New Teen Titans #22

newteentitans22I’ve always been a big fan of Brother Blood, mostly due to picking up some comics that had the Teen Titans fighting him. That, and a really wicked cover of him rising out of a vat of blood. The New Teen Titans #22 is the second appearance of this highly underrated villain.

The issue is joined in progress, with Brother Blood’s cult having kidnapped Robin and Wonder Girl, both of whom are being tortured by a very generic looking cult member called the Confessor. Robin also spends most of the issue running around in his underwear, until Cyborg and Kid Flash rescue their missing team members.

Brother Blood attempts to escape, but a staged accident frames the Titans for killing the cult leader. Things don’t look good for the next issue, as Starfire’s evil older sister Blackfire is en route to planet earth.

The art is awesome; it’s George Perez at his peak. And the story is fine. Good book.

Valiant 2013: Free Comic Book Day Special

valiant-2013Now this was a throwback of sorts to the early 1990s. I’m talking about the days when Wizard magazine pretty much was the guide to comics and such. A publisher called Valiant was all the rage, with it’s mix of new modern characters and the revamped classics Magnus and Turok.

I never really read much from the publisher, save for the stuff that was put in the value comic bundles at dollar stores all through the nineties. The publisher returned in its newest incarnation last summer and the Valiant 2013: Free Comic Book Day special does a pretty good job serving as a starting point for new readers.

It features an excerpt from their big summer crossover Harbringer Wars as well as their other monthly books. In addition, they have creator intervivews. And the art in the Valiant books of 2013 looks a lot better to me than the art of Valiant in 1993.

The purpose of Free Comic Book day offerings is to attract new readers, so I guess I would say this did it’s job. I’m a bit more interested in their Archer and Armstrong series, but that’s more due to me really liking writer Fred Van Lente. So I’ll keep that on my radar but it’s not a must read for me. I’m going to put it out to the rest of you: how are the modern Valiant books?

Torch #1

 

torch-1This is another “tales from the quarter bin” comic. The Torch #1 came out in the fall of 2009, but what makes it odd that the series seems to have been published through a partnership between Marvel and Dynamite. The mini-series  is about the original Human Torch Jim Hammond.

Hammond–an android who can burst into flames–is one of the most underused of Marvel’s original “big three” characters. Captain America and Namor been fixtures of the Marvel Universe, but he seems to get the short end of the stick mostly due to Johnny Storm flying around with his name.

Any who, Hammond isn’t featured too much in the first issue. Toro–his didekick–has been resurrected and hates his life. He’s largely forgotten, his girlfriend moved on, and he’s finding it hard getting used to being alive after being a corpse since the end of World War II. Toro decides to avenge his death by killing his murderer, the villainous Mad Tinkerer. Conveniently as this is going on, Tinkerer is working for Norman Osbron to replicate the science that created both Toro and Jim Hammond. The issue ends with Toro captured and Hammond’s remains being exhumed.

This seems like it could be a fun series to me, especially knowing my love of second tier characters. The mini-series also has awesome covers from Alex Ross. The good thing is that this whole mini-series is featured on Marvel Unlimited which I subscribe to, so expect some more discussion about this in the near future.

 

Grant Morrison’s Action Comics

Who is the best writer currently at DC? I’ll give you a hint; tt’s not Geoff Johns. It’s Grant Morrison, and his re imagining of Superman in the new Action Comics is just another example. 

This isn’t the first time we’ve read a Morrison-ized version of Superman; we first saw that starting in 2005′s All Star Superman. In his latest project, he does something completely different.

The Clark Kent in Action Comics is more of an every-man than a superman. He goes around stopping criminals, ranging from low street level types to corrupt business and government officials. This mysterious alien vigilante–clad only in a t-shirt, jeans and cape–has caught the attention of a military, especially General Lane (Lois’ dad) who has allied himself with a kindred spirit in Lex Luthor. Both of them have their own reasons why a super powered alien is a menace to society.

All of that changes when a secret deal that Luthor made with Brainiac backfires, and the city of Metropolis is taken by the evil sentient alien. They have no choice to trust Superman. All the while, Clark is having a hard time making ends meet just starting out as a reporter in Metropolis.

What makes this all work is how everything makes sense. Luthor doesn’t want Superman around, as it exposes the deal he made with Brainiac. General Lane has is own reservations, especially since his daughter is following Superman around. Even the origin of the Superman outfit makes sense; Clark finds it (turns out, the suit is Kryptonian battle armor) on board the ship that sent him to earth once he recovers it from the government.

There’s some other shorter stories included in this volume. One of them is Clark Kent meeting the Legion of Super Heroes for the first time with art by Andy Kubert. I really didn’t get into this that much, but mostly because I’ve never been able to get into those characters. But its important to the whole Superboy and future of DC mythos.

Action Comics is just a lot of fun. It’s a different, more modern take on a classic concept. It reminds me a lot of the original Ultimate Spider-Man series. You should definitely check this out.

Spawn: The Album

It may have taken me a while to see Spawn: The Movie, but I’ve been a big fan of the film’s soundtrack for some time. Spawn: The Album features a bunch of collaborations between some of the biggest alternative metal and electronic music acts of the late 1990s–two musical genres I was really into at the time. The resulting album was a lot of fun.

The lead single teamed up Filter with the Crystal Method for a reworking of the techno duo’s “(Can You) Trip Like I Do”, which pretty much features Filter’s singer Richard Patrick contributing some vocals. There is a bit more guitar work, too. The other big single was Marilyn Manson and the Sneaker Pimps’ “Long Road Out Of Hell.” Both of these songs wound up having Spawn inspired music videos. Also, both songs have appeared on countless other movie soundtracks.

Spawn: The Album also features some team-ups filled with metal credibility. There’s a remix of Metallica’s “For Whom The Bells Toll” by DJ Spooky that’s pretty epic. Metallica’s guitarist Kirk Hammett and Orbital teamed up for the riff-heavy “Satan.” Even Slayer makes an appearance, collaborating by digital hardcore act Atari Teenage Riot for “No Remorse (I Wanna Die)” which combines Kerry King’s wicked guitars with ATR’s trademark screaming over the hardest use of the Amen break.

As a whole, the album is catchy. It’s metal enough if your into the louder musical genres, and filled with enough breaks and beats to make techno fans happy. It holds up extremely well fifteen years later.

The Dark Knight Rises Review

Can you think of a better way to spend your birthday then seeing the final chapter of the Christopher Nolan Batman series of films? I couldn’t think of one either and spent this morning going out to see The Dark Knight Rises. Be warned; there are plenty of spoilers ahead.

The movie starts roughly eight years after The Dark Knight. Batman is still a wanted fugitive after accepting responsibility for Harvey Dent’s death, and Bruce Wayne hasn’t been seen since. The debut of a new terrorist/mercenary force lead by a new villain named Bane causes Bruce to take up the mantle of Batman for one last ride.

The result was a story that combined elements of the Knightfall, Cataclysm and No Man’s Land storylines, with Batman having to recover from a crippling defeat at the hands of Bane only to save Gotham City from certain doom after it has been cut off from the rest of civilization.

That said, I think I enjoyed this film the most. I liked how intertwined all of the characters were and pretty much everyone knew that Bruce Wayne and Batman were one and the same. At the key of this film was the complex relationships all of the characters had with each other and issues of trust. Sometimes Bruce’s trust was violated (in the case of Bruce and Miranda Tate, who turned out to be none other than Ra’s Al Ghul’s daughter Tate and was seeking to avenger her father’s death from back in Batman Begins); other times it was earned (as was the case with Batman and Catwoman).

The other theme in The Dark Knight Rises is moving on. Alfred urged to Bruce that someday he would have to give up being Batman and have a chance to have a normal life. Bruce somehow manages to do that at the end of the film; saving the city and seemingly dying in an explosion. It’s a fitting end for the Batman persona, as he not only saves the city he so dearly cares about but finally sees the impact that he had on its citizens, as they openly mourned the loss of their dark protector. This allows him to resurface in Europe with Catwoman, who was also searching for a chance to start over, and start a normal life.

Although this is the end of the film series, they leave an opening for a new Batman to guard the city. Detective Blake (played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt) knew that Batman and Bruce Wayne were one in the same, and did everything in his power to help the vigilante come back to save the city from Bane. At the end of the film, he gets given access to Batman’s arsenal of crime fighting equipment.

There’s a whole bunch more I can talk about on this film but I need some time to digest. So what did you think about this?

Amazing Fantasy #15

So let’s talk about the first appearance of Spider-Man in Amazing Fantasy #15, which I am so proud to have in my collection. Well not the original, but one of the thousands of reprints they’ve made over the years.

Anyway, Steve Ditko and Stan Lee launched Marvel’s most recognizable character with this. I’m not going to talk about the story, because everyone and there mother knows it. So why is Spider-Man one of the most enduring characters in comics?

It’s because his origin and makes so much sense. Superman is just a super-powered alien who feels he has to be helpful. Captain America is fighting the good fight, a holdover from World War II. Batman is just motivated by revenge. This was all expanded over the years.

But Amazing Fantasy #15 fleshes out the character instantly. Peter Parker is constantly bullied, but winds up with these amazing (no pun intended) powers. And his arrogance disrupts his life; it’s his fault that Uncle Ben died. Peter takes it upon himself to make sure no one ever experiences the loss of a loved one to a criminal.

The beauty is that you get all of that out of one issue. After you read this, you know everything about Peter Parker, his life, his motivations, everything. This just might be the best debut of a character ever.

Amazing Spider-Man #1

So who saw Amazing Spider-Man for the fourth of July? I didn’t. But I did read the first issue of Spidey’s ongoing series from March 1963.

Amazing Spider-Man #1 wasn’t the first appearance of the wall crawler; he debuted seven months prior in Amazing Fantasy #14. This first issue by Steve Ditko and Stan Lee sets up the tone and direction the character would take.

Basically it really sucks to be Peter Parker. He’s still grieving the loss of Uncle Ben, and him and Aunt May are dealing with some serious financial hardships.

In the first story, Peter get super depressed after finding out that Aunt May has been selling her jewelry and such at the local pawn shop. She can’t pay the bills since Uncle Ben was murdered, which he still blames himself for. Peter plans a stage show with a promoter to get some money quickly. Unfortunately for him (and leading to an absolutely hilarious scene) Spider-Man can’t cash the check because he doesn’t have a Social Security card. I couldn’t stop laughing about this.

As this goes on, we meet J. Jonah Jameson for the first time and he hates Spider-Man.. How much? Even though Spider-Man saves his astronaut son from cashing to his demise, the elder Jameson makes the cover of the Daily Bugle have the headline “This Newspaper Demands That Spider-Man Be Arrested And Prosecuted!”

With the public fearing Spider-Man, Peter will never be able to make any money to support his family.

The second feature continues this “must find money” theme with Spider-Man attempting to join the Fantastic Four. Unfortunately he goes about that the wrong way; breaking into their headquarters at the Baxter Building and then asking them about the financial compensation they get for being heroes wasn’t the best way to go about winning them over. This day only gets worse as he has to stop the Chameleon is masquerading as him in order to steal missile defense plans to sell to the Soviets.

What Ditko and Lee did in this issue was get across how much it sucks to be Peter Parker. Nothing in his life works out. It’s his fault his uncle is dead. It’s his fault that his aunt is just scraping to get by. He has these great powers and abilities, yet everyone fears him. Not only that, but he does so much to help the world and gets nothing to compensate himself. Yet he has to, as he is compelled to do so.

This is why Spider-Man is so likable; he’s down on his luck and anyone can relate to that. Peter Parker is an every man underdog. This was such a fun issue to read; it still holds up nearly fifty years later.

Guy Gardner: Warrior #0

Later this year DC will be launching zero issues this September, but that isn’t the first time the publisher did that. After the Zero Hour crossover ended, the publisher spent October 1994 launching zero issues of established and new titles. They changed some characters and other continuity problems, some changes completely put the book on a new direction. Guy Gardner: Warrior #0 was one of those books.

At this point, Guy’s life was pretty miserable. His life had become filled with failure at that point. He had been kicked out of the Green Lantern Corps, lost his Yellow Lantern Ring, had some really odd body armor, and even attempted to be a non powered super hero.

And poor Guy didn’t think his life couldn’t get any weirder.

Guy finds out that he descends from a race of alien warriors from the planet Vuldar. The benefit of being a Vuldarian/Human hybrid is that he can shape shift his body into all kinds of weapons and other things, kind of like Random from X-Factor.

Now having new-found powers and a desire to use them, this revamp of Guy Gardner gave series writer a lot of wiggle room and resulted in some fun comics.

Guy got to keep his fun new powers for a few years, until Parallax erased his Vuldarian from his DNA, leaving him just an ordinary human again. That’s one way to erase continuity!

X-Factor #84

Let’s take a look back at X-Factor #82–the second part of the X-Cutioner’s Song crossover. It’s hard for me to wrap my head around the fact that this came out twenty years ago. God I’m getting old.

As the second part of a crossover running through four different ongoing series, the pacing on this is kind of odd but its forgivable. In part one, Professor X has just been shot by Cable and is in grave condition at a hospital. X-Factor’s government liaison Valerie Cooper is trying to get a handle on his status, as he’s apparently been infected with some sort of techno virus that is turning him into a machine. I hope that Professor X is covered by his HMO; this sounds expensive.

As this is going on, X-Factor is investigating what had happened at the crime scene. X-Force–without their leader Cable, cause he apparently just tried to assassinate Professor X–is also there. The two groups tussle for obvious reasons, with X-Factor

There is one scene that sticks out now as being odd in retrospect involving Wolfsbane and Rictor making out with Shatterstar watching. At the time it makes sense, since they are former teammates after all. But in modern-day, Rictor and Shatterstar are a couple, and I’m sure it must be awkward watching your significant other making out with a wolf chick.

Art in this issue was by Jae Lee. I guess this was still early in his career, as his artwork really reminded me of Sam Keith, with the dark moodiness, use of negative space and odd cartoonishly rendered characters. But that’s a good thing, as I enjoy both Lee and Keith’s work.

Avengers 1959 #5

Better late than never. This issue concludes Howard Chaykin’s brilliantly done mini-series Avengers 1959. Is Nick Fury’s rag-tag group of super powered mercenaries able to Geoffrey Sydenham’s nefarious plot to usher in the next age of Nazi dominance thanks to some supernatural help from the evil spirit Dormammu?

Of course he does. He’s Nick Fury.

If there was any criticism of this issue, I guess it could be that it was light on plot. But to me that isn’t an issue; we’re reading the final issue of a short mini-series. Chaykin uses this issue as a violent pay off for the last four issues. His artwork is stellar, imaginatively pitting Kraven, Sabretooth and company against Nazis, zombies and even a group of super villains.

The ending is also left completely open, giving us the possibility that we’ll revisit this pre-Mad Men world. This is available as a collected volume and I highly recommend checking it out.

Spider-Island

Spider-Island was writer Dan Slott’s massive epic storyline from 2011 that somehow manages to be very subtle at the same time. The result is a fun story which has a butt load of fun. Peter Parker thinks that the least of his troubles is going to be Aunt May shipping off to moving to Boston when everyone in Manhattan–every day citizens and street criminals alike–winds up gaining spider powers.

So who is behind this arachnipowered mess?

Slott drudges up the Jackal (the green monstery looking fellow behind the ridiculous Clone Saga of the 1990s) and the even more obscure Spider-Queen. The duo has planned to turn everyone in New York into some sort of mindless spider/human hybrid that she conveniently has control of. There’s also two giant monster-sized spider creatures that are the transformed versions of Steve Rogers and Kaine (the sometimes villainous Peter Parker clone that has survived all these years).

As Spider-Man has to team up with the Avengers and the rest of the NYC based heroes to stop this, Slott does a great of balancing how this effects Peter personally. Peter’s girlfriend Carlie dumps when she finds out he’s really Spider-Man. He also has some weirdness with ex-girlfriend Mary Jane along the way.

The collected edition contains a few tie-in issues from the Venom series, with Flash Thompson having to balance his duties as a super hero with spending what little time he has left with his terminally ill father. There are also a bunch of scenes with both Flash-Venom and the Anti-Venom (the original host of Venom Eddie Brock now has a symbiote called Anti-Venom), and there is a bit of a weird love triangle between the two of them and the venom symbiote. Eep.

Ultimately the story ends with both Spidey and Anti-Venom being the heroes of the day, as the symbiote could cure Jackal’s mutations. The best scene in the story by far is when Peter records a viral video of himself encouraging everyone to use their powers for good and to not use them to loot the city.

Art on this was handles mostly by Humberto Ramos and Stefano Casselli, who I’ve been a huge fan of since his days on the Devil’s Due GI Joe stuff. I can’t describe what it is exactly  that I enjoy about his work, but it just does it for me.

Spider-Island was definitely a fun read. A great book to bring along while on vacation or at the beach.

Deathstroke #9

Rob Liefeld. Deathstroke the Terminator. Lobo. This comic has everything that was great about the 1990s. With Hawk and Dove cancelled, Rob Liefeld moves over to Deathstroke starting with this issue.

I haven’t been following this title previously, and issue #9 establishes the Deathstroke-verse pretty quickly. Slade is at the grave of his deceased wife reminiscing, even to the point he is carrying a picture of her. I don’t think I’ve ever seen someone carry a picture of a loved one when going to the cemetery, but I digress. Anyway, this happy moment is spoiled.

Slade winds up dispatching some commando types and some teen meta-humans called the Omegas (I wonder if this is an allusion to the Omega Men), as apparently some sort of test by a new character named Maxim. His goal is simple: to hire Deathstroke to kill Lobo, who has escaped imprisonment. Along with the Omegas and Zealot from WildCATs fame, our mercenary hero is off to collect his bounty.

This story kind of reminds me when my younger brother and I would play super heroes as kids. We would mix all the toys together, and before you know it, Spider-Man and Batman would be riding a Wheeled Warrior vehicle against Krang from the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.

Anyway, this was light enough to warrant waiting for the next issue. Typical super hero comics stuff. Art wise, the one thing that I noticed was that Liefeld’s backgrounds were kind of sparse. The colorists seemed to have improvised a lot to fill the pages.

Batman Incorporated: Volume 1

Wow. Grant Morrison’s Batman Incorporated was mind-blowingly fun. The story picks up with Bruce Wayne travelling the world to add to Batman Incorporated, his non-profit foundation that supplies/arms crime fighters that he feels follow his views on vigilante-ism: basically keeping the world safe without excessive violence/murder.

This collection has Batman travelling around the world to both recruit and follow-up on his charges. The first two issues takes Batman to Japan with Catwoman on an attempt to recruit the local hero Mister Unknown, only to avenge his death at the hands of Lord Death Man with the help of Unknown’s sidekick.

From that point on the story explodes into a Pollock-esque explosion of Morrisonian goodness. Batman travels through South America to meet with the Argentinian hero El Gaucho, leading to a global search with Batwoman, Batwing and the rest of Batman Incorporated leading them to find out that the new mysterious organization Leviathan, which is led by Batman’s enemy/baby mama Talia ah Ghul.

The best part of Morrison’s work here is that the story is so complex. I’ve read and reread this over, and I still find new clues and things that stick out at me. There’s a fun little subplot story with Batman teaming up with Chief Man-of-Bats.

There’s a lot going on here and it continues in the new series Batman Incorporated that just started. I’ll definitely be checking that one out.

Avengers: The Children’s Crusade Review

The 2000s were a terrible decade for the Scarlet Witch. She finally gas a nervous breakdown from when the children she had during her marriage with the synthezoid VIsion (having babies from your robot husband would be enough for most people); finally taking out her rage on her Avengers pal and later reshaping reality in a way that would make her father the villainous Magneto proud. Avengers: The Children’s Crusade is her chance at redemption.

It turns out that the Young Avengers Speed and Wiccan really are the reincarnated souls of her sons William and Tommy. They never really explain how this happened; I guess the writer Allen Heinberg had more interesting things to work on. With them believing that the Scarlet Witch is their mother, they set out with the rest of their team and an oddly helpful Magneto to find her. Obviously, the Avengers proper see this as a threat, especially with them not wanting her or the similarly reality-bending powered Wiccan to recreate the events of Avengers Disassembled. The X-Men have an interest in finding the Scarlet Witch too, as Cyclops in particular wants her punished for her forever changing the lives of mutants, when she was able to wish away most of their mutations.

Eventually, the young heroes find an amnesic Scarlet Witch about to get married to Doctor Doom, who has been protecting her and giving her refuge  the last few years. When I read that, it was a double take moment…he was doing the right thing.

Unfortunately, nothing that Doctor Doom ever does is for purely nice reasons. He caused her to have the crazy destroy everything nervous breakdown, and pretty much is the root of all evil in the Marvel universe the last few years. After he steals her powers, it is up to the Avengers young and old alongside the X-Men to stop him. And along the way, Iron Lad returns briefly (engineering some plot that will be revealed in the future when he returns as Kang the Conqueror) and there is a switch with the living and dead members of the Lang family–they are able to resurrect the father Scott (better known as Ant Man) but his daughter Stature is killed defeating Doom.

Children’s Crusade unfortunately has an ending that I still don’t completely understand. If you remember, the following people were after Scarlet Witch:

  • The Avengers wanted her in custody so she could never cause an Avengers Disassembled like crisis. Wolverine takes it one step further, wanting to kill her and letting this never be an issue again.
  • The X-Men want her tried (and implied her death) as punishment for her wishing away the overwhelming amount of the mutant community.
  • X-Factor even gets in the act, with her reappearance leading to a bounty being placed on her head.

So what happens? Scarlet Witch winds up going on a journey of self exploration–they let her go. Really? REALLY? Since then, Scarlet Witch hasn’t made a peep in comics.

Ending aside, I really enjoyed this. At its heart, it’s a family story with a boy and his grandfather teaming up to save his mother. It’s very heartfelt, everyone from Quicksilver to Captain America, all play their part very well. And the art by Jim Cheung was killer.

Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Movie Review

I finally got to see Avengers and I was completely blown away. I can’t remember the last time I saw a movie like this and was so happy leaving the film. So why was I so impressed with the film?

The film’s director/scriptwriter Joss Whedon did an incredible job tying together five films worth of plot lines and characterizations. The end result is one of the best super hero/comic book adaptation films ever.

The plot is very straight forward; Loki has returned to Earth, allying himself with the alien army the Chitauri in an attempt for him to rule the planet and giving the aliens the Tesseract (cosmic cube) for their help. SHIELD commander Nick Fury has to pull together the best super heroes alongside the top SHIELD agents to stop this. Along the way, Iron Man and company learn that they have to coexist. Can they save the day? Spoilers after the jump…

Continue reading

1940s Captain America Action Figure Review

Captain America 1940s 

One of my birthday presents my super cool girlfriend gave me was the very cool 1940s style Captain America figures from the First Avenger toy line. This version of Cap pays tribute to the World War 2 costume that Bryan Hitch had him wear during the flashbacks in the Ultimates.

Captain America 1940sThis look on Captain America is really cool looking; it is definitely very old timey. I don’t claim to be any fashionista, especially one that knows about what was wrong in the 1940s, but the spats and some of the jacket closings look like they would be more appropriate during World War I. But, again, what do I know about these things?

Cap also comes with the original style shield, which looks really cool. He also comes with a machine gun and a small pistol that fits in a holster on his belt.

Captain America War Bonds poster
Captain America was also a big part of the war effort, as here he is being used to advertise and promote the purchase of war bonds. Okay, I made this part up, but there is no reason to think they would not have used him in this capacity. He was an American hero after all.

Harry Truman holding up Captain America in Daily Bugle
There was also this iconic picture of Harry Truman when Captain America guaranteed the Allies victory.

Captain America: Movie Review


So it’s the time that everyone has been waiting for, time for a review of the Captain America movie. And we’re not talking about the one from the early 1990s.

Surprise!

I still haven’t seen the film yet, but I’m planning on very soon, so just be patient. Until I see the movie (and probably until I get bored with it), we’ll still be talking about all things Captain America.

Cap made his big screen debut way back in 1943, in a 15 part serial from Republic Pictures. It has little, if anything, to do with the comics of the time. Captain America is the secret identity of district attorney Grant Gardner who dons the star-spangled costume one more time in an attempt to stop the villainous Scarab.

The film is what you would expect; it’s a lot like many of the other action/adventure serials of the time. I might even say that its better than the 1990 Cap film, as far as the storytelling aspects are concerned.

One interesting but morbid bit of trivia from this film is that Dick Purcell–who played Captain America–died of what was assumed to be a heartache shortly after the filming of the movie wrapped up.

It looks like this incarnation of Captain America has lapsed into public domain, and you can view it over at Archive.org

Captain America: America First

Captain America: America First is a collection of three separate Cap one-shot issues, each featuring a different creative team and unique story theme. So how did it do?

The first story is “Operation Zero Point” by Daniel and Charles Knauf with art from Mitch Bretweiser. This story is fairly straight forward, with Cap being sent to take out the Nazi’s new flying-saucer inspired aircraft. Along the way, Cap gets captured by a Nazi cyborg and attempts to rescue himself and the Jewish physicist who was forced into creating the flying death machines. Bretweiser’s art is phenomenal in this story, looking very realistic.

This is followed up with “Prisoners of Duty” by writers Kyle Higgins and Alec Siegel (who brought us the short film The League) with art by Agustin Adilla. Steve Rogers is kidnapped and placed into a Nazi prisoners camp, having to find a way to liberate the other American POWs and himself. Along the way he meets a German nurse who has been forced into working there.

The best of the lot concludes this volume, with a tale by Howard Chaykin featuring Captain America in the 1950s. Wait a minute, wasn’t Captain America frozen after World War II? Yes. Marvel has explained that the comics featuring Cap in the 1950s (where he traded in fighting Nazis for communist spies and Soviet agents) are the stories of William Burnside, who took up the mantle during the 1950s.

Along side a young Nick Fury, this Captain is trying to get to the bottom of Soviet activity in America, all the while facing an overzealous Joseph McCarthy-esque Senator who is trying to turn the public.

Chaykin does a great job with this story; the ending is a bit of a swerve. Him writing about this time period is a perfect fit for his art style; it makes me all the more excited for Retro Avengers.