Alastair: So, I’ve never been a huge fan of Captain America. He’s always come across as kinda cheesy, and, much like Superman, has that Boy Scout personality that just doesn’t sit well with me. I like my heroes with flaws, dang nabbit! Despite my distaste for the comic version of the character, I’ve particularly enjoyed the way he’s been portrayed on film by Chris Evans in the MCU. Captain America: The First Avenger turned my perception of Cap around and I absolutely loved the film. It inspired me to pick up my first (and only) Captain America trade: Captain America: Winter Soldier – yup, the same book that has just been turned into a movie.
Written by the supremely talented Ed Brubaker, the Winter Soldier storyline begins with the assassination of the Red Skull and the theft of the Cosmic Cube. The suspect? An unstoppable, untraceable killer, employed as an undercover agent for the Soviets for over fifty years. Knee-deep in intrigue, secrets and lies, Cap struggles to stop the Winter Soldier, catch the person pulling his strings, and stay alive. Winter Soldier is as much a Cold War-style intrigue story as much as it is a superhero story. Cap has to navigate a sea of diplomacy and avoid pissing off the wrong people. One wrong move could mean an international incident, and with the threat of the Winter Soldier looming large, it’s no easy task.
Winter Soldier is one of my all-time favourite Marvel stories. The titular character actually reminds me a little of Red Hood, from the DC Universe – except he has a badass metal arm. It’s a huge story, and I was sucked in right from the beginning. While the movie version is probably more condensed, the comic is a must-have for Marvel fans.
Cameron: Until a few years ago I’d never heard of Rick Remender. In fact, I only came across him by accident, when Marvel stopped shipping me my Deadpool subscription and instead replaced it with Remender’s X-Force. I threw the early issues aside almost entirely because I was upset over missing Deadpool. One day, however, I was starved for reading material and ended up reading every issue in one sitting.
Despite how much I enjoyed X-Force, I was hesitant to read Remender’s new run on Captain America. Like Al, I’ve enjoyed Evans’s take on the character in the MCU, but I’ve never really been interested in the comic counterpart. Having read The Winter Soldier in preparation for the movie, I decided to go back and give the Remender run a second look.
Remender has a passion for odd science-fiction, and Captain America plays to this strength. Stuck in Dimension Z, Cap is forced not only to look out for himself, but also for a young child he rescued from the clutches of the evil bio-fanatic Zola. Dimension Z itself is a monstrous landscape and its inhabitants are equally unsettling and vile. Cap and his new ward, Ian, spend years in this harsh world but still never really become comfortable in it. A strong father and son bond is forged through their hardships, but it is just as strongly tested. Their relationship is reflected back through Zola and his genetically engineered daughter. Where one bond is built through trust and love, the other more resembles Stockholm Syndrome.
This run is incredibly thrilling so far, and makes me excited to dig deeper into the history of the star spangled Captain.
Written by Cameron Urqhuart and Alastair McGibbon