Review: Captain America: White # 1

Captain_America_White_1_Cover_thumb“Remembering the littlest soldier”

To say this comic book is long-awaited is an understatement like saying that Dr. Dre’s Detox album is right on schedule. (I too awaited that album, back when I loved the rap genre)  The wonder team of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale are no strangers to each other. In fact the pair has created instant classics almost every time they collaborate. They gave us Batman: The Long Halloween, Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-Man: Blue, Hulk: Gray and now Captain America: White.

When you have such a long wait for something it often falls completely flat. Usually it crumbles under the weight of its own expectation. The risk of over doing it and trying to please everyone is usually a harsh mistress. I’m happy to report here True Readers, that doesn’t happen at all.

The story opens with a thawed out Captain America on the Avengers table, thinking to himself how could he be alive? I have to say I am a very big fan of first person narration as it gives the best insight into a character and their motivation, while taking you along sidecar on their journey. Captain Steve Rogers (aka Captain America) has found himself awake in a new era and everything about his life has changed. Now this is nothing new to long time Cap fans, but Jeph Loeb really makes you feel for Steve here. Steve realizes that everyone and everything he cared for is long gone. The only tie to his past is Sgt. Nick Fury of the Howling Commandos and wasn’t the best relationship to begin with. Steve is not used to Fury’s respect and admiration as back in the times of WW II that was surely not the case. So faced with all these new faces and new surroundings, Steve does what anyone would do. He takes a break.

Fury goes looking for Steve a little later and is taken back to find him at a small local church on his knees with hands clasped tight. Steve not wanting to talk right away, shoos Fury so he can be alone. Here is the best part of the issue when we are left with a humbled Captain America and his thoughts.

Steve reminisces about his early days in the war when he was not publicly acknowledged as Captain America. He thinks about his biggest regret, the loss of his best friend James Buchanan Barnes or Bucky. Steve remembers exactly what it was like to be such an outsider and Bucky was right there. The kid was barely old enough to shave but willing to risk his life at the drop of a hat for the good of his country. He was everything Steve wasn’t: confident, brave, sociable and always armed with a sense of humor. Steve kept him close always and was very protective of him. He soon realized that he didn’t need any protection. He needed training.

One night when Steve was back from a mission he got careless, and left his tent open while he changed out of his Captain America uniform. The jig was up. Bucky saw the whole thing, and no way to deny it. As Bucky ran away in shock, he chased after him. Bucky swore up and down that he wouldn’t say a word to anyone. Steve believed him and said he was never worried. At that point Steve decided to give Bucky the training that America wouldn’t.

Seeing Bucky as an equal rather than a grunt, their bond was strong. I found a scene when they are training in the woods very enjoyable. Steve sneakily attacks Bucky and leaves him at his mercy. Bucky cries foul and Steve says “Tell that to the nazi creep who has a luger pointed at your head.” 

Bucky understands and the training continues until the day comes where he gives him his own uniform. Steve says that the order came from the President of The United States of America himself. Seems the President feels with Captain America having a teen sidekick it will help the army recruit more kids out of high school. He dons the uniform and the legend of Captain America and Bucky was born.

Bucky-comes-into-beingRight here I will leave you to pick up and read the rest of the issue itself as it was a very entertaining read. I have always been a fan of Tim Sales art style as it is so kinetic and seems to leap and dance across the page. While I don’t like everything Jeph Loeb writes, he does these bio pieces of comic greats very well. He seems to have a knack to find the most interesting angle on each character and bring it right to the forefront. This time with Steve is no different. Like Cap and Bucky are scoffed at in the issues as “circus performers”, so too I compare Loeb and Sale. This issue is like opening night under the Big Top. The lights are on, the audience is just getting settled in and the show is about to begin. Trust me they will only need a few moments to real make some magic.

Overall: While it may have not exactly been worth the seven-year wait we had to endure, nothing rarely is. If you separate it and take it for what is, a comic tale that encapsulates a historic moment in time while throwing some artistic sizzle and pizzazz, I think it succeeds. Is it the best thing I’ve read this year? No, but it doesn’t have to be. It was however damn good and lots of fun. Sometimes that’s all you need. It should be noted that this book actually contained both issue #1 and #0. So in that right it’s a bargain with two tales from this team for the price of one. There is a hilarious moment with Sgt Fury at the beginning, which I won’t spoil here. Sure this issue didn’t have Cap slinging his shield at the Red Skull or Baron Zemo, there will be plenty of time for that later. If you enjoy the bond between two buddies who happen to be American Icons, then I strongly suggest you check this book out. Even if you don’t I suggest you do anyway, you might change your mind. I can’t say until next month, because who knows if it will be out on time? All I can say is when the next installment does arrive, give it a grab. I’m confident that unlike Cap’s mighty shield, you will not be throwing it away from your person until its completely been read.

Story: Jeph Loeb Art: Tim Sale
Story: 9 Art: 9 Overall: 9 Recommendation: Definite Buy