Monday, 12 September 2011

Comic Review - Captain America: Operation Rebirth

Alright Captain America. I was cynical, I'll admit it. But as much as I dislike you as a concept and a character, I could not help but be won over by that movie earlier this year. It came off the back of quite a lot of hype and lived up to it all. Maybe I was wrong about you. And with Operation Rebirth sitting on my bookshelf, you've got the help of Mark Waid. Surely, this should be the start of something beautiful?


Captain America: Operation Rebirth comes off of a plotline that sees ol' Cap dying of the same Super Soldier Serum that gives him the ability to fight a wall with only his face and still win. Writer Mark Waid has a strong record of introducing me to a character I don't know anything about and giving me a firm grasp of their character and making me care about them, doing this with Ralph Dibny and Wally West in 52 and The Return of Barry Allen. I figured that Rebirth would be a reconstruction of Cap, looking at what makes him great whilst telling a pulse pounding story.

I am not entirely sure where it went wrong. Perhaps my intial reservations about Cap were correct, perhaps he is not my type of character or perhaps he is just bland. The artwork did not appeal to me at all, and I found there a real lack of anything interesting or cool to look at coupled with a real lack of emotion or action. This is what I always considered proto-typical comic artwork to be like, and I really did not like it. Then again, maybe it's the characcter designs that rub me up the wrong way, or the art culture surrounding it. Not only is it Marvel, but it's not from a period I particularly like anything from. Ron Garney has to take rather a lot of the flak for this one.

Not that the story is a good one. No, that's not exactly fair - the story was fast moving and twisty and at times very good fun, but between my disinterest in the characters and the unengaging artwork it left me cold. The dialogue was annoying, with ol' Cap coming across as a passive-aggressive, witless smartmouth and his love interest coming off as, well, a love interest. Sure, she's got the "I'm all hard and cold because of seperation" thing going on, but that serves only to make her seem obstinant and kinda petty. I don't believe it's impossible for a writer to make me care about these characters, but Waid fails, surprisingly.

There are some very nice moments in here, and the high point has to be the first chapter. In it we see the Avengers gathering at the scene of a terrorist attack of sorts. Terrorists in giant battle suits have kidnapped the President and are making only one demand: they want Captain America. Cap has disappeared, so it's up to the Avengers to stop enemies that have weapons designed to stop them. The strength of belief that the Avengers have in Cap swept me up, and the way the Cap has a presence throughout the whole story despite his absence really hit me.

Despite the odd flourish of quality, this is not a storyline that I particularly enjoyed or liked. One to avoid, thinks I.

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