Saturday, 5 April 2014

Captain America, Volume 1: Castaway in Dimension Z, Part 1 Review (Rick Remender, John Romita Jr)

The summary of Captain America, Volume 1: Castaway in Dimension Z, Part 1, is as deep and complex as the book itself. Captain America is somehow transported to a cheesy, pulp sci-fi world run by Arnim Zola and has to survive, protect his son Ian, and escape. Think there’s more to this book? There isn’t. Cap suddenly has a son, the corny monsters attack for no reason, and somehow Cap is stuck in Dimension Z for years without escaping.

I know this is an overused maxim but it’s really relevant to this book: show don’t tell. If you suddenly give Cap a son for no reason and make him deeply care about him all without doing any of the character building necessary for the audience to feel the same, and then tell the audience that they should care too - that’s shitty writing. And yet that’s what happens here. It almost feels like a joke: here’s Cap - and here’s his son, Ian. Um, who the hell is Ian?! Get that annoying kid out of there! 

There’s no story, just Cap and Ian running around a gloomy landscape being shot at by aliens who irritatingly talk in choppy english (“When found him he was combating mutates. Him hurricane” etc.). The bad guys are cardboard cutouts of monstrous looking foes with jagged teeth and drooling with glowing eyes. It’s like a four-year-old wrote this. 

There are some redundant flashbacks to Cap as a child in the 1930s when he was having a hard time growing up, being bullied by older kids, which I guess was supposed to tie into Cap’s “son” Ian, passing on lessons he learned as a kid, or whatever. Then again I don’t give a damn about Ian so they were wasted efforts. 

John Romita Jr. is joined by Klaus Janson and Tom Palmer so the book looks awesome - the art was the only saving grace here. Rick Remender’s script is wholly derivative and reads like it was thrown together in a weekend while doing other things. It’s easy to see where his Image series Black Science came from as it’s basically the same script as Dimension Z minus Cap. 

This is a really shoddy comic that couldn’t be more shallow if it tried. I suppose if you like classic pulpy sci-fi, this is for you, but mixing that genre with Captain America doesn’t work (and anyway pulps are overrated - they’re horrible to read, even if it’s chic to look upon them as cool these days). Dimension Z is a Z-grade book.

Captain America - Volume 1: Cast Away in Dimension Z Book 1 (Marvel Now)

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