Mark Waid, Jorge Molina, and Karl Kesel wrap up their story of Captain America’s journey of self-discovery. Tossed from his time into a strange, marvelous, and over-stimulating world, Captain America found himself without a war to fight, without his best friend, without an identity. He found himself with the Avengers by his side, and the promise of a chance to go back in time. Choosing the better part of valor, Cap remained in this newfound era by choice, avoiding the temptation to go back, if only to see his pal, Bucky, one more time.
Then Kang sent him back in time. Being a cruel overlord of the timestream itself, Kang didn’t send Cap back to enjoy a visit with his old comrade, but instead sent Cap back to 1945, V-J Day. The war in Europe was over, the one in Japan winding down. Bucky was already gone. Cap is left adrift. Hit by the fact that he let Bucky down, and drowning in his own self-pity at letting the Avengers down, Cap floats through the home time he so desperately longed to revisit.
Waid really sells the loneliness of Steve Rogers in this issue, but he also buoys that up with the determination and strength that Captain America inspires in others. Waid’s strength as a character writer really shines through, and Jorge Molina captures the emotion that Waid sets in the script. At a panel during C2E2, Waid mentioned that it took him a little while to find the strengths in his artist on this book. Judging from this issue, I’d say both Waid and Molina have found each other’s strengths.
D’Armata’s coloring of 1945 hits home, separating Cap from his surroundings and visually making him every bit the man out of time that Waid writes Cap to be. The rest of the issue is solidly colored, but the panels where a full-color Steve Rogers interacts with gray-toned surroundings push forward some additional emotion.
With Captain America poised to enjoy a spotlight in the collective cultural consciousness within a matter of months, it is only appropriate that Marvel produce a number of Captain America-themed stories. This one, however, is a timely retelling of the transition of a man, from wartime to peace, from one era to the next, from one purpose to a new one. This is a story of Captain America that can be read and re-read, shared and returned, enjoyed by one and all. It’s Cap celebrating everything good about the progress of America in the duration he missed and it’s a story about America remembering everything that’s great about Captain America.