Writer: Jeph Loeb
Artist: John Cassady
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Itís Capís funeral and then, well, Itís Capís funeral.
Commentary: I wanted to cheer for this series. I wanted it to say something important or at least give me something memorable to chew on by way of commentary on the death of Steve Rogers. Sadly, it hasnít. The closest it came was with the third installment with Clint Barton being offered Capís colors and identity. That was a neat twist, and I couldnít think of anyone else Iíd really accept in the role other than Clint either. I could see Clint doing it justice. The scene where Clint was the only one able to sling the shield without getting seriously injured or killed was a gem and inspired writing by Loeb. Unfortunately for me, thatís really the only memorable scene in the whole series, and itís not because of the art.
The art on the entire run has been top notch. That is whatís kept me coming back month after month. The writing just didnít grab me though, and I wanted it to because I know Loeb was picked because he could identify with death and itís ramifications because of the death of his own son. Nice thought and props to Marvel for giving Loeb what should have been a labor of love for him, but to use the vernacular of today, ďI just wasnít feeling it.Ē Of all the places I wanted to feel it, it was at the funeral! Everything and everybody looked great from the majesty of our nation's Capitol to the row upon row of mourners. The coloring was grand and gave the funeral day light and appropriate somberness at the same time. However, itís the darn writing. I was miffed that the Thing and Johnny would make a joke during the proceedings and that Hank Pym would be more interested in Tony Starkís love life than reflecting on the matter at hand. Bizarre dialogue entries if you ask me.
I wonder why Loeb chose to have a super-villain show up for no apparent reason while Spidey was at the graveyard last issue just for the sake of a cool fight scene in what was an otherwise reflective time (again, the art was grand but the story? Eh), yet here we get infantile humor and no one's serious thoughts except the Falconís. Tony canít even muster up the courage to speak. This whole series should have been reflective, and super hero antics should have taken a back seat. If villains should have shown up anywhere, it should have been to hear their dark thoughts on Cap being put to rest. A shot of the Red Skull somewhere in the background wouldíve sufficed. Iíve just seen a lot of missed opportunity with this series.
The ending? Iím not sure how I feel about it yet. I think weíre being set up for something, but Iím just not sure what. Who or what was really in the coffin? Tonyís ďsort ofĒ comment to Jan when she suggests a Life Model Decoy is mildly intriguing. On the other hand, my worst fear is that itís a dead skrull impersonator in the coffin (a la Elektra in the New Avengers), and Tony knows about the Skrull plot, and everything up until now (Civil War, Capís assassination, et al) were all part of Skrull-duggery and Capís really alive and he and Tony are working in tandem, albeit secretly to bust the Skrull plot wide open. Or, Tony Stark is a Skrull, and all heís done is a front. Please, please, please, NO! Namor guarding the real Capís coffin under the sea is kind of poetic. Capís final resting place being where he was brought out of suspended animation is nice, but it doesnít make up for the lack of gripping story from Mr. Loeb. The comics nostalgia of the splash pages is the one redeeming quality here. Flip over Ďem again and again if you like great Cap art but is this worthy of re-read? No.
Final Word: The Finale to what amounted to some great poster material visuals but lacked in an engrossing story overall.
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