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.
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.
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.
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?