REVIEW: Generations The Americas #1 – “Inspiring, Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow”

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Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Paul Renaud
Colorist: Laura Martin
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Covers: Paul Renaud; John Cassaday and Laura Martin; and Paolo Rivera
Recap Page Artists: Olivier Coipel and Laura Martin
Release Date: 09/27/17
Rating: Rated T+
Price: $4.99

Generations The Americas #1 Cover

After being drained of both the Infinity Formula and the Super Soldier Serum, the aging Steve Rogers passed his Legacy onto Sam Wilson. Red Skull used the sentient Cosmic Cube, Kobik to revert Rogers to his prime with the Infinity Formula & Super Soldier Serum returned, but with false memories of being an agent of Hydra. Shortly after the heroes faced another Superhero Civil War before being thrusted into yet another superhero battle that saw Sam and the rest of the heroes pitted against the one they all looked up to, Steve Rogers. Once the real Steve is returned and the Secret Empire battle is won, Kobik “rewards” the Legacy heroes with a trip to the Vanishing Point which is how Sam winds up where he is in Generations: The Americas, Sam Wilson Captain America & Steve Rogers Captain America #1!

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Plot: Sam is questioned about his time in the Vanishing Point which causes him to look back on the life he spent thanks to it, and we are taken along for the ride.

Story: Unlike the rest of the Generations books, Generations: The Americas – Sam Wilson Captain America & Steve Rogers Captain America #1 starts off after Sam’s visit to the Vanishing Point. He is being questioned by “Not S.H.I.E.L.D. Agents” about what happened in the minute that the Legacy heroes all vanished for. This was an nice way to start off what is truly Nick Spencer’s epilogue to not just Secret Empire but to both Captain America: Sam Wilson and Captain America: Steve Rogers.

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The question triggers Sam’s memories of his experience in the Vanishing Point which took him back in time to War War II in New York. Sam realizes where and when he is thanks to hearing Steve talk about it so much over the years. He assumes a new name Paul Jeffries, taking his father’s first name and his mother’s maiden name. He assumes an average life getting a job as a dishwasher but feels a pulls and enlists, where we see him train, and become a mysterious air man who meets Captain America and gives him advice, inspiring him to be the Captain America we all know.

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This is normally where a Generations book pulls a Quantum Leap and the hero returns home, but like the titular character of that show, this Sam isn’t destined to return home yet. Instead Spencer takes us through a journey of Sam’s life ala the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode The Inner Light where Captain Picard lives a whole life while in reality only a short time has passed by. Sam feels these pulls that guide him on his journey, to take part in the Civil Rights Movement, become a Minister, and along the way he meets a woman, marries, have a children and Grandchildren. He witnesses the return of Captain America, the formation of the Avengers, the arrival of the Falcon as Captain America’s partner, the 1st Superhero Civil War, Captain America’s death and return, Steve losing his Infinity Formula and Super Soldier Serum. Throughout his time as Paul Jeffries, Sam is there to give advice to Steve helping him, shaping him into the hero he always looked up to and thought he could never be up until the final pull tugs at Sam as Paul Jeffries passes away in his sleep.

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This story really bugged me as I was reading it, for one it was just another soap box for Spencer to tell us his social and political point of view on things, except this time it is over a 70 years span of time. The second was it sort of diminished Steve as Captain America while building up Sam, which is my problem with a lot of the Legacy characters, they seem to come at the expense of those who came before. But I do like the general concept/message, that Captain America was shaped by those he served, the People. Everyday people who looked up to him for strength, never knowing all the while he found his strength in them. He was inspired by their fights for freedom, their ability to endure, and their hope for a better tomorrow. I just didn’t like that this was just seen as one person inspiring this.

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By the end we return to the debriefing where Sam tells the agents he doesn’t remember anything or know where Kobik before he leaves and meets the rest of the Generation Leapers on the rooftop before they go eat at a diner to share a few laughs. Afterwards Jane hangs back to tell Sam she can tell in his eyes that unlike the rest of them, Sam wasn’t there for a few hours or days but a lifetime. Through his inner monologue we find out that what Sam experienced never happened in reality as there was no Paul Jeffries anywhere on file. This takes the sting out of the main story and I like it more, but I hope no one tries to revisit this and make some dump loophole like his name was deleted from records to protect him of something.

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In the end the experiences of his life lead Sam to the conclusion that he is his own man, and it is time to inspire Steve one last time. Using the birds of the world he finds Steve and throws his shield to him with a note saying he has a mission for him, passing back the shield so Steve can be the one and only Captain America again.

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Art:  The art here was very well done and tight. I felt so immersed in the story through the art that I felt like I was on this Quantum Leap with Sam. Paul Renaud capture the spirit of each era we visited and aged Sam in a way that I could see it as watching a man really aging. I felt like this was Sam at every stage and not just some guy. Laura Martin brings the spirit to the art with her vibrant colors.

Verdict: Overall this ending was very inspiring and I loved it, a nice ending to the last few years. I thought this was a nice goodbye to Sam reminding everyone who may not be continuing his adventures as The Falcon in his new book, that it was never the shield that made the man, but the man that made the shield, and Sam is still that same man. It also gave us hope that Steve has a nice bright future coming ahead of him.

Generations The Americas #1 - Rating

Rating: 4 stars.

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