by Mark Waid, Chris Samnee & Matthew Wilson
From November 2010 to March 2011 Mark Waid wrote a five issue mini series called Captain America: Man Out Of Time. It retold the story that first appeared in the pages of the original Avengers series; about how a frozen American war hero was thawed out 60 years later to fight for the Avengers. Some thought it didn’t need to be retold, however, Waid brought something new to it. The writer focused on the emotional struggles of Steve Rogers, a man realizing he can never go back to the life he once knew. Here we are in 2018 and Waid is once again telling the story of Captain America, a man out of time. Although, this time, it is Avengers Cap who has been frozen and inevitably thawed in a not so distant dumpster fire America. Waid impressed me then with Man Out Of Time and he impressed me now with Captain America #698 Out Of Time Part 1, enough to be the finest comic of the week.
If you haven’t been reading the Waid and Samnee don’t worry, this is the first issue of an arc and the perfect jumping on spot. The comic opens on Cap waking up in the back of a van. I love this opening page. The art team of Wilson and Samnee set an intense and exciting scene right away. It begins with complete darkness which is soon followed by a focused bright light, which is of course the back door of the van slowly opening. We then dive straight into complete chaos as the page is filled with sound effects and that darkness matched with dimly lit views of Steve Rogers fighting for his life. It’s an extremely engaging page to start off the issue, and is completely different from anything that follows.
As good as that first page was, the second might be even better. We are now shown the outside of the van where a dog walking on its hind legs wearing a t-shirt that reads “Good Boy” is talking to a woman. The reason there are talking dogs in this book is because Cap was once again frozen and then thawed in the future. This future is not a bright one. The 1% control the country leaving the rest to starve or worse on the streets. Waid does a nice job of conveying Caps horror in realizing the America he has fought for his whole life has gone to shit without him. He immediately assumes this is the distant future but is told about halfway through the issue it is only 2025.
I am so on board with this concept. The thing about Captain America is that he is so inherently “good” that you can pretty much plop him down into any situation and he will be the hero you need him to be. Waid and Samnee have been playing with this concept to tell a lot of short stories during this run. Now, leading up to the 700th issue, it looks like we will be getting a three part arc of Cap doing a hell of a lot better being a thawed out hero than John Spartan ever did.
This issue is basically a huge exposition dump as Cap and the reader need to get the history lesson of what exactly happened to America. It’s easy for a story to get lost in the exposition as the writer tries to build a world in a short amount of pages. However, this issue never drags. There are many times the exposition breaks for a few action sequences but mainly I think it is so interesting because of the work of Samnee and Wilson on the backgrounds. There is a lot of world to build here and contrary to the first page which took place in a dark box, the detail level is engaging. Samnee does such a good job of bringing this world to life that Waid doesn’t have to waste his time with exposition that can just be shown. Waid can focus on his characters actually talking like people while Samnee and Wilson show us the world.
Just like with Daredevil and Black Widow, this creative team is taking a character and doing something really fun and interesting. I have been enjoying Captain America so far and I’m excited to see where this arc takes us. I couldn’t think of a better creative team to get a character back on track.