That's right, I'm doing another listicle. But unlike other lists on other websites (or even on this one) you will not have heard any of these anywhere else before. I hope. And I'm doing it all on one page as well.
So. Ten things I can tell you about Captain America #1, the new series by Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu launching from Marvel at midnight before the Fourth Of July. There are lots of expectations, predictions, condemnations before the first issue has been published, with only a short story for Free Comic Book Day to tease what is to come. Only minor spoilers… promise. Onwards.
1. It's not the fight you thought. The Free Comic Book Day issue may have teased what seemed to be a street battle between Hydra sympathisers and Antifa – but that does not happen in Captain America #1. Instead, it's mostly all about the Nukes we saw in there as well…
2. It is about collusion. What isn't about the Nukes – who they are, and why they all look like classic Captain America character Nuke – is about Russia, how they dealt with Hydra on their doorstep and how they are becoming a great power on the world stage. The Russian stuff is probably the highlight of the comic for me, reminiscent of Warren Ellis' use of history to tell a modern story. The first issue in, this is closer to Ed Brubaker's espionage mystique. And it makes a great location for Leinil Yu to explore architecture, weather, creating a sense of the other. Russia may be in the news and is a go-to reference point, but this is more the Russia of Cold War fiction – or trying to be again.
3. Do not expect any layered-on posturing. Despite some people's fears, Captain America #1 is not a political polemic. Despite Ta-Nehisi Coates being a major political commentator, it is far less overtly political than either Waid or Spencer's run on the character. Instead, there are more generalisms regarding Captain America, America, duty and danger. And a far more chilling conclusion regarding what peple allow, that you could apply to modern politics if you wish. Or not. It's down to you.
4. It also doesn't mention race at all. This is not the book that many people may have expected from such an outspoken individual on racial matters, but Coates has always been about challenging prejudice. This seems deliberate, creating a comic with the majority of cast, frontline and background, as white. At least for the first issue, Captain America is as white as Black Panther is black. But, as it stands, this is not noted in any way.
5. The Russian connection goes to the X-Men. The first issue brings in Selene, the Black Queen of the Hellfire Club, a mutant life draining vampire, and an ancient who lived through the time of Conan The Barbarian, as Ta-Nehisi Coates spreads his wings across the Marvel Universe.
6. The Captain gets some general knowledge… It's not the only character from across the Marvel Universe, General Ross is out of jail after his role in the resistance in Secret Empire.
7. While Struck gets struck out… for the same reason, Von Strucker is also out. Fake news? There are some dangerous bedfellows out there.
8. Not-so-Secret Empire. The comic seems to ignore anything that may have happened in Mark Waid's run and seems far more a direct sequel to the events of Secret Empire. They throw in a 'months ago' to help with the timeline, but even so. This comic could have run as Captain America #695 without missing a beat. It suggests that this was the original plan but deadlines and schedules got in the way.
9. Sharon Carter is still older. And not happy about it, That time spent in Dimension Z has not been yet reversed. Though the fact that it is being mentioned means it is still on the cards…
10. It's out on 4th of July, or midnight of the 3rd July if your retailer is participating in the midnight releases, alongside the release of Batman#50 and Catwoman #1, the Batwedding issues. When first announced a Ta-Mehisi Coates Captain America launch on 4th July seemed like a big headliner and very pointed, but this may have been diluted by the Bat nuptials.
Here's a trailer…
CAPTAIN AMERICA #1
(W) Ta-Nehisi Coates (A) Leinil Francis Yu (CA) Alex Ross
IT IS WINTER IN AMERICA.
For over 70 years, he has stood in stalwart defense of our country and its people. But in the aftermath of Hydra's takeover of the nation, Captain America is a figure of controversy, carrying a tarnished shield…and a new enemy is rising!
Who are the Power Elite? And how do they intend to co-opt and corrupt the symbol that is Captain America?
Rated T+In Shops: Jul 04, 2018