Hello! Welcome to the space on the internet where Carl Randers, Jack Stevens, and I get together and discuss a comic that we recently read. I like to call it ‘Comic Relief‘! Last time, we gushed about our enjoyment of Youth Season One and this time we’re discussing All-New Captain America Vol. 1: Hydra Ascendant, written by Rick Remender with art by Stuart Immonen.
Instead of trying to explain to you what this book is all about, I’ll just let the official description do the talking, because it is GREAT! “The spy-fi, high-flying adventures of Sam Wilson – the all-new Captain America – begin here! Hydra has infiltrated society completely. Cap’s new partnership with Nomad is tested as they race to uncover the Sect of the Unknown, but Hydra gathers Steve Rogers’ old rogues’ gallery to take down the new heroes! The all-new Captain America battles Sin and Baron Blood, and uncovers Hydra’s ultimate goal – but is it too late? Millions of innocent souls hang in the balance – but broken and nearly dead from Hydra’s gauntlet, can Cap stop the Great Leveling?” This book is actually a really nice, complete story arc that pretty much introduces Sam Wilson as the “All-New” Captain America, collected within the first 6 issues of the series. Enjoy!
Randers: It’s hard not to look at this through the MCU lens now where people know/like Falcon. I think context is important for this story because really it’s pretty generic. It’s a reintroduction to Sam as a leading man. He needs to show some heart and kick ass. I like it for that. A few pieces set up but nothing too big beyond “conspiracy!”
Nick: It did feel like a pretty standard “hero fights his way through the ‘tower’ of bad guys to get to the boss” story. That said, I really enjoyed it and it did a good job showing off Sam as a hero going it (mostly) alone.
Jack: I enjoyed this one a lot. It felt sort of shallow on the micro-level, with a great overall story. Like I’m hazy on a lot of the small specifics, but enjoyed the entirety of it quite a bit.
Nick: I loved the rogues’ gallery element. Seeing (what I gather were) all of Cap’s old enemies testing the new guy was really fun.
Randers: Exactly. It was a “greatest hits” of Cap villains — Zemo, Baron Blood, a Skull, and Batroc. I wish Batroc got to be this goofy and stereotypically “French” in the MCU. This new “Nomad” character was very short-lived because I knew he was in Lost in Dimension Z (the “last” Steve Rogers run) and by the time I got to Sam Wilson Captain America, he was gone.
Nick: They never explain it: what exactly is Dimension Z?
Randers: The previous storyline had Rogers trapped in Dimension Z by Arnim Zola. There he ran into/rescued/raised a lost boy who was Arnie Zola’s son. When he escaped he brought the kid with him… he was trapped there for like 20 Dimension Z years which was only like… weeks our time. Comic book stuff.
Nick: Right. But what is it?
Jack: Sounds like that Dragon Ball Z temple.
Nick: It did sound a lot like the hyperbolic time chamber. Is it a dimension that Zola created? Or an alternate reality?
Randers: Both kinda.
Nick: Fair enough. Comic books – not everything needs a full explanation. I thought it was hilarious that the silly convoluted evil plan was thwarted by the silly comic book-y power to talk to birds. It makes me so sad he doesn’t do that in the MCU.
Jack: I liked this one, but I feel like it’s the one I have the least to say about so far. It didn’t upset me in any way but didn’t blow me away either.
Nick: That’s fair. It’s like when someone has a solid, technically sound match and asks for feedback. They’re not reinventing the wheel but there’s also nothing to critique. Good, basic, easy, everyone goes home happy.
Jack: Yeah exactly. This felt like some good old-fashioned comic book action.
Randers: Yes. The palette cleanser we requested after Youth! I don’t need Sam talking to birds. I don’t know how much it really adds when he’s already got cool visual “powers” and a character people have gotten behind. The drone is better.
Jack: Yeah I agree completely. It feels out of place. Just doesn’t really fit the tone of the rest of the comic.
Randers: Like… if it was just Redwing the bird that he had a “connection” with, that could be neat.
Jack: Agreed. One specific sidekick.
That’s all folks!
As a reminder, we try to pick comics that are easily accessible (both to get ahold of and to understand) so anything we read is available through ComiXology (which is owned by Amazon, just FYI), both Marvel and DC have their own digital comic sources, or you can support your local comic shop by picking up a hardcopy (I highly recommend Destiny City Comics in Tacoma, WA, who ship anywhere) so feel free to follow along and chime in with your thoughts, feelings, concerns, or considerations in the comments!
Next time on Comic Relief, we will be reading: ‘Preacher Book One‘, written by Garth Ennis with art by Steve Dillon.
Continue the conversation on social media:
Carl Randers: @FantasticDork
Jack Stevens: @Jackstandsup
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