Captain America: Cap Lives
Dave Gibbons, . . Marvel, $12.99 (112pp) ISBN 978-0-7851-1318-8
Classic art and straightforward storytelling create old-fashioned action/adventure in this alternate history. According to conventional Marvel continuity, Captain America fought Nazis in WWII until he was frozen in an iceberg, whereupon the Avengers, a supergroup, found him in the 1960s, thawed him out, and had him join the ever-expanding Marvel superhero universe. In this version, Cap is unfrozen only to find that due to his absence, the Nazis won the war, and the Red Skull, his old foe, rules America. The premise allows for plenty of noble sacrifices along the lines of "I'll hold the soldiers off while you accomplish the mission." This straightforward take on good and evil avoids the wishy-washy confusion over what's right found in some other modern superhero stories: no one is for Nazis. The resistance movement, made up of many other Marvel characters in civilian garb, is energized by finding Captain America alive after all these years. Cap's derring-do, like jumping out a skyscraper window rather than submitting to Nazi evil, is refreshing and powerful, even with the imaginary world setting. Conveniently, the Nazis have been experimenting with time travel, allowing for a quick wrap-up and a reset button for the characters. Weeks's art is nothing special; it gets the job done. The book also includes the Jack Kirby/Stan Lee background story of the Red Skull, who started as a bellboy jealous of Hitler.
Reviewed on: 04/19/2004