Review: Captain America #600

You’ve got to hand it to Marvel. Even though most of their comics cost 3.99 now, they always make sure you get your money’s worth on the big, anniversary issues. Captain America #600 is a billion pages long, and features an army of artists, most of them great. However, even with all the weight and pretty art, is the giant page-count necessary? I actually don’t think so.

We start off with a two-page reprint from Paul Dini and Alex Ross. It’s great, but it’s a reprint, so who cares? Up next is an “In Memoriam” story (I’m saving Brubaker’s tale for the end). It ends well, but it goes on way too long, and is ultimately just filler. After that comes a story from Mark Waid and the newly Marvel, Dale Eaglesham. This tale promotes memorabilia, and, especially after seeing Pixar’s “Up,” that message seems worthless. The real treat here is to get an early peek at Eaglesham’s Marvel work. It looks great, as always. What follows is a brief letter from Captain America creator, Joe Simon. It too is meaningless filler. And, of course, the issue ends with an old Captain America reprint written by Stan Lee. The problem? It’s not drawn by Jack Kirby! The Kirby estate must have a problem with Marvel. Otherwise, why in the hell wouldn’t Kirby’s art be part of a Captain America anniversary issue?!

Final Word on Bonus Stuff: Skip it, unless you really, really want to see a brief, but bad, Mark Waid and Dale Eaglesham story.

Now, onto the main event. Well, seeing as how this issue came with the Captain America: Reborn news, and the fact that issue #50 didn’t contain anything big, and the expectation that a big, anniversary issue would contain some startling events, you’d think the world would explode, right? Nope. This is one of the two major problems I have with Brubaker’s Cap. It’s too much setup and not enough payoff.

Having said that, I really don’t have many complaints about the story itself. Just, for the love of God, don’t expect anything big, only hints of big things to come. Actually, without all of the hype, this would probably be one of the better Captain America issues. Multiple artists are on board, and if the guests aren’t better than the regular team, at least they don’t suffer from the horrible Frank D’Armata coloring. My favorite guest, of course, is David Aja (Get him a good, regular gig, Marvel). He illustrates a wonderful Crossbones and Sin segment. My other major problem with Brubaker’s Cap is Bucky. Since this issue contains multiple perspectives, we only see a little of him, and we’ll hopefully see even less in the coming months!

Final Word: Stellar main attraction, but due to the bloated page number and price, this issue’s overall quality suffers.

Grade: B-

For more comic goodness, go here.

The best Captain America bonus:

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20 thoughts on “Review: Captain America #600

  1. Wait, was there actually the ‘America, Fuck Yeah!’ splash in there?

    I understand your point with Brubaker always kind of being a slow-burn kind of guy, but I think that’s true on all his books – it’s just more visible in this one. But, I mean, look at most of his output. With the exception of IMMORTAL IRON FIST (which was all-awesome all the time), his stories have had the Big Moments kind of sneak up on you.

    The fact that Marvel’s hype machine set it up as something it wasn’t isn’t really a fault of Brubaker or the story, is it?

  2. “Wait, was there actually the ‘America, Fuck Yeah!’ splash in there?”

    No. That’s just a Cho/Steranko/Kirby piece that I’ve wanted to attach to a Captain America review for awhile, and it actually kind of fits here, since it’s all about extras.

    “The fact that Marvel’s hype machine set it up as something it wasn’t isn’t really a fault of Brubaker or the story, is it?”

    No, and I didn’t try to make it out that way, only warn others so they wouldn’t be let down. Also, I judged the merits of the story with the price tag in mind, and it’s not really worth the price.

    If Brubaker is always a slow-burn, then this is just his worst example of it. I don’t notice it in Criminal or Daredevil. Honestly, this is probably my last issue of Bru’s Cap. I have the first Cap Omnibus. I don’t read it much, but at least the stuff in there was pretty good. Marvel just released the solicit for the second Omnibus, and not only does it have less pages and a reprint for the same cost, but the stories in there aren’t really ones that I want to reread.

    It’s looking as if I never should’ve gotten on Cap in the first place, and it took me over fifty issues to realize that.

    We’ll see. I’ll still pick up Reborn, if only to see more Hitch art and Steve’s return.

  3. hmmm, “B-“, eh? i kinda see why you gave such a low rating as Cap #600 looked like another set-up issue, but it was just $4.99 (with tax) and had a lot of small pay-offs.

    the most important thing (the best) Cap-related stories over the past three years have shown me, especially in Brubaker’s Cap, Bendis’ New Avengers and in all of the maxi-series and tie-ins (House of M, Civil War, Secret Invasion), is that Steve Rogers has become the most respectable figurehead among the heroes and villains in the Marvel Universe.

    i think it’s amazing that Brubaker and crew were able to prolong Steve’s memorial over the past twenty six issues of Cap while continuing what may yet be discovered as the longest Red Skull / Cosmic Cube story in Marvel’s history.

    what #600 indelibly does do more than in the past 25 issues of Cap is satisfyingly culminate Steve’s long memorial; that story really couldn’t have been told two years ago, and is an important story for this reason.

    read Reborn #1, and you’ll see why #600 is more satisfying.

  4. Well, I did Reborn, and I’m still frustrated. We had three issues (Cap #50, Cap #600, and Reborn #1) that were pretty much the same thing.

    I’m considering dropping Cap, and, yes, I’ve been on since the beginning.

  5. well, no, not exactly… Cap #50 was a Bucky birthday story, and had little to do with Steve; i almost considered trading a copy i bought (because i buy Cap for Steve), but Brubaker handled Bucky so well as a character over the past four years that i know i would miss the issue (one of the two copies i bought) if i took it out of my collection.

    i wasn’t reading Cap from the beginning of Brubaker’s run, the early issues sold out quickly where i buy comics direct, so there would be large gaps in my collection;

    what i know now is that Winter Soldier was similarly strung out, but the big difference is that Steve Rogers was still around (following clues about Skull, Hydra and SHIELD in cahoots while he reconnected with Bucky) back then.

    if you feel like you got jacked around for the past two years, you aren’t the only one (i just figured that my Cap collection isn’t complete, so i would just buy the issues i need).

    the book that really frustrates me is *flames* Dark Avengers *flames*… talk about a set-up book that meanders and creates loose ends as it goes along! right now, i got one issue in my DA collection i didn’t trade after i read it (the one that has that nice Deodato wraparound variant cover)…

    all Dark Avengers is good for is telling a particular story that can’t be told in Thunderbolts and New Avengers, about Norman Osborn and his second rate Avengers rising and falling. many fans i know think DA will be cut after Norman finally loses control and is an outlaw again. i don’t know what to think, except i like Bendis’ writing and that Marvel is making more money.

    Cap, at least, is going somewhere and is actually a main title. same thing with New Avengers. Invincible Iron Man is going somewhere, too, and is still solidly on track. i’m happy with Thor, too.

    i’d shop direct from issue to issue and see what’s worth buying, unless you’re already doing that.

  6. Dark Avengers sucks?

    Ah, now there’s something we can all agree on.

    Oh, I still think Brubaker’s Cap is one of the best ongoing titles, anywhere, but it’s just not worth it to me.

    I want comics that I’ll want to reread over and over, and I know I’ll rarely re-read that second Cap Omnibus.

    On the other hand, will the series get better after Reborn? That’s very probable. There is a part of me that is still tugging for me to buy Cap #601 and the rest of Reborn. So, we’ll see.

  7. hmmm.

    i’ll buy Reborn and trade the issues if i don’t like them, but check this out; i figure (almost guarantee) Bru will probably use the miniseries to set up the next big story arc in Cap.

    i have no doubt that Bru will get more into the lingering plot threads from the first 50 issues of Cap. on the down side: the Skull is still in Lukin’s dying body, Zola, Hydra, the Cosmic Cube and Osborn’s secret cabal are still at large, Osborn is still in charge, Tony Stark is mentally disintegrating, Thor is bummed from exiled from Asgard and Dr. Strange is no longer Sorcerer Supreme. on the up swing: The (real) Avengers are getting along and fighting well as a team, Nick Fury still has his Secret Warriors, Bucky is at the top of his game, Sharon and Ms. Marvel are probably looking for payback and Thor can go back to being an Avenger.

    and then there’s Elektra… she’s back, and i’ll eat my (fill in the blank) if she doesn’t go after Osborn herself; Punisher tried, but he can’t cloud minds or put his mind in someone elses.

    now about Dark Avengers; i don’t know how you feel about The Void, but i was looking carefully at the regular cover of Dark Avengers #6 and darned if that ain’t The Void chasing Marvel Boy. Bullseye, Moonstone and The Void have to go down, and Marvel Boy and Ares should be part-time (real) Avengers.

    here’s what i want to know: what the heck will happen to Bad Cap?

  8. oh wait, i take something back… i was told by a comic book vendor that Reborn will run concurrently with the regular Cap series, so Reborn probably won’t be used to tie up any major plot threads.

    oops.

  9. “the Skull is still in Lukin’s dying body”

    What? Didn’t Bad Cap kill it?

    “Bullseye, Moonstone and The Void have to go down, and Marvel Boy and Ares should be part-time (real) Avengers.”

    I’m very fond of Ares and Noh-Varr, but, please, it’s “Noh-Varr,” not “Marvel Boy.”

    “oh wait, i take something back… i was told by a comic book vendor that Reborn will run concurrently with the regular Cap series, so Reborn probably won’t be used to tie up any major plot threads.”

    No, you’re right. Your vendor is high. Reborn, with the exception of Cap #601, is taking the place of the main series. A few threads have already been tied in Reborn: We know now exactly what was up with Zola and Skull’s machine and we know that Zola is indeed alive.

    Oh, and after seeing that #601 preview, I think I’ll have to get it. I love me some Gene Colan.

  10. ooh, did i blow it.

    well, then, me picking up CA Reborn #1 was not a bad idea, it’s just kinda dumb that Marvel restarted the main series again. and Gene Colan returning (for how long?) is gonna be good.

    i like Ares and Noh-Varr, too, but let’s face it: Noh-Varr is no Mar-Vell, not even like M-V before he got the Supreme Intelligence whammy… so, it’s still MB to me until he starts pulling real superhero weight.

    however…

    an acquaintance at Paramount Pictures and i spoke about their doings with Marvel Ent. and what Marvel properties they’re looking at; two viable possibilities i pitched him (who i would like to see on the big screen) are Luke Cage (as he is now, not that kitschy 1970’s version) and *ahem*…

    Marvel Boy.

    i wouldn’t suggest a movie for him if i didn’t like the character and didn’t think he was worth the weight.

  11. Oh, Reborn will only be five issues, and then they’ll presumably continue with Cap #602. I think it’s safe to say that Colan will only render one issue. He’s old, and sick, if I remember correctly.

    I haven’t read a lot of Mar-Vell’s adventures, but I was a HUGE fan of Morrison’s Marvel Boy.

    See, the reason why it frustrates me when people call Noh Marvel Boy, is because nobody called him that in Morrison’s book. But, when Bendis took the character, that’s when that title came along.

    So, it’s no big deal, but because I loved the original series so much, it’s a bit upsetting.

  12. well, this is sooo off-topic, now…

    i LOVED Morrison’s Marvel Boy miniseries. quite honestly, i thought he was A LOT more interesting than The Sentry was when Sentry was first introduced, and i wanted Noh-Varr to terrorize (and eventually assimilate with) the rest of the Marvel Universe right after i read the miniseries.

    there was too much stinking attention around The Sentry when he first burst on the scene; i felt a lot of wind, flash and mystery but no real substance, and that was mainly because he was a God-In-The-Machine type character.

    i didn’t feel that way about Gerber’s Omega, even though Gerber’s vision was still never fully realized, and i certainly don’t feel that way about Morrison’s Marvel Boy.

    i felt Morrison’s Marvel Boy originally had the inherent potential to blow up big like Lee/Ditko’s Spider-Man, even more so with his unique ancestry and ambiguity… i mean: Kree genes, morally (and perhaps sexually) ambiguous, and he definitely had the superior alien, bad boy, smart ass thing down.

    Morrison is a Scot, but his Marvel Boy is definitely post-modern British Punk humor (like the work of Philip Bond, Alan Martin, Jamie Hewlett) with some American kitsch thrown in, although some critics compare Morrison’s creation to post-Kirby FF… i think it should have gone through the roof, but i think his current appearances are merely gratuitous and so not up to par.

    anyway, back on topic.

    can you imagine if Noh-Varr was mentored by Steve, no longer wasted by Osborn? talk about an odd couple. he could even be a new “Falcon” type partner.

    how crazy would that be?

  13. Well, yeah, you mention Spider-Man, which was part of the point, and one of the reasons why the book, but not the character himself, was called Marvel Boy. There was a good article uh… here:

    http://graphicontent.blogspot.com/2005/02/future-is-x-rated-marvel-boy-modern.html

    Which went into a lot of what Marvel Boy was, including his Spider-Man connection, and representation of the entire Marvel continuity.

    Sentry got attention because he was a gimmick, and, frankly, Bendis has only made him slightly more interesting, emphasis on slightly.

    And, yes, Morrison has a lot of British influences because, well, it’s right next to Scotland.

    Where do I want Noh-Varr to be? Well, it’s difficult to say because nobody, including Bendis, really, knows how to handle him. But, sure, I’d love a Steve/Noh-Varr team. I doubt we’ll ever get it, but, hey, I’m eager to see what Jason Aaron will do with him in that upcoming The List one-shot. Aaron is a big Morrison fan.

  14. thanks, that was a supercool essay.

    yeah, i read the apt comparison to (how Marvel Boy could be a post-modern) Spider-Man (i nailed it!), but i pulled this tasty tidbit out of the article, instead:

    “The comparison to the Sub-Mariner is an easy one to make as both he and Noh-Varr are outsiders who essentially declare war on mankind. While the Sub-Mariner attempted to flood New York, Noh-Varr simply destroys the UN’s headquarters and carves the words “FUCK YOU” into Manhattan and justifies it by saying, “Because it was the likes of you and this whole murky, hypocrite race who powderized my guiltless crewmates for no reason better than profit and ignorance” .”

    it’s political, satirical, angst-y… unfortunately, i can’t quite wrap my mind around his way of thinking, or i would write stories for Noh-Varr myself; it isn’t exactly an idealogue, it’s more of a kind of “righteous” mocking that i’ve seen journalists and political pundits do to strike at the heart of social evil. you know who’s closer to this way of thinking? it’s not Steve Rogers…

    well, obviously Namor, but he’s so detached being a Monarch that he can’t be a social idealogue. really, it’s Ben Urich, but he ain’t an Avenger, nor super-powered. no, i was thinking more James “Bucky” Buchanan.

    Steve is still kind of the “golden boy”, idealistic and egalitarian, though still angst-filled; Bucky is more of a Frankenstein monster, flawed and still has a massive chip on his shoulder. Noh-Varr is the perfect Frankenstein creation, more of a pretty boy mocker than a monster.

    (met plenty of those in High School, never got along with those bums. they were all in my Art and Lit classes. wanted to ship them off so i could get some real work done, those assholes.)

    it makes sense that Bucky would look up to Steve more than Namor, and it makes sense that Bucky would be best friends with Toro (way back when).

    Bucky and Noh-Varr teamed up might be even more interesting than Steve and Noh-Varr. and check this out: Noh-Varr and Spider-Woman…

    what?

  15. heh, heh, not to creep you out, but i followed up on Dark Reign; The List and found your comment on this:

    http://jasoneaaron.blogspot.com/2009/06/dark-reign-list.html

    *chuckles*

  16. Yeah, Aaron has actually responded before, but not that time. What Bendis says goes I guess.

    I don’t like Bucky. Even though Bru did it in nearly the best way possible, I still think he should’ve stayed dead, especially since Steve is coming back. Sam and Sharon are far better characters.

  17. hey, i got some good news…

    Bendis is off Dark Avengers (for at least a month?) and Matt Fraction is writing the DA / X-Men crossover in #7… this looks pretty good.

    you know, i was thinking about the cabal Osborn put together, they’re either monarchs or would-be monarchs; amusing to watch Osborn think more like Doctor Doom, when funny-hair used to be just a high-powered businessman / super villain. and Loki, of course, is working on making everybody slip up…

    if you collect Thor, it’s been set back to August.

    *frowns*

  18. Oh, I knew, and am happy, about the two issue Fraction run on DA. The crossover has had a slow start, but it should be pretty good. Thanks, though.

    And, no, I don’t collect Thor. But I’m happy about JMS’ departure. I hope the book will get a good writer on it.

  19. another btw, i was looking for some feedback from Morrison himself about his Marvel Boy and i found this:

    http://www.barbelith.com/old/interviews/interview_7.shtml

    from this interview i could tell Morrison is an absolute fanboy about comics, TV, art, lit, philosophy, religion… such a funny guy.

    – – – – –

    “JMS’ departure”; it’s too bad, really, because it looks like he wrote Thor like a long novel and lost interest before it really got good. like he had some big ideas that didn’t pan out quickly enough and was stuck having to tie up a few loose ends. i don’t think his book truly developed into its own and left too little substance behind for another writer to carry on his “legacy”.

    didn’t say i didn’t like his work on Thor, though, it has memorable moments.

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