By Jeph Loeb, Tim Sale, & Dave Stewart
The long overdue and much-anticipated installment in the Marvel ‘COLOR’ series from renowned creative duo Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale has finally been released. This time they have turned their sights on Captain America. This release is a double-sized issue, so don’t worry about the more expensive price point. The other books in this series have focused on relationships and this still rings true in Captain America: White. Instead of a love interest like Betty Ross or Gwen Stacy, this story focuses on the bond between two friends: Steve Rogers and James Buchanan Barnes (Bucky). Setting the tale during the events of World War II, Loeb and Sale are able to explore their relationship and the eventual death of Bucky.
Some may see some similarities between this and Batman recruiting Robin in Batman: Dark Victory, but Jeph and Tim are well aware of this and are quick to make key distinctions between the two relationships/narratives. Loeb continually focuses on how Steve and Bucky are close in age, it’s just that one is a young man in an adult’s body. One of the key conflicts or aspects of Cap is that he is a man out of time. Despite various creative minds and different entertainment mediums exploring this aspect, it’s still fascinating to read this team’s take on it. The narration seeps with a sense of loss and melancholy that will resonate with readers.
The first page is a splash page of an unconscious Rogers right after being unfrozen. It’s a stunning, impactful image that immediately hits readers. Colorist Dave Stewart doesn’t use a vibrant palette, instead he implements cool blues, which immediately sets the tone of what’s to come. Sale and Stewart seem to be a strong art team. Seeing the white in Cap’s or Bucky’s eyes, under their masks, just pops off the page. There are some pages that depict their training montage and shows why Tim Sale is considered one of the best. Dave makes great use of shadows and doesn’t overplay a page or panel. Captain America/Steve Rogers is usually shown brightly and brilliantly, but in these first two issues, we see him shrouded in the night or silhouetted quite often. It’s an interesting contrast that he plays with and makes the art much more intriguing.
This is a great start for White. It definitely is tough having to wait for the next issue; reading the trades of the other books can spoil people. Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale’s spin on this iconic character looks to be an emotional, but powerful one.