Saturday, February 7, 2015

All-New Captain America #3 (HERE BE SPOILERS!)

With "Axis" done, it's nice to return to a world where I get to marvel at how much I love Rick Remender every month.

Remender is admittedly forced to use a little more exposition than we should probably see in this issue, but he does his best to justify it.  Sin recounts the story of "Snap" Wilson for Sam, reminding him of the Red Skull's claim that he used the Cosmic Cube to change Sam's past from drug dealer to noble hero.  She does so not only to convey this (alleged) part of Sam's history to the reader, but also because she's trying to rile up Sam.  She needs to break him so that she can us his destruction later to break Steve.  I have to give Remender credit for making this effort to justify the cliché of the super-villain not immediately killing the hero, instead delivering a monologue that gives him time to escape.  From Sin's perspective, it's the realization of her father's plan, to re-write Sam's history to make him so noble that Steve would be inspired to trust him.  Sin claims that her father then used Sam to spy on Steve, though Remender doesn't spend too much time trying to explore that.  Instead, he wisely moves the goal to creating a confidante whose destruction would bring down Steve with him.  She, of course, fails, and Sam manages to emerge from this lie all the stronger.

The obvious goal of this issue is to ret-con the ret-con.  I don't know much about Sam's history, since I only started reading "Captain America" in the mid-1980s and he had ceased to be a huge player by then.  Remender has been using these first few issues of the series to introduce readers like me to Sam's history, just as he used the first few issues of his run on "Captain America" to explore Steve's past.  As a result, we learn of this incredibly racist ret-con that happened at some point.  The best moment of this issue is when Remender addresses that racism head on, with Sam declaring that the idea of "Snap" Wilson haunts him not because he believed it, but because they did.  They chose that story because it's what they believed that Sam should be.  In that way, Remender's accurately saying that it haunts all of us, and he thankfully dismisses it here.  Sam is Captain fucking America, as he declares (without swearing) at the end of the issue, and we can all move forward from here.

**** (four of five stars)

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