Avengers Now Spoilers & Review: Captain America #25 by Rick Remender & Stuart Immonen Leads Into Marvel Comics’ All-New Black Captain America #1!

Avengers Now (spoilers here) delivers an all-new diverse Captain America (with more here) to the masses!

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CAPTAIN AMERICA {7th Series} #25 Review & Spoilers

[FINAL ISSUE]

Captain America #25 Avengers Now Spoilers Preview Review 7“untitled” (21 pages) ; epilogue (4 pages) ; promo ads (6 pages)

Story by: Rick Remender
Pencils by: Carlos Pacheco w/ Stuart Immonen
Inks by: Mariano Taibo w/ Wade Von Grawbadger
Colors by: Dean White, Veronica Gandini & Marte Garcia
Letters by: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Covers by: Immonen, Von Grawbadger & Garcia; McNiven & Hollowell; John Tyler Christopher; Kalman Andrasofszky
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $4.99

After all the doom-and-gloom, there is a lighthearted feel and much-needed levity to CAP off this current volume of the series.

I will openly admit that I haven’t followed this current run of the series. I admired Rick Remender’s grandiose scope of storytelling in Uncanny Avengers but in my current state, I can’t be bothered with super-long overlapping arcs even if I understand the reason for them. The reCAP page works nicely considering it’s all I need to give this book a proper send-off.

Steve Rogers narrates the extent of Sam Wilson’s heroism. Now, believe me or not, I always liked B, C, and even D-listers from the Marvel catalog of characters. Falcon was one of them from way back in the day when he co-starred in Cap’s first volume as well as when he was mandatorily made an Avenger by the U.S. Government in issue #181 of that series (1979) to fulfill the status quo. The fact that he’s become a full-fledged Avenger (fleshed out nicely during Geoff Johns’ run) and kicked major ass in the Winter Soldier movie and continues to kick ass on the animated Avengers Assemble is the true testament to this character who’s been around 45 years!! At any rate, Sam is a hero through-and-through due to his overcoming adversity and sacrificing his life for others.

Interlude #1: Arnim Zola tries to make his daughter Jet Black see the error of her ways. To employ a cliché: he wants her to return to the dark side. Given Jet’s steamy affair with Falcon (issue 22), it’s clear her allegiance is to the Avengers. Zola tries hard to convince her of his ‘weakness’ by mentioning fatherly love towards her. Being the battle-hardened warrior that she’s become, Jet is not convinced in the least. She really puts him in his place by defining and describing the pathetic, deformed, rotten oddity that is her father.

As the Avengers gather around Sam’s limp body, the tension is relieved when Sam eulogizes himself in the most deadpan way (no pun intended!) He flatters himself with his good looks, charm, and way with the ladies. On top of that, he explains to the heroes and readers how he survived — Vibranium wings given to him by Tony Stark. Tony being Tony has to cut in and pat himself on the back, trying to steal Sam’s thunder. Sam keeps up the humour by telling Thor he wishes he could just imbibe mead instead of being put in the medical bay.

Jet jumps for joy upon seeing her paramour alive and kicking. The happy reunion is cut real short when Sharon Carter icily blames Jet for all the damage that’s been done (destruction, betrayal, etc.) Sharon presents cold-hard evidence that can’t be disputed. The term “restrain” is used three times (just to make it clear!). I chuckled when Sharon says “Gag her while you’re at it.” How can the Mighty Avengers just stand there and let her escape? Luckily, Ian is in hot pursuit.

Interlude #2: Zola family reunion, part two. Jet has such contempt for her ‘brother’ that she sneers at his pleas and runs right back to Daddy. Of course Zola was right all along about the ‘heroes’ that she foolishly befriended. Back to Dimension Z via teleportation.

The next five pages focus on certain heroes’ poor attempts at humour. I groaned and rolled my eyes at Hawkeye cracking wise and attempting to one-up Spidey and ribbing the Vision who insists that he’s the real funny one in the room. How cliché is that? The android is the most human of all. Even though Hawkeye admits to trying to ease the tension, it just doesn’t work. The same goes for the bitching about the lack of food and prolonging the joke by having three of the group’s powerhouses blame/admit whoever ate the appetizers. Honestly, this scene just doesn’t work. I see that the point is to establish or demonstrate the camaraderie among a throng of Earth Mightiest Heroes but *blah* UGH!

True to form, the title star has to throw in his own joke for good measure — his brand new identity: General Geriatric!! Talk about self-effacing humour! Steve has never been known as the funny man hence the dead response to his lame codename. All the members respect him too much and have always seen him as super-serious.

The last three pages are the real nitty-gritty for this issue. Sam as the new Cap looks beyond awesome in the full page spread on page 19. I really like the design since he gets to keep his wings. Forget Falcon! This is the latest version of the American Eagle. The final touch is the passing of the shield. Cap wouldn’t be Cap without it (no matter who has the mantle). Thankfully, Sam is not a man of many words and he utters the battle cry that any leader of the group has ever uttered: “Avengers Assemble!” I squealed with his casual approach when saying “Let’s give it a whirl…”

It’s official. The Marvel Universe has a new Captain America!!!

Epilogue: Hydra lives up to its name since its many heads keep popping up. A typical secret meeting takes place at Castle Hydra. What’s on the agenda this time? The crowning of the new Captain America! Oh, dear…Someone within the organization is really close to Sam. This will eventually lead to betrayal. The big question is who is it exactly? It’s an Avenger since s/he was present during the ceremony and had to leave early to gather with the Unknown Council. Whoever this is, s/he has known Sam for years but avers that no one person can truly see into the heart of another. Two new players enter the field: Chancellor Cassandra and The Drain. I have no prior knowledge of them so I assume they are brand new. This epilogue is set up to be continued in the All-New Captain America #1.

Too many artists working on a single issue!! Talk about a collective effort. Although it’s not uncommon to share credits/tasks, I wonder why it took two top artists, two inkers and three colorists to put together twenty-five pages of story. The art is definitely inconsistent. I continue to dislike the ‘cartoony’ way some artists illustrate. Pacheco does this on page 1, panel 4. What is that?? The Avengers look downright laughable even if they are mutate versions of the originals. On the flipside, Immonen does the full page spread justice with Sam’s new duds. Stellar stuff! He does the faces quite well expressing Steve’s and Jet’s shock on page 1, panels 2 and 5. He nicely shows the many faces of Arnim from contempt to disdain to determination. Jet has her range of emotions as well from surprise to anger to relief and ending off with spite. Sharon is no spring chicken but she looks too haggard despite her ‘real age’. Nice little touch with Sam shaving his face as he is newly christened.

The inks and colors work in synch with the pencils. The smoke from Sam’s lifeless body as well as Tony’s boot jets are depicted realistically. The teleportation effect is shown magnificently in the white cascade. The best is saved for last — the glint off the shield on page 20 and fully flushed out on page 21.

Joe Caramagna is one of the many letterers under the VC umbrella (Virtual Calligraphy, natch!) He uses italics for Zola’s speech, smaller-sized letters for Sharon’s “Dear God ” remark as well as Sam’s mutterings when he comes to, big bold letters for “Sam” exclaimed by Steve and Jet, and lastly the all-caps “AVENGERS ASSEMBLE! ” in raging ruby red.

Spy-fi (clever play-on-words) seems to be the new genre for the re-launch of this title.

To acknowledge and honor the All-American Avenger, I give this book 9 stripes out of 13 [69%]
(right from the U.S. flag).

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Just for fun — Spot-the-Avenger: [some are unidentified] [not counting Steve or Sam] [50 in all!]

page 14 – Rogue, Sunfire, Wasp [panels 1, 2]

– Dr. Strange, Shang Chi, Spectrum, Red Wolf, Stingray, Sunspot, Moon Knight,  Cannonball, Captain Universe, Star Brand, Havok, Nightmask, Smasher, Hyperion, Spider-Woman, Iron Fist [panel 3]

– Beast, Jarvis, who’s the guy in the wings? [panel 4]

page 15 – Captain Marvel, Luke Cage, Hellcat, Daredevil, Hercules, Captain Britain,  Quicksilver, Thor, Hulk, Machine Man, unknown blue guy, Living Lightning?, Vision, White Tiger, Scarlet Witch, Black Panther, Mockingbird, Iron Man, Black Widow, Hawkeye, Spider-Man, She-Hulk [panel 1, front view]

Shang Chi, Firebrid/Espirita [panel 2, back towards the readers]

page 17 – Manifold [panel 4]

page 20 – Nomad (Ian Zola) [panel 5]

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