It’s no secret that this new Marvel NOW! series of Captain America has been a bore to me. I think I’ve made my feelings perfectly clear in my last two reviews of issues one and two. However, Rick Remender has certainly piqued my interest with the latest issue in the series. It may have taken three issues to do it, but I’m semi-interested in reading ‘Captain America’ again.
In the last issue, Steve Rogers and Ian, the infant that he saved from the firefight is Arnim Zola’s lab, have been stuck in the desolate Dimension Z for a year. While attempting to find food one day, hostile locals attacked the pair and took them into captivity. Known as the Phrox, this indigenous tribe mistook Cap and his companion for allies of Zola, their sworn enemy, and prepared them for execution with the iconic shield of the Star-Spangled Avenger.
Now, just in the nick of time, Cap’s universal translator finally starts to work and his captors are able to understand him as he pleads with them that they are not with the madman whose experiments resulted in their banishment to the wastelands of their dimension. After a friendly Phrox intervenes on their behalf and explains to the leader that Cap could help them, Steve and Ian are given a place to stay with Ksul and his wife, where Cap starts talking about citizens rising up against a tyrant.
Before I get to my change of heart on this series, I wanted to address the flashback of a young Steve Rogers back in New York City in this issue. I understand that it’s meant to set up Steve Rogers as an underdog and it’s supposed to help define Cap’s character, which is what makes him so special, but this one seemed like a crutch for the story. In the previous issues, the flashbacks were the most interesting parts to me, but this one feels only loosely connected to the actions that are going on in the present. I see where the two events are meant to connect, but it was a stretch for me. By including the flashback, it neither hindered nor helped the story in this issue, so I think that it could have been replaced with something else, like maybe more of Cap’s time with Ksul where we see them gain each other’s trust or something like that.
Despite the borderline filler, there were some interesting moments involving Arnim Zola. We got a glimpse of what lead him to his experiments and his version of tough love. There’s a character that I’d like to see more of in the issues to come because so little is known about how some biomedical engineering experiments lead to a whole dimension filled with creatures that he created.
Finally, the thing that reignited my interest in this book was the final page. Talk about a shocking ending! It was all the more shocking because of how underwhelming the rest of the series has been so far. Now that something as big as that last page happened, hopefully the pace of the story picks up and we start getting issues worthy of such an iconic and important character. I still haven’t fully bought into the story yet, but I’m interested enough to find out what happens next.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #3
Written by RICK REMENDER
Art by JOHN ROMITA JR., KLAUS JOHNSON, & DEAN WHITE