Captain America Reborn #5

A comic review article by: Jason Sacks
If you've read any Marvel books that came out the last two weeks, you've seen Steve Rogers return to the 616 Universe as Captain America. He's been fully reborn. So it is a bit of an anticlimax to read this comic – part five of six, even – and have Steve still be lost.

That is, of course, notwithstanding the fact that Cap's return is the least unexpected return of any character since Superman died. I mean, nobody ever expected Steve to actually stay dead after Sharon shot him. It was always obvious that Cap would return and that the only drama was how he would return.

So while the conclusion of Reborn has been spoiled in the most inept of manners, we still have the pleasure of seeing how this whole story plays out.

Last month I praised Reborn #4 as great summer movie fun. But as we know from the Transformers movies, there's a fine line between fun and badness. And this issue treads that line more than any previous issue of this series has done.

If you read the previous issue of this series, you know that the Red Skull's mind is now trapped inside the head of Steve Rogers. It's a reasonably compelling idea, though far from original, but Brubaker uses that cliché to do some reasonably fun things. I enjoyed the kind of alternate history ideas that Bru throws into the story, and there are some wonderfully interesting images in this issue, thanks to Hitch and Guice.

The problem is that these aren't actual alternate history. They're more like dream sequences and therefore don't really have a lot of effect on the rest of the story. They're a nice excuse for Guice and Hitch to create clever images, but they're also kind of pointless in the larger picture of what this story is intended to accomplish. They do allow us to read scenes in which Steve is fighting the Skull to free himself inside his own mind, but again, isn't that one of the worst kinds of clichés?

It all feels kind of stupid, and makes this story a bit frustrating to read.

We also get a new iteration of an army of MODOKs in this issue. I love MODOK as much as the next man, but they come out of the bright blue sky in this issue, with little or no foreshadowing, plus their redesign is really quite ugly, and not in the way that we would want the MODOKs to be ugly.

There's a lot of sound and fury in this issue, but it never really signifies anything. The many disparate plot threads are fun individually, but never cohere to a compelling story. Few of the threads from the previous issues are carried over to this issue, which makes that feel especially jarring.

Since any devoted reader of Marvel already knows how this story will come out, this comic had to be especially terrific in order to sustain that reader's interest. Instead, this issue is a letdown compared with previous issues. The widescreen blockbuster called Reborn has gotten kind of mindless.

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