It’s that time again, my fellow four-color connoisseurs. Another round of comics reviews for the week of Jan. 20, 2016. This week gave us some interesting news in comics, so we’ll lead off with the return of Captain America.
Steve Rogers to Return as Captain America
During ABC’s airing of its special Marvel’s Captain America: 75 Heroic Years, the House of Ideas revealed that Steve Rogers would in fact be returning as the Star-Spangled Avenger. In writer Rick Remender’s run, Steve’s body was purged of the Super-Soldier Serum that kept him a youthful, bad-guy-beatdown machine, and quickly aged as a result. Since then, Steve has been busy in the Marvel U., most recently leading the Avengers Unity Squad in the pages of the relaunched Uncanny Avengers.
How Steve returns as Captain America is unclear, but Nick Spencer, writer of Steve’s upcoming new ongoing series, teased that “something happens that restores Steve to full vigor” during the also-upcoming crossover Avengers Standoff. Spencer also disclosed that Rogers will remain leader of the Unity Squad in “Uncanny Avengers,” and that Sharon Carter and other familiar faces from Steve’s past will be cast members in the new series.
Sam Wilson will stay on in his role as Captain America, and will also hold onto the iconic shield, while Steve Rogers will get a new one, reminiscent of his original World War II-era shield. Steve Rogers: Captain America will be written by Nick Spencer, with art by Jesus Saiz.
DC Comics Teases “Rebirth”
DC Comics co-publishers Dan Didio and Jim Lee went to Twitter and posted a mysterious image of a blue curtain with the word REBIRTH written across it. Speculation is through the roof as to what this cryptic picture means, whether it’s another line-wide relaunch, another universe reset, or some long-gone heroes returning to the DC Universe. DC has continued to lose readership since 2011’s “New 52” relaunch, and their last universe-reset event, Convergence, fell short of fan expectations. The near-overwhelming support of the recent title and line relaunches by Marvel Comics will likely cause speculation to turn to some sort of large-scale relaunch on DC’s part sometime this year.
An untold story, in a galaxy far, far away
I was wrong. There. I said it. When it was first announced that Marvel would be taking the rights to publish Star Wars away from Dark Horse Comics, there was wailing and gnashing of teeth. Dark Horse had spent 20-plus years producing some seriously good stories, and my mind immediately returned to Jaxxon, the green rabbitoid when Marvel’s plans for a new Star Wars series became known. But I now confess, and with my heaping helping of crow, that Marvel’s Star Wars is crazy good and I am a huge fan. From the series’ opening storyline to the epic Vader Down story, Star Wars, and all of the line titles, have been fantastic.
Issue 15 tells an untold story of that time when Obi-Wan Kenobi was hiding out on Tatooine, keeping an eye out on this Skywalker kid who just happened to be the son of freaking Darth Vader. There’s a lot of time between Star Wars: Episodes III and IV, and we don’t know what Obi-Wan was up to all that time. Well, according to this issue, which is canon I might add, Obi-Wan has been keeping Luke safe from thugs, sand-people, and an angry aunt and uncle.
This issue serves to further develop the character of Obi-Wan during his transitional period from Jedi Knight to creepy old hermit. His caring for Luke is portrayed beautifully by writer Jason Aaron, as we learn that he’s been protecting him behind the scenes, not just for caring’s sake, but because Obi-Wan realizes that Luke may be the galaxy’s last hope. And when he’s not protecting the future hope of the Jedi Order, he’s being Tatooine’s Captain America. Protecting the downtrodden and those who can’t defend themselves. Which is cool, because one of the questions I had always asked myself about Obi-Wan’s exile is, how does a Jedi not be a Jedi?
And the art! Are you kidding me!? The art in this issue is nuts! The good kind, I mean! Mike Mayhew delivers some of the best art on a book I’ve ever seen in my 30-plus years of reading comics. The characters look amazing, and the colors are off the scale. Mayhew needs to get back on a Star Wars book, stat!
This was a really great issue, in that we get to explore a time period that we really don’t know a lot about. There’s a little more to this story, though, but I’m not going to get into it, because, well, spoilers. Jason Aaron and Mike Mayhew have delivered a great addition to the mythos, and we definitely need to have this team together again.