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Captain America: The Fighting Avenger Review by Brian S. Roe

Sunday - May 22, 2011

There's something about comic books that symbolize childhood in the way that fireworks, birthday presents, and root beer floats do. They are little events that contain an amount of excitement and joy that often seems leeched out of adult life. Those of us who continue to enjoy comics, as well as the occasional root beer float, often find it difficult to find a book that can make us feel the same sense of adventure that we did as children looking through a drugstore spin rack for whatever comics our allowance could snag for us. Basically being an adult can really be a drag and it helps to occasionally be reminded that there are still good stories to be found between the pages of a floppy paged comic book.

With the approaching release of the Captain America movie Marvel has been going all out to promote everybody's favorite patriotic symbol. After reading Captain America #616 (review here) I've decided to try to keep up with Cap and pick up at least a few issues every month of the various titles that are centered around him. Imagine my joy (if you dare!) upon finding that my favorite Sultan of Sass Brian Clevinger had written a new Captain America story! Well my joy, which was truly a sight to behold, was tamped down a bit when I realized that this was a bloody one-shot. A double-sized one-shot but still not destined to be a continuing series. Suffice it to say that I was miffed.

Now I'm not going to soapbox about the whole "too much sex and violence in comics" thing. I'm not going to go off about how I think a lot of modern comics are about as socially foul as gangster rap and murder simulation video games. All I'm going to say is that I'm disappointed that this book will not be continuing and that I won't get to see Clevinger's take on so many of the iconic plots of the Captain America franchise. At least give me the issue when The Whizzer joins The Invaders, just that would be enough.

I'm not going to review this issue at all. I dug it and suggest it to anyone who likes comic books. There you go. The dialogue is solid Clevinger patter and a couple of bits that play out over several pages get funnier as they go. Few modern writers can use 1940s slang and current idiom so effortlessly while still keeping the story's momentum going. As noted in Jimmy Callaway's review of Iceman & Angel, Clevinger seems to be running on all cylinders with his work for Marvel and I'm looking forward to seeing the next project that he has the chance to work his magic on.

But I still wish it could have been a continuation of Captain America: The Fighting Avenger. Not because it is pretty much an all ages book that I would feel fine about giving to my kid nephew and not because I think we need more young readers to keep the comics industry alive but simply because it makes me happy to read it. And being happy while reading a comic book is a good way to be.

And just for fun here's a great little Cap short film made by Zack "Still Owes Roe Two Art Prints" Finfrock and his crew at Backyard FX.


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