How to kill Cap­tain Amer­ica

Cap­tain Amer­ica’s land­mark 700th is­sue sees the death and re­birth of a Marvel icon.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Culture - Re­view by MICHAEL CHEANG star2@thes­tar.com.my

WHAT is the best way to kill Cap­tain Amer­ica?

That is with­out doubt a ques­tion that many a Marvel su­per vil­lain, fan and comic book writer would have spent much time pon­der­ing.

Well, pon­der no more, for writer Mark Waid and artist Chris Sam­nee have achieved the im­pos­si­ble. They man­age to kill off Cap­tain Amer­ica in the most heroic and stylish man­ner pos­si­ble AND some­how make him more alive than ever at the same time.

Now, be­fore you start scream­ing about spoil­ers, let us be clearer. Yes, Cap­tain Amer­ica dies in this is­sue, but he is also still alive at the end of it. Look, it’s a bit of a long story, but the point here isn’t how he dies (though he does so in spec­tac­u­lar fash­ion), but what his death means to the char­ac­ter mov­ing for­ward.

In their short six-is­sue arc, Sam­nee and Waid have man­aged to re­deem a char­ac­ter whose rep­u­ta­tion had been tar­nished and dragged through the mud by the events of Se­cret Em­pire, and forced Steve Rogers to re­think what it means to be Cap­tain Amer­ica.

Cap­tain Amer­ica #700 is the fit­ting fi­nale for a story that be­gan with a dis­il­lu­sioned Steve wan­der­ing Amer­ica search­ing for his pur­pose be­fore be­ing frozen in ice by a ter­ror­ist or­gan­i­sa­tion called Ram­part, and be­ing thawed out in the year 2025 into an war-torn Amer­ica ruled by a crazed king.

Af­ter over­throw­ing said king in the pre­vi­ous is­sue, #700 sees Steve take on a man­tle that he is plainly un­com­fort­able with – lead­ing a coun­try be­sieged by out­side en­e­mies, as the King of Amer­ica!

Now, a lesser writer would prob­a­bly try to stretch this story arc out longer. But once Steve as­sumes that heavy man­tle, Waid chooses to keep things sim­ple by show­ing us Cap’s lead­er­ship style in sim­ple pan­els and quick fire lines. He shows us this through snip­pets in time, jump­ing days, weeks, even months ... un­til some­thing cat­a­strophic hap­pens to make Steve ques­tion his val­ues and meth­ods, and ac­cept the no­tion that there are some things that even Cap­tain Amer­ica can­not solve with hope and willpower.

At this point, re­veal­ing more about the story would truly be spoil­ing it for you, but trust us when we tell you that Waid and Sam­nee have man­aged to craft a story that is both a self-con­tained char­ac­ter study of Steve Rogers, and a pocket-sized epic that en­cap­su­lates ev­ery­thing Cap­tain Amer­ica rep­re­sents.

And yes, Waid and Sam­nee man­age to kill him off with­out ac­tu­ally killing him off. Now that’s some achieve­ment.

Oh, and there’s even a bonus story with Waid writ­ing the script and di­a­logue for a set of un­pub­lished art­work by Cap­tain Amer­ica cre­ator Jack Kirby! We can’t think of a bet­ter trib­ute to both Cap­tain Amer­ica’s past and fu­ture than that.

As our main story about an­niver­sary is­sues (Happy An­niver­saries) plainly puts it, it’s one thing to put out a comic book cel­e­brat­ing a cer­tain ti­tle’s mile­stone is­sue but it’s an­other to make it mem­o­rable. Thank­fully, Cap­tain Amer­ica #700 doesn’t dis­ap­point in that re­spect.

— Pho­tos: Marvel Comics

Cap­tain Amer­ica is King of Amer­ica in this mile­stone 700th is­sue.

The bonus story fea­tures art by the leg­endary Jack Kirby, the co-cre­ator of Cap­tain Amer­ica!

Cap­tain Amer­ica #700 Writer: Mark Waid Artist: Chris Sam­nee Pub­lisher: Marvel Comics

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