Captain America 6

captain america 6

Today, Mikyzptlk and Shelby are discussing Captain America 6, originally released April 17th, 2013.

Mikyzptlk: Rick Remender has pleasantly surprised me with his take on Captain America. I’m a fan of the character, but he can come off as a little dry from time to time. Remender has solved that issue by not only transporting Cap to a strange and twisted place, but pushing Cap to some pretty intense extremes. Each issue seems to take Cap further and further to his limits, but his new found fatherhood may push him further than he’s ever been pushed.

Captain America is injured, pissed, and ready to kick some ass. He storms Zola’s base to rescue his son Ian, take out Zola once and for all, and hopefully get back to Earth. Meanwhile Zola’s up to something…creepy. He’s taking the Phrox and attempting to transform them into Cap lookalikes. So far, it isn’t working but damn does it look painful. Zola’s also trying to convince Ian that he is the boy’s father. Since that isn’t working well either, he decides to just brainwash the kid into thinking that Cap is evil and accepting Zola as his new god. On his way to doing his thing, Cap runs into Jet who says that Ian is lost to him forever. Cap responds by blowing her friggin’ head off. 

Gloves = OFF

Damn Cap, guess that means the gloves are off. Understandably so. Remender has really been pushing Cap to his limits here and it looks like it may be starting to show. Captain America is a soldier first and superhero second, but even still it’s not too often that you see him kill someone. That said, it was fairly shocking to see him take Jet out the way he did. It’s clear that she’s been under Zola’s influence for many years and she’s not to be trusted, but she wasn’t exactly a big threat at the moment of her execution. I mean, how big a threat can you be in a towel? Cap kills when he has to, but this just seemed vindictive. It perfectly illustrates what being in this hellish place has done to Cap. As much as Ian has relied on Cap for his survival, it’s possible that Cap has relied even more on Ian to maintain his sanity in this place. Cap has been through a lot through his career, but everyone has their breaking point. Ian is the last connection to humanity that Cap has left, so his ferocity seen in this issue is well founded even if I do find some of his actions to be extreme.

Cap is essentially fighting to protect his son, he’s fighting as a father and will do absolutely anything to ensure his son’s safety. Zola is fighting for his son too, but since he’s a twisted monster, he decides to take a few shortcuts to ensure that Ian truly is his father’s son. At one point, Jet makes the point that Cap isn’t Ian’s father just because he kidnapped him, but it’s safe to say that Cap has done far more than just that. Being a parent is more than just a matter of having matching DNA, and it’s interesting to see this kind of struggle in the midst of all of this other insanity that Remender has given us during his run on this title. The question remains as to who Ian will ultimately choose in the end. Here’s hoping Zola’s brainwashing attempts aren’t as effective as they seem.

As for the art side of things, there’s no denying that John Romita Jr. is a rockstar in the world of comic books and, for the most part, I’m a fan of his. Seeing Captain America storm Zola’s base was extremely exciting to see, and Romita Jr. wonderfully illustrates Caps ferocity. Enough of my yapping, take a look for yourself.

Cap's Fury

I did have some issues with his art though which may actually just be a problem with the comic book industry in general. The problem I had is with Jet’s “costume” which basically looked like she had a few leather straps draped across her body that didn’t leave much to the imagination. Is this her casual wear? Because it doesn’t seem very comfortable. Also, it’s super creepy because she’s dressed like this in front a child. Her little brother no less. It gets worse as we later see her take a shower for no other reason than to imply nudity and then see her in a towel. What is the point of scenes like this? I don’t know about anyone else, but that isn’t why I’m reading this comic, or any comic for that matter and it only served as a distraction.

I really don’t want to end things on a negative note because overall I really did enjoy this issue and found it to be another satisfying entry of this series. What about you Shelby? Now that we are 6 issues in, are you still intrigued by where this series is going?

Shelby: Remender is playing one of my favorite games: Who is Actually the Bad Guy? I mean, there’s no questioning that Zola is a monster, but the lines between him and Cap are beginning to blur. I think that’s exactly the reason Remender and Romita showed Jet in the shower when she was confronted by Cap; she was completely vulnerable, there is absolutely no way she could be seen as a threat. Last issue, Cap spared her life on the battlefield, and as we learned from Captain Malcom Reynolds, “Mercy is the mark of a great man.” But this whole issue, Jet doesn’t even handle a weapon. Romita and Remender have gone out of their way to show her as a passive, defenseless woman. Think about it, what do we see her doing? Praying for forgiveness and caring for a child. Cap himself even calls her a victim, shortly before shooting her. And he’s right; she’s as much a victim of Zola as that poor Phrox woman he was experimenting on. If it only took about an hour for Zola to convert Ian, think about how messed up Jet is after years of his conditioning. Remender and Romita want to establish very clearly that, in this issue, Jet is no threat to anyone, and that killing her crosses a line: a line that Cap tried to teach his son never to cross.

captain america's lessons

By killing Jet, Cap has unknowingly validated everything Zola has said to brainwash Ian. When she told Cap his son was lost to him, his response was, “if I lose my son, than Zola loses his daughter,” and that could ultimately prove to be the thing that permanently ties Ian to Zola. Even if Cap gets Ian back to Earth and un-brainwashes him, he can never change the fact that he killed Ian’s sister in cold blood; if Cap wins the day, he has still lost his son. That is grim, heavy stuff, and it leads me to wonder how Remender is going to handle this once this arc is over. I’m sure Cap will get back to America eventually, and even if there’s some sort of time difference where the 12 years in Zolandia accounted for 12 days on Earth, you can’t erase the effect those years had on Cap. Well, since it’s a comic book, I suppose you absolutely could just erase those years, but I don’t think Remender would be so sloppy. This experience is going to profoundly affect Captain America no matter how this arc concludes, and the way things are looking, it’s not going to affect him for the better. 

For a complete list of what we’re reading, head on over to our Pull List page.  Whenever possible, buy your comics from your local mom and pop comic bookstore.  If you want to rock digital copies, head on over to DC’s website and download issues there.  There’s no need to pirate, right?

12 comments on “Captain America 6

  1. I agree that having Jet unarmed in a towel shows her vulnerability, but isn’t the fact that she’s unarmed enough? Couldn’t she have just been wearing some normal clothes? Or, if she must be in a towel, couldn’t she have been a bit more covered up? It just struck me as a bit icky and superfluous. “Hey guys, check out this naked chick! Her breasts are almost falling out of her towel!”

    I wonder if Ian was a young girl and Jet was the evil older brother, how they would have chosen to evoke vulnerability then. Would we have seen male Jet in a towel?

    • Well and if she’s wet and naked, that should mean that her omnisenses are even MORE effective, right? Like, I can feel a light breeze if I’m naked and wet.

      But yes, the character’s costume is ridiculous. It also seems like a misguided attempt at sexy. I just don’t get the point of it.

      • You’ve given me a great idea! Why don’t they just create a superheroine who has powers that only work when she’s naked? That way, it would make “sense” for her to be nude ALL THE TIME. Ugh.

  2. When people compare old comics with new comics, they usually end up saying something like “The 90s killed comics”, or “The 90s have been the worst period ever for comics.”
    I don’t think the 90s were so terrible; also, some changes the 90s introduced in comics definitely are positive. For example, before the 90s it was impossible to see a decent action packed scene: neither the superhero nor the villain used weapons, so they used to fight by using only their fists. In the 90s, both of them started using guns, submachine guns, bombs and so on, so the action packed scenes became less predictable, more varied and more spectacular.
    Another positive innovation the 90s gave us: the characters became less politically correct. Before the 90s, a superhero was supposed to be irreproachable, so all of them were so full of political correctness that they became ridiculous. When they started holding weapons, killing their enemies and acting in a ruthless way without any resentment, they became more realistic and enjoyable, in my opinion.
    I think that all these changes the comics faced in the 90s were due to the success of the movies Arnold and Sly used to make during those years. Boys loved those movies, so they wanted to see the same things in the comics they used to buy: both Marvel and DC decided to give them what they wanted, and, while many readers think it was a wrong move, I did appreciate it. Maybe it’s because I started reading comics exactly in the 90s, or maybe it’s because I love action packed comics and movies – especially when Arnold or Sly is involved.
    You could ask me: “What does this endless monologue have to do with Captain America # 6?” Simple: before the 90s, an irreproachable character like Steve Rogers would never have killed anyone, not even under a huge pressure like the one mikyzptlk described so well. Now it is possible – and no one is scandalized at it, apparently.

    • Yeah, I certainly didn’t see as scandalous as people die all the time in today’s superhero comics. I was a bit surprised though. Cap kills for the same reason that any soldier does, to protect a country or an ideal. What surprised me though was the fact that Cap killed Jet out of revenge for something that may not have even happened.

      There’s a fine line that distinguishes your Batman’s from your Punisher’s, and that is that one fights for justice, while the other fights for revenge. This is the first time I’ve ever seen Cap go Punisher on someone and that’s what surprised the hell out of me.

      • And I think it’s delightful. I love Frank Castle, so when a character “goes Punisher” he/she makes me feel all warm and fuzzy. Thank you for your reply! : )

      • Mike, I think you more or less got it right when you said that it’s not really a surprise that Cap would kill someone because he was a WWII soldier. He’s not going to go around killing without a purpose, but killing just HAS to be in his wheel house. I’m not all that well-versed in Captain America lore, but the idea that his US Soldier identity would clash with our modern perception of superheroes is really interesting. Soldiers kill, superheroes don’t.

        Personally, I don’t see this a development Rogers can’t come back from. There’s bound to be blood on his hands somewhere, and probably for reason for more trivial than to protect his son.

        • Oh yeah, I don’t see this as the beginning of our hero tumbling down the grim n’ gritty rabbit hole. I’m sure he’ll just see it as one of the more morally questionable things he’s done in his life and move on the best he can.

  3. I’m still trying to wrap my head around the 12 years that we missed out on. Like, I know there were title cards letting me know that the time passed (and Cap’s narration reminds us of it again in this issue), but it’s hard for me to feel the length of that relationship as anything but manipulative. I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but I couldn’t characterize Ian or his relationship with Steve. How competent is the kid? Does he like anything? What does he believe in? Does he like jokes? Is he shy?

    • That’s a great point. I don’t feel much of a connection to Ian mainly because I don’t have the answers to your questions. I do care about Steve tho, and in a more personal way than I did before this series because of what we’ve seen of his childhood and how that has related to his newfound fatherhood. Like, it’s clear he cares about Ian and I do find it compelling for that reason.

  4. The interesting thing about Cap stories is that there are some where Cap goes on a multi-year adventure only to come out of it exactly the same as he was before. I remember a story in the late 90s by Mark Waid where Cap fought Kovac for a thousand years (Cap kept “dying” and coming back) leading a rebellion. Nothing was made of this in subsequent stories. I wonder if the same will happen here (or at least when a new writer comes onboard).

    • I would imagine that Remender has a way out of this. Whether that be time travel (which there seems to be enough of that in the Marvel U right now) or maybe a body swap? That seems kinda nuts, but Steve’s body is pretty wrecked what with Zola in his chest. Plus, Zola is trying to clone Steve’s body so maybe? I don’t know, but there’s gotta be something to explain the fact that Steve seems to be doing just fine with the Avengers in one book and stranded for over a decade in a strange land in another.

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