Review of the current Captain America #9

Written: 16 July, 1998

I've been reading the posts on the new issue with interest. There were also a few posts, pro and con, over on Jonah's Marvel board about Andy Kubert's art. As I said on the Star-Spangled Site's board, I enjoyed the issue. Unlike some people, I liked the cover and thought it was eye-catching and make the reader want to open up the comic.

I thought the scene on page 2 of Sharon and the police guy standing there as the baseball player was fighting the police was really over-the-top and melodramatic...but I guess that is Waid's style for Cap and Kubert's art is also a bit over-the-top. When I read the baseball player's comments about his fans being ingrates, I couldn't help but think of Waid's own displeasure with Capfans' criticisms on the Capboard. Yeah, that's an off-base (ha) comparison, but I couldn't help myself.

I also can't help but think that the criticisms of Waid not dealing with Gru's Cap characters is like when Kirby was criticized for not doing Cap like Englehart had. In that case, I'm on the side of Kirby, who was coming up with his own ideas and couldn't really be bothered to resolve old plotlines created by others. And that left other writers to pick up the pieces later on. So, I'm sure that if Waid doesn't pick up on some of those old Grue characters, that some other Cap writer will somewhere down the line. Also, Cap has two series now (this is a dream come true really!) and that makes it more likely there will be more room to deal with those characters eventually.

Also, Waid could make the argument that he doesn't want to use Grue's stuff because people don't want to read Grue's Cap, they want to read Waid's Cap. And there's truth in that.

Anyway, I liked seeing Steve Rogers again, acting like a normal human being. I still don't like the spikey-type haircut, though...I grew up with the 1970s Cap hair.

The page where Cap & Sharon cross the bridge: Part of that seemed a bit unCaplike, especially the panel where he is crouched up on top of a ledge looking down...which is more of a Daredevil or Spidey pose than a Cap pose. And when I saw that panel I suddenly thought, "Hey, wouldn't Steve just get on his motorcycle instead of hopping all over?" Although I remember him hopping around before...even hopping across the tops of passing cars...but for some reason it felt more like Daredevil here.

The bit where Cap fired the rivet gun at Rhino seemed a bit too Punisher-like.

And it all ends with another trademark Waid cliffhanger.

Although I sound critical of this issue, I enjoyed it. I used to dislike modern Cap comics. I bought Waid's first two issues (circa #444) and moaned about how much I didn't like them. I didn't buy any of the Heroes Reborn Cap comics when they were new. It wasn't until Cap V. 3 #3 that I started to like the comic again. Sure, it was not like I'd want it to be -- like the old Cap issues I grew up reading -- but I found enough in it to enjoy to keep me happy. I suppose I could be critical of Kubert's sometimes exaggerated art, just as I was critical of Garney's when I first saw it, but I take it as a given now that that's the way it's gonna look, and try to look past that. And sometimes I enjoy it, both art and script. I had questioned how long I'd keep buying the main Cap title now that I had SOL to get (which seems more up my alley), but after reading Cap #9 I know I'll keep buying it for a while longer. Waid's writing keeps me interested on where he is heading.

Waid's Sharon was less annoying in this issue than in previous ones I've read. I was glad to see that she had trouble keeping up, when back around 1995 Waid was having Sharon treat Cap like a fool ("You dead back there yet?").

The reason I like Bernie better is that she is more of an atypical woman in superhero comics, who (at least initially) wasn't glamorous-looking like Sharon, and was intelligent, and had a job, etc. Bernie and Steve could talk about, old movies, politics. Whereas Sharon and Steve's conversation isn't really compelling -- they just talk about working for SHIELD, usually, and how their unusual lives get in the way of having a normal life. I like to read about Steve Rogers' life...I don't think he can relate to the rest of us if he lives as a superhero 24 hours a day and only hangs out with other superheroes or SHIELD agents. That's why he needs people like Bernie. When things get too unreal, that's when I lose interest. When every page has a costumed clown on it, I yawn...which is why I didn't like some of those Grue issues with the Serpent Society, etc. But I dig those issues that addressed some real issues, like the "relevance" issues circa #120-144. It sounds like Waid intends to go in that direction. I sure hope so. But I'd want someone more realistic like Jerry Ordway for artist if I was gonna go in that direction.

By the way, they could also make SHIELD more appealing if they didn't have every single SHIELD agent dressed in a skintight uniform. In the old days, a lot of agents just wore regular clothes. I'd like to see Cap interact with SHIELD more again, but not if everyone is wearing a costume.