As Rick Remender is undoubtedly finding out, Ed Brubaker casts one hell of a shadow. As much as Remender is trying to make a new path with his Captain America run it is inevitable that it will be compared to Brubaker’s time and time again. This leads to a tricky and somewhat unfortunate situation where Remender has to go to great lengths to differentiate his run and has thrown out almost every directional element Brubaker brought to the character. Although evident in issue one, Remender’s ‘I am not Brubaker’ syndrome becomes blatantly obvious in Captain America #2.
In issue 2 it really feels like Remender is deliberately trying to downplay the World War two elements of Steve Rogers that although they were very much overdone by Brubaker, are pivotal to the character. This first story arc of the new run, Castaway in dimension Z, sees Steve thrown completely out of his element as he is trapped in a twisted dimension ruled by crazy Nazi doctor Arnim Zola. In short it both looks and reads like Captain America in Space.
For the most part the setting just doesn’t feel right for the character, apart from Cap and Zola all the other characters are new and feel terribly foreign and alien. Don’t get me wrong I like new characters and change as much as the next guy, but in Captain America #2 there’s just a bit too much of it without enough explanation and grounding. There’s no real justification for as to why Steve is Dimension Z and it all starts to come across as change for the sake of change.
As pointed out by Andrew Taylor in his review of Captain America #1, from a technical standpoint the book is great. Romita’s art pops, Remender’s dialogue is great and overall the book flows well. Captain America #2 delivers some stunning visuals and some great fight scenes as well as portraying a delightfully weary and dishevelled Cap.
The flashbacks of a young Steve living through the great depression are all handled well and seem purposeful. There’s always a point for them being there and they usually resonate and tie in with what’s going on in the present. I cannot stress enough that this isn’t a bad books and is well above average in both art and written dialogue. It’s Reminder’s direction and vision for the character that is lacking, however the actual execution is spot on.
This by no means a ‘must read’ but if you like Captain America, or even just a fan of Romita’s artwork, I’m confident you find something to like here. It’s a good book, just not a great one.