Thursday, January 20, 2011

Captain America: Man Out of Time #3(of 5)

Review: This issue gets started with Iron Man and Dr. Pym running Captain America through some tests and which leads them to realize that he was indeed Steve Rogers. We find out that Cap had learned of Mr. Fantastic's(or more appropriately, Dr. Doom's)time machine and wanted to head back to the past to return to his life and possibly even save Bucky. Iron Man tells Cap that wasn't a good idea since time travel was still a very new science and as such could have all sorts of unforeseen consequences. Cap tells IM that he still had to at least try to return to his proper time, at which time Cap tells IM to thank his “boss” Tony Stark for all of Tony's kindness and respect towards Cap since last issue. After that compliment, IM gives up trying to change Cap's mind, and tells Cap that he could tell Tony himself since Tony wanted to hang out with Cap that night. From there we head to Tony throwing a party for Cap aboard a brand new Stark Enterprises airplane. The two men talk, and Cap asks Tony if the US and USSR were still allies. Tony tells Cap that the USSR was no more, and that China and India had replaced the Russians as world super-powers. Tony also tells Cap about a few technological advances, and decides to take Cap to the Smithsonian Air and Space museum to give Cap a better idea of the advances in technology the US had made. While impressed, Cap is more impressed by the advances American society made and asks how that came about, at which point Tony plays Martin Luther King Jr's “I have a dream” speech. The two continue their trek through the museum and Cap comes across the Captain America exhibit, where he learns there were three other Captain Americas and Buckys after WWII. Upon seeing this, Cap's mind is completely made up and he decides that since he had been replaced before, there was no need for him to remain in modern times. Since Cap had no idea who his commanding officer was, he decides to see the president to submit his official resignation. Tony reluctantly calls the White House and sets up a meeting, and the next morning, Cap walks into the Oval Office. Cap explains that he felt he had no place in modern times and wanted to tender his resignation so he could try to return to the past, but the president(who is bizarrely silhouetted the whole time)tells Cap that a)time travel wasn't a perfect science yet, and b)Cap had learned too much and could possibly damage the past by accidentally revealing too much about the future. With that, the president refuses to accept the resignation and orders Cap not to try to return to the past, which Cap feels he is duty bound to obey. This issue ends with Cap, now officially stranded in the present, sitting at the foot of the Lincoln Memorial trying to figure out where to go from here.

Thoughts: See, this is a very interesting comic... Captain America came out of the ice originally in the mid 1960's(our time), but obviously that can't stand, because that would make characters like Tony Stark and Hank Pym octogenarians in the present. Mark Waid got around that by slightly shifting the timing of things, with this story taking place in the late-90's/very early 2000's(kind of like the Ultimates). And you know what? That actually worked REALLY well for this mini-series. Cap waking up after 60 years in suspended animation made him even more of a man out of time than Cap floating in that ice for only 20 years. The changes in American society from the early 1940's to the 2000's would be incredibly striking for somebody like Cap and Waid captures that magnificently. Not only that, but Cap's reason for wanting to return to the past isn't even a matter of Cap figuring he couldn't fit in in the present, it was more about him needing to go back to try to save Bucky... That's what made the ending here that much sadder... It's one thing to be stuck in a different era, and having to learn things modern society take for granted(Cap referred to a cell phone as a mad scientist gizmo), but the fact that he can't head back to save his sidekick and best friend is what seems to be hurting Cap the most. The Tony Stark/Steve Rogers relationship was also wonderfully portrayed here, with both men ending up friends even though they were obviously very different, with very different values. While Tony, the scientist, figured Cap would be most impressed by the technological advances of the past 60 years, Cap, the everyman, was more fascinated by the societal changes. As a total American history nut, this issue did an great job blending comic book history with Marvel history, a testament to Waid's awesome abilities as a writer. To say that I liked this comic was an understatement and a half.

Score: 10 out of 10. Yep, this is my first Marvel perfect score this year!Poor Cap...


  1. This sounds really great, X. After reading that Iron Man/Captain America trade, I'm really in the mood for a good story in this vein! I look forward to reading this and especially to seeing how Waid portrays the early dynamic between Tony and Steve.

  2. Marc, after reading your review for the Cap/IM trade, and having the whole Cap/IM dynamic on my mind, I read this comic at the PERFECT time! And on top of that, the issue itself was magnificent, so yeah, HUGE kudos to Mark Waid on this one.

  3. Sounds like this series has come a long way from the first issue, where Cap was getting knocked out by common criminals or whatever. I'm glad Mark Waid hasn't lost his touch for writing this character after all!

  4. It really did come a long way! The end of the first issue really bugged me, and the second issue with Cap and Rick Jones hunting down aliens made me scratch my head a bit, but this issue MORE than made up for those two!