REVIEW: Captain America #698 – “Captain Van Winkle”

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Captain America #698
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Chris Samnee
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
LEtterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 02/14/18
Rating: T+

 

Plot: This issue opens up with Captain America waking up from another ice nap. However this time Cap discovers America has dissolved into a dystopia. Also Cap discovers that Rampart, the group responsible for his freezing, is in control of the country. Now with a small group of rebels, Cap leads the charge to take the country back.

Story: The first time Captain America (a.k.a. Steve Rogers) was frozen and thawed out, he woke up twenty years later to an America filled with new superheroes. This time he wakes up to America in hell. However this time Cap learns the year is 2025, so it’s only been seven years. Not only that but Rogers learns of the “Forty Minute War” which killed off most of the superheros. The idea that Rampart could take over the country in that small amount of time shows they are a much bigger threat than originally thought. Plus Mark Waid’s build up to this reveal is impressive. When Cap assumes it’s been decades since he was frozen, that’s when Liang tells him the truth. Also Mark Waid choosing to have this story set a few years could be our country’s future if it’s citizens remain divided.

 

Despite the bleak dystonia setting, Mark Waid still adds some funny and lighthearted moments in this issue. Throughout the story Liang calls Cap “Bomb Pop”, a reference to the classic red, white, and blue popsicle. Thanks to this remark I cannot look at Captain America and not hear the ice cream truck music. Also there’s a great moment where a young boy asks Cap for a selfie after the latter saved the former. Before taking the photo, Cap asks the boy if he’ll always help others in danger to which the boy agrees. This was a nice moment because it shows Captain America is a great hero and role model even when he’s not in battle.

 

This issue revealed some more information about Rampart’s leader, Maximillion Babbington. While the short time jump and future America showed Rampart as a group is a large threat but we did not get much time to explore Babbington’s character. There’s only one scene with Babbington but only his arm is visible. Basically, he orders a soldier killed because he failed to stop the rebels from stealing Captain America. The title is so close to it’s 700th issue and the lack of information for the big bad leaves the reader thinking this could be a filler issue. Hopefully Waid’s recent work on this title will prove this assumption wrong.

Art: Matthew Wilson’s color choices for this issue really stood out for me. I enjoyed how the only time red is used it’s for Rampart’s army. Plus the blue and red in Capt’s costume are darkened while he’s incognito. Also Chris Samnee does an excellent job with the character’s facial expressions. He makes it easy for the readers to tell what emotions the characters are feeling during each scene. Plus this issue has fantastic splash pages. When Cap finally springs into action the color’s in his suit are brighter and more visible. The last page features Captain America declaring he and the rebels will take the country back. This is a striking image that shows Cap is a natural leader and he will succeed.

 

Verdict: This issue is a strong opening to the “Out of Time” arc. Mark Waid creates a very intersting setting for the Star Spangled Avenger. Hopefully the villain will be more interesting in the upcoming issues. Plus Chris Samnee and Matthew Wilson bring some excellent artwork to keep the story visually stunning. If someone is planning to pick up the 700th Captain America issue then they should start reading this issue first. Overall, this was a very entertaining issue.

Rating: 4 out of 5

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