Since it was revealed that Sam Wilson would be taking over the mantle of Captain America, there were varying reactions from fans. Some were excited, others were skeptical of Marvel’s intentions, and some even hated the idea that Steve Rogers would no longer be slinging the shield for justice. However, many just wanted a solid story with some great artwork that was worth the cover price of the issue.
For the uninitiated, Remender gives a look into some of the events that have shaped the life of Sam Wilson, laying out just enough information to get you comfortable with the character while not becoming a full blown origin issue. There’s also a strong enough recap that brings us to the point where this issue starts had you not been reading the latest Captain America series. From there we’re catching up to the new Captain America in the middle of a mission that sends him to a Hydra base. Remender gets inside the head of Wilson with a very strong inner monologue that comes together at the perfect moment, as Sam just wants to make his parents proud. This little bit of character building is enough to set things on track and keep the story moving pretty well. Another great thing Remender does is keep Steve’s involvement in the story limited to a communication and quick cameo, allowing for a full issue of Sam as the new Cap in action.
Along with the new Captain America we’re also given a new Nomad in Steve’s adopted son, Ian. There’s friction there, and Remender makes it plain to see that Ian does question why he wasn’t chosen as the successor to the shield, which was shown in quite the humorous exchange between the two as Sam fails miserably with a shield toss. Ian also comes from a harsher world, so Remender reminds us that he’s quite a different sidekick than what Steve or Sam are use to. Remender keeps their exchanges the highlight of the issue, even when Ian obviously insults Sam, but he’s too cool to be bothered and just keeps focused on the mission.
What has been a personal favorite of mine whenever reading a Captain America comic is the action and fight sequences involved. Immonen delivers on all fronts as he lets Sam cut loose as Cap, and makes the aerial and hand to hand fight scenes look fantastic. There’s actually not much that Immonen doesn’t make look good, and when you take into account the colors of Von Grawbadger, then just know you’re going to get quite a great looking issue. Batroc even gets a new costume design that makes him look a bit more serious (if you can get past the handlebar mustache), as Immonen has him showing off his savate skills on Cap. The cliffhanger is also one great looking page that is a major “Oh $#!t” moment for Captain America and Nomad.
So, was it worth the time? I’d say it was, though it’s not worth the hype. A character’s ethnicity shouldn’t be the driving point to sell a comic. That’s what the writer and artist are for, and both Remender and Immonen do a fine job here. Overall, All-New Captain America #1 is an issue that bears some checking out whether you’re a cynic, skeptic, fan, or whatever. If things stay this good will only be revealed over time, so give it a try and see for yourself. Though if you’re one of the people who have a problem with this title because the new Captain America is a Black man, then the problem isn’t with the writer or artist, it’s with you.