By Rick Remender, Nic Klein & Dean White
It may not look like it from the cover, but Captain America #17 is an incredibly dark issue, as one would expect from Remender who has given us a death of an already major Captain America character in the previous issues. If you’ve gone into the book expecting a relaxing and light read then Captain America #17 is most certainly not that – yes, Captain America’s enemy may be called Dr. Mindbubble, but Remender writes a wonderfully dark, pulpy and fun issue that kicks off the first chapter in the Iron Nail story-arc, following last month’s prologue, but that is actually not required reading for those still looking to jump on this book – as you could probably start reading here without many problems.
The book has been utilizing a lot of the characters to be featured in the upcoming Winter Soldier movie so if you’re looking for familiar faces then you’ll be right at home here. There may be no Winter Soldier in sight, but Nick Fury Jr. gets a lot of stuff to do this issue with Falcon becoming more and more important. The one character who’s absent from the movie amongst the protagonists is Jet Black, who has been a welcome addition to the Captain America cast and serves as a more than worthy replacement for Sharon Carter – bringing a fresh and interesting approach to Captain America that has been explored partially in the Loose Nuke arc and looks set to continue to develop in Dr. Mindbubble. It’ll be very interesting to see how the trio of Steve Rogers, Sam Wilson and Jet Black work together over the course of this book and hopefully they’ll become regular mainstays in this series – although saying that, if Falcon got his own book then his absence wouldn’t be felt in this series as much.
Like most of Rick Remender’s works, Captain America #17 is a slow burner. It’s probably something best suited to reading in trade paperback or in bulk – and almost will inevitably require a binge-read once the entire arc is complete, but it still manages to read very well as a single issue. We still see the aftereffects of Steve’s time in Dimension Z that dominated the first year of this book’s run, and Remender has chosen a more than capable villain to step up to the task following both Armin Zola and Nuke. Dr. Mindbubble may not be the most recognized villain, but it’ll certainly be interesting to see where we go from here with numerous angles to explore in the upcoming issues.
Nic Klein’s artwork is pretty strong – balancing the dark and gritty with the slightly cartoonish edge and it really works – with the artwork managing to be stunning and helps make Dr. Mindbubble actually look like a threat rather than a joke. Of course, this is enhanced by Dean White’s colours, and he’s been doing a fantastic job on both this book and Image’s Black Science – and hopefully this pair will stick around with Remender for many issues to come – because this series is at the top of its game, and one of the best Marvel books on shelves right now. It’s a pretty awesome book and the only downer is really that this is one of those books that really deserves double-shipping status, with it being easy to forget what happened in last issue before reading this one.
Regardless, it’s been a fantastic ride – and things will only get more interesting from here.