, too. As far as I know, this is the first time Daredevil has fought Klaw, and that's such an obvious matchup I can't believe nobody thought of it before. (There's also a great page where Klaw is introduced and Rivera mimics a few Kirby panels from his first appearance. It's a nice touch.) From there, we go to the back half of the arc, which is best described as "The Firm, but instead of the mafia and the Cayman Islands it's Hydra and Latveria."
And I haven't even finished volume 1.
I've got a lot of other comics to get through, but man, I'm going to need to pick up more of this run soon.
#4's still pretty fun but it feels a little sloppy. It repeatedly misspells Nikola Tesla's name.
Also, there's some weird business with the art when they get in the cab. First, Quantum is shown sitting on the front right. He's in Australia; front right is the driver's side.
Then, on the next page, we see the cab from a different angle, and everybody is sitting in a different seat. If this is meant to indicate that time has passed and that at some point they got out and switched seats, that's not clear; it just looks like a continuity error.
I dunno, this is probably "magic xylophone" nitpicking here. But guys, c'mon. You can look up shit like how to spell Tesla's name and what side of the road Australians drive on. It takes literally seconds to do so.
Artwork is incredible.
I'm curious if the page-long prose that regularly gets posted in the comments with new pages show up in the print books like that, or if there's a big chunk of story as either a prelude or compendium. I can't figure out how important that world-building will be to the story itself.