Monday, 27 June 2016

All-New Captain America, Volume 1: Hydra Ascendant Review (Rick Remender, Stuart Immonen)

With Steve Rogers suddenly an old coot and retired, someone has to be Captain America: enter Cap’s long-time sidekick, Sam Wilson aka the Falcon aka… the All-New Captain America! The Marvel version of Nazis, Hydra, are up to their old tricks and want to sterilise the human race with a blood bomb - it’s up to Sam and his bird Redwing to save the world!

Hydra Ascendant sucks because Rick Remender’s Captain America comics have always sucked. Whether he’s writing Steve Rogers or Sam Wilson as Cap, he’s the absolute pits only now he’s trying to pass off a Falcon comic as a Captain America one. 

What’s worse is Sam is a completely useless replacement! Whether he’s fighting a kid(!) or any one of Cap’s rogues gallery from Batroc to Baron Zemo to Crossbones, Sam gets his ass handed to him up and down the street and needs someone like Nomad (Steve’s son Ian from Remender’s ghastly Castaway from Dimension Z storyline) or Misty Knight to save him! 

The theme of the book is working together and the importance of community - that’s why characters are always stepping in to help Sam - but either way he’s not nearly competent enough to be Captain America. If I were a cynical soul (shut it!) I’d say Sam only got the gig because of positive discrimination… Nomad looks like a much better choice but then he’s a white dude and wouldn’t make headlines like a black Captain America would (and did). 

The story is generic superhero twaddle (We gotta stop blah from blah end of the blah) but Remender’s script is sloppy too - Redwing dies and comes back to life without any explanation, Sam can get stabbed straight through with a sword and appear to only be winded but the same thing happening to Baron Zemo puts him down, and the vampire dude wants to wipe out humanity even though he needs their blood to survive? Just garbage plotting! 

Stuart Immonen’s art is the only good thing about this comic. It’s top-notch superhero artwork for a tossed-off script Remender clearly couldn’t have cared less about. 

The recent diversity changes at Marvel - female Thor, muslim Ms Marvel - have been great not because of these superficial changes but because Jason Aaron and G. Willow Wilson have written fantastic unique stories with these characters. Rick Remender’s black Captain America is just an arbitrary change in a worthless, utterly boring story. No wonder Marvel quickly brought back the original to replace the Falcon!

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