Thee Comic Column #18: Rick Remender’s Captain America

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Some of you may be saying, “Gee, why doesn’t Shawn just rename his comic column “Thee Rick Remender Column”. Well, if the man continues to put out this level of good books I just might.

Seriously, you may have heard me express some doubt back around the time Uncanny Avengers #1 came out. In the same column I think I also did a pretty good job of keeping my knee-jerk reactions in check by saying I’d stay with the title because of how much Remender had proven himself in my eyes, as a comic book lover who nonetheless has a certain set of criteria for the comics and comic writers that I love to meet. Well, not only has the concept of the Avengers been Remenderized, so has Captain America, and after reading the first two issues of the new ongoing book – particularly the second issue – all I can say is I am once again blown away.

In a recent appearance at Southern Los Angeles comic shop extraordinaire The Comic Bug Remender talked about how this book is similar to his creator-owned title FEAR Agent* in the fact that it is an “over-the-top” sci fi story.

I LOVE the sound of that coming out of the mouth of the man whose imagination just completely overhauled and made absolutely classic the tired old characters that populated his Uncanny X-Force book.

In issue number one of Marvel Now!’s new Captain America book Mr. Remender lives up to my greatest hopes by taking the very-reality based hero (reality-based lately – elsewhere Remender has talked about bringing Cap into a Kirby-esque status quo) and, well, having him plucked from the regular Marvel everyday and smack dab into another dimension.

That dimension is Dimension Z and the plucker is Arnim Zola, that face-torso mad scientist who often plays second fiddle to more high-profile villians, like long-time Cap nemesis The Red Skull (see the brilliant Ed Brubaker run, handily collected in The Death of Captain America Omnibus). Remender draws from his love of old school, EC-era comics and the mid-seventies return of Cap’s creator Jack Kirby. There’s great article about this here that I’m basically just paraphrazing at this point. Needless to say Remender delivers the delirious sci-fi he sets out to, with Cap investigating some strangeness on the subway and immediately being whisked into the hideously bizarreDimension Z, Zola’s playground and clearing house for the sick and twisted genetic experiments he traffics in. It’s clear Remender sees HUGE unused potential in Zola and this whole other world he’s created in the crook of the Marvel Universe. Issue two ups the stakes on the FIRST page, and from what I’ve seen Mr. Remender tease about January’s issue three, well, this has very quickly become one of my MOST anticipated books.

I can’t recommend this one enough. Over the last year I have fallen for Rick Remender’s writing the same way I fell for Chris Claremont’s in the 80’s (Uncanny X-Men), Garth Ennis and David Lapham’s in the 90’s (Hellblazer, Preacher and Stray Bullets, respectively) and Grant Morrison’s around the turn of the last century (The Invisibles, The Filth). If you love comics for the pure brilliance they can achieve, I implore you, run out to your local comic shop and BUY THIS COMIC (and chase it with the entire run of Remender’s X-Force, which I’ll look back upon in a column soon enough, as it tugged at me heart strings, don’t ya know).

Until next week, READ PEOPLE!!! Read as though there’s no tomorrow.

* Which I’ve still not read! Soon… along with Prophet, another unexpectedly awesome recommendation from Mike, one of the two owners of the Bug

Shawn C Baker

Shawn C Baker

Shawn lives in Los Angeles where he co-hosts Drinking w/ Comics, writes screenplays and fiction and has been known to drink quite a bit of beer. Good beer.

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