Enter the Drago—I Mean, Captain America #25

The cover for Captain America issue #25

Captain America #25 from Marvel Comics

As a comic book reader for over 35 years, I’ve often wished they would create a separate comic-book cover for those of us who read avidly. “Who is the NEW Captain America?” I already know. She already knows. Everyone reading comic books, the Internet, or Comic Shop News knows. So blanking out the figure and asking this question in bold letters like this is some sort of mystery is like playing hide-and-seek with my daughter when she was five . . . oh, I’ll go along with it, but no amount of crouching against a blank wall in the middle of the living room is actually hiding anything.

But while the mystery isn’t there, nonetheless Captain America #25 is a good story with a lot of key elements coming together. The most important, of course, is the “revelation” of Sam Wilson, a.k.a. the Falcon, being the new Captain America. Now, as I pointed out, this is no mystery to anyone who’s been around in the last few months, and Marvel even pokes fun at that with Sam entering in his new costume and saying, “You guys all knew it was me, didn’t you? There’s literally no drama left in this reveal.”

No drama, true, but the writer, Rick Remender, does a good job with the lead-up. The previous issue had Sam apparently sacrificing himself to save New York, with the fallout being the opening sequence. While you view panels of the aftermath and Sam’s seemingly lifeless body being brought back to Earth, the narrator is original Captain Steve Rogers, who lays the groundwork for the introduction by talking about Sam’s background and the qualities that make him special and worthy to carry the shield.

The big reveal is done with all of the Avengers, past and present, meeting up to hear Steve’s announcement of his new role coordinating and supporting the Avengers from their base of operations due to the Super-Soldier Serum being leeched from his body, reverting him to his approximate actual age. He then introduces Sam and, in a fit of ceremony, presents him with the shield. It “caps” off with Sam raising the shield and issuing the famous battle cry, “Avengers Assemble!”

What I think works less well is the side story with the Zola Clan. Brief recap: Steve gets zapped into Dimension Z, Arnim Zola’s creation, where he is isolated and spends years fighting as a lone opposition to Zola. By a twist of fate, Steve ends up with Zola’s infant son, Ian, and raises him as his own. He also has significant run-ins with Zola’s loyal and lethal daughter, Jet Black, who begins to see her father for the criminal he is and returned to Earth with Steve and starts a path of redemption. The two elements that bother me are:

  1. Zola has a moment of humanity, explaining to Jet that he did not detonate the Omega Bomb because he loves her. Yes, the same guy who has been condemning her throughout the series and speaking of her more as an experiment than a person now suddenly has a change of heart and want to be friends, and we’re expected to believe this.
  2. The other is a classic formula: Redeemed superhero gets mistaken for bad guy. All good will is erased as doubt is cast. Redeemed superhero perceives blame and runs away instead of addressing the issue.

These are classic elements, to be sure, but they’ve been overplayed and overused and, here, just unnecessary. All in all, however, it’s a good story and a good intro to the new Captain.

Issue #25 was released on October 1, 2014.

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