Captain America was made the leader of New America, and the role of leadership over a nation has proven among the most challenging for Steve Rogers. Other countries try to take advantage of the turmoil, and there are remnants of Rampart still fighting in pockets. Bruce Banner and Liang have a potential solution for the problem: a machine that can send Captain America back to before the rise of King Babbington and Rampart.
In the back-up story, Red Skull has introduced a virus that is spreading through S.H.I.E.L.D. Cap has a cure, but he must fight his way through a column of the Skull's forces to get it the cure to Nick Fury.
Captain America #700 may not be self-aware celebration of this landmark issue of the Sentinel of Liberty's adventures, but it's still inspired in a manner fitting for such an installment. Cap #700 presents a new challenge for Steve Rogers, and it tests his resolve and optimism in a way few stories have.
The ending will likely be a sticking point for a lot of readers. Things get complex in the time travel part of the narrative. It tries to have its cake and eat it too, but, if you think about it for too long, the implications are actually pretty horrible. Existential horror aside, it is a thematic ending, and I actually like it for the most part.
The Jack Kirby-pencilled follow-up story is corny but fun. Mark Waid didn't skimp on the tear-eyed patriotism—which the 1960's era of of Cap they are channeling didn't actually have to this degree. Steve at one-point flies into a rage and beats the tar out of Batroc the Leaper because the French mercenary called Americans "cowardly."
The art remains outright beautiful in both halves of the comic. Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson are a tried-and-true artistic powerhouse, and the struggle and tribulation of Cap and his allies in New America are brought to life in stunning shape and color. The sequencing and visual storytelling is accomplished with flourish. A lot of the comic are wordless sequences of Samnee and Wilson depicting the trials and tribulations of Cap in New America, and the artists are more than capable of carrying the story on their backs.
The Jack Kirby work needs no praise, as you already know how great it looks due to the legendary King's reputation. Matthew Wilson provides the color work in this segment too, and I imagine some will criticize is gradient color art to be unfaithful to the three-color era in which Jack primarily worked. I am a youthful heathen who will defend the new coloring of comics, and, if nothing else, it creates a blend of two eras of comic book visuals which is not often seen. As such, I quite like it.
Captain America #700 lives up to the expectations one would have of such a landmark comic. The narrative is powerful and emotional while posing a unique struggle for Captain America. Waid and Samnee continue to show how much they understadn the character of Steve Rogers. As such, I can recommend it. Give it a read.