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:

Review: Uncanny X-Men Annual #2

Uncanny X-Men Annual #2

(****)

In my review of the last Uncanny X-Men issue, I talked about how Uncanny has become Marvel’s answer to the current JLA. The series constantly services other titles. In the aforementioned last issue, the comic had to address nearly every other X-Book. This time, the title is hijacked by Dark Reign. But you know what? Fraction is a great writer and he makes the most of it.

This annual is two stories juxtaposed to create one awesome Emma Frost tale. One part is about Emma’s past that explores the events of X-Men #73 (Yes, someone remembers that comic) drawn by Daniel Acuna. Acuna captures the opulence of the Hellfire Club wonderfully. The other part is about Emma’s present situation with the Dark Illuminati. This is rendered by Mitch Breitweiser. He brings a gritty realism that properly demonstrates Marvel’s Dark Reign. The two artistic styles don’t mesh well at all and that works.

The story itself is all about Emma with a little help from Namor (Who’s properly rendered, thank God) and Sebastian Shaw. One would think that this is just about answering why Emma is part of the Dark Illuminati with a hint of what she might do next. The comic does cover both of those topics, but it’s so much more. It’s an intriguing tale about Emma and Namor’s (He likes blondes remember) history. It’s about Emma and Shaw’s relationship and how that changed her. This is an example of how a good writer can handle anything. So if you read this for the Dark Reign connection, you won’t be disappointed. If you read this for the X-Men connection, you’ll get an entertaining story featuring one of the most interesting mutants.