Thursday, June 2, 2011

Clever Stuff--Ultimate Captain America (Hardcover of Issues #1-4)

Ultimate Captain America (Hardcover of Issues #1-4 and some extra interview stuff and drawings)
Jason Aaron knows how to spin a quality yarn, with this coming out during the time the Ultimate Universe has been in a weird limbo of post-Ultimatum not-really-doing-much, but pre-new-stuff by Jonathan Hickman and Nick Spencer. Yeah, these two-ish years that the Ultimate Universe was supposed to succeed after Ultimatum have been kind of tough, and it didn't help that Ultimatum was absolutely terrible. Anyways, this was one of the few Ultimate comics that have come out lately that I heard was worth giving a damn about, and upon reading it, I agree it is some quality material.

The point of the Ultimate Universe was to enable writers to tell stories that could not be told in the normal Marvel Universe, but lately the Ultimate continuity has just been an utter mess of either trying to copy the normal Marvel world or doing completely insane stuff. Jason Aaron here uses his writing chops to take a familiar concept and character and put a whole new spin on them. Basically, he introduces the old story idea of a Captain America existing during Vietnam and runs with that--taking advantage of how this Captain America from WWII in the Ultimate Universe has also been unfrozen a much shorter time and is a lot less of a people-person and more likely to just go charging in to a situation also Yeah, two fiery personalities, so when our Steve Rogers comes face-to-face with someone who represented the US but now hates it and also is a super-soldier (named Frank Simpson) conflict of course ensues.
Please note that when I say, "conflict ensues," I don't just mean that there is fighting, no, Jason Aaron is a much better writer than that, with Frank Simpson capturing ol' Captain America during our story and trying to convince him of how the US is evil throughout the story--which allows some interesting political discussion to be injected into the story, with two people facing off where one still believes completely in the United States but another is utterly pissed at it--something that many people may face in today's world of stress over current events and what they believe. I won't spoil the concluision, but do you really think someone named, "Captain America," is going to change his mind about his love for his nation, flaws and all? Although there are still some neat twists as Aaron is never one to let a story end in a dull way.
This was a good book, telling a story that isn't just a good action-tale, but also makes you think about politics and the difference between blindly trusting in your country, loving it but also holding it responsible, and letting the faults causing you to lose hope. The art is nice too, if not outright spectacular, going for an "enhanced-pencils" style with colors and no inks, giving things an interesting sketch-like look (its a new method for long-time artist, Ron Garney, apparently). The isn't what stands out though, it's the fun way Aaron brings the story together and works in his little twists and great points.
4.5 out of 5 stars.
Ultimate Comics Captain America for some good reading.

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