I once read that writers don't like writing (Steve Rogers) Captain America's thought balloons because Cap's thought process simply has to be more patriotic and pure than any normal person can possibly imagine. Ed Brubaker isn't hung up on that. Spinning us through Cap's thoughts as we accompany Steve Rogers on his amazing journey through the story of Captain America's life, Brubaker gives us the story from Cap's perspective. Problem is, Captain America has seen it all before and he knows it. Trapped out of time, Captain America is on the verge of being trapped out of mind as well.
The time-tripping gives the reader a chance to relive some great moments from Cap's past, like Namor raging as he flings Cap's block of ice back into the sea. This scene is juxtaposed with Reed Richards calling upon Namor to exhume Steve Rogers' body from the Arctic Ocean. The use of now and then as interpreted by Steve Rogers also gives us another look at the Kree-Skrull War. The past scenes gain new life with Brubaker in this story while the art team of Hitch, Guice, and Mounts take the stories of Captain America's past, present, and future to new heights. This story makes me want to read the "Kree-Skrull War" and the early "Avengers" issues that featured Cap's initial return.
While it seems obvious that Steve Rogers is set for a return, the events of this issue make that return less than guaranteed. The story surrounding Bucky, Sharon Carter, and the Avengers rounds out this issue and blends nicely with the flashbacks. Neither tale overshadows the other, but the two work harmoniously to become a Captain America story that lives up to the hype. This is one of those "instant classics" that is pointed to as the ultimate story of a character. Brubaker has been receiving praise and recognition for his work on the main "Captain America" title, but this story is his crowning jewel.
"Captain America: Reborn" is the Cap story everyone has been waiting for since Cap was killed. This year marks the seventieth anniversary of Captain America's adventures in four-color, it is only appropriate that Captain America gets such terrific treatment. This story will be collected in time for the release of the feature film starring the Sentinel of Liberty, so if you miss it now, be sure to make a mental note to pick up the collected edition. After all, collected editions lend themselves to being read over and over again, which is what you'll want to do with this story.