Friday, July 24, 2009

Captain America #601

With the real Captain America action happening in the "Reborn" mini-series, I have to admit that I'm curious as to what's in this comic. From the scene on the cover it looks like a flashback issue, although covers can be deceptive. Well, I might as well give it a read and crank out a quick review. As usual, Cap is written by the stellar Ed Brubaker.

-This was indeed a flashback issue, one that took place during WWII.

-During the war, Bucky and Cap have begun running into several US soldiers who were turning into vampires after death. Cap obviously wanted to solve this problem before the rest of the troops got wind of the situation and began to panic. To make matters worse, a USO show was scheduled to take place shortly, with civilian movie stars beginning to arrive to further complicate matters for Cap.

-Cap checks in with Union Jack, who informs Cap that Baron Blood(Jack's longtime foe)was still dead. Cap then begins to search around town, discovering a house with garlic strung up all over the place and hand drawn crucifixes adorning the doors. Cap speaks to a gypsy woman living inside and the gypsy tells Cap that a German officer who had passed through the town was a vampire, but that he had left before the allied forces arrived. With the vampiric SS officer out of town, Cap decides to check out the graves of the recently deceased.

-While searching a graveyard, Cap and Bucky run into a US soldier turned vampire and attack it. The fight brings some US soldiers who were patrolling the area over and the soldiers watch in horror as Cap and Bucky kill their undead comrade.

-The patrolmen who saw the vampire naturally tell their fellow soldiers what happened, which begins to spread fear and paranoia amongst the soldiers. After a soldier mistakes his buddy for a vampire and kills him, Cap decides to cancel the USO show and send the movie stars back home where they'd be safe.

-Cap heads to the dressing room of one of the female stars and discovers that she has already been turned into a vampire. Cap and Bucky manage to kill her and learn from an officer that the dead star was seen around town with a young girl. The two heroes search for the girl and discover to their horror that the girl has already been turned. This issue ends with Bucky killing the little vampire girl, which is a memory that still haunts him to this day.

Before I even touch on the story, I want to take a moment to talk about the artwork here. As I've stated many times before, I usually only notice the artwork in a comic book if it's really, really good or really, really bad. I was about halfway through this comic when I noticed the artwork here was quite good. At that point I made a mental note to check out who the artist was so I could commend them during this review. As I finished this comic up and turned to the last page, I found a statement telling us about the artist for this comic. The pencil artist for this book was Gene Colan, who has been drawing comics for over 60 years!!! The guy is in his 80's and his work totally blows away many of the artists out there today! The way he used shadows to paint his scenes was really something else. The colorist, Dean White, deserves some credit as well, but Gene's artwork here really stole the show. 82 years old and penciling an entire double sized comic book... That's UNBELIEVABLE! Damn, I'll be happy just to live to see 82 years old, let alone be talented enough to produce work of this quality. Gene Colan, I salute you!

Now that I've had my say about the artwork, I'll move onto the story. The story was very good. It was written by Ed Brubaker, had Captain America and contained Vampires, of course it was good! Once again, Ed shows us he really knows both Cap and Bucky very well. The way Cap interacted with his fellow soldiers, his relationship with Bucky, everything was done to perfection. Reading this comic almost makes me want to see Steve back as Cap again... Almost. For a score, I'll give this comic a 9 out of 10.

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