Marvel NOW!’s Captain America series is probably the most sadistic title in Marvel’s stable. Some might say that’s a better descriptor for Deadpool, with its penchant for violence, but while Motormouth takes on dead presidents for comedy, readers have seen Steve Rogers lose years off his life far from home in Dimension Z. The drama contained in Captain America’s recent run does much for the material, and the wringer he’s been pressed through would have downed less-capable superheroes.
An existence filled with this much strife — Captain America fights off a virus, protects his young charge, and leads the native Phrox, all the while searching for a way home — has only tempered Steve Rogers into something stronger, emotionally and physically. In Captain America #7, Rogers continues his uphill battle for home and family as he singlehandedly storms Arnim Zola’s fortress, fighting gravity, fatigue, and overwhelming odds.
Writer Rick Remender continues to twist the screws into Captain America with setback after painful setback, and readers get to see Rogers freeclimb, freefall, crash through a glass roof, and land on his shield — all in the span of a few pages — and just as the book hits its midpoint. This isn’t Captain America and the Avengers — it’s a solo battle pitting one man versus many — and the lonely climb to the top becomes even more forlorn when Rogers duels with Princess Jet Black and finally finds Ian.
Readers might be relieved now knowing that the Captain spared Jet Black’s life last issue. The act proves to be instrumental as the devoted daughter defies her father and decides to follow her conscience. The journey to find Ian, escape the planet, and keep Zola’s plan from succeeding becomes that much easier with a powerful ally by the Captain’s side, and it’s a momentary respite before Rogers goes down with another injury by the person he cares for most in Dimension Z.
For seven difficult issues, readers have become reacquainted with the first Avenger. His decisions in the heat of battle and the persistence he displays show what kind of man he is. John Romita Jr. hasn’t missed a single page as penciller, and though his artwork is a little less consistent than usual with strange proportions — it still maintains that consistent look with a ragged, haggard Captain scaling Zola’s fortress like Sisyphus.
The colors by Dean White seem a little more polished this issue. For the most part, the atmospheric shades and tones feel a little more vibrant — probably due to the sun rising on Dimension Z — and it’s a welcome change as the current story reaches its climax.
That’s not to say all will be well when this story ends. The current story arc might see Captain America return home, but there’s no guarantee he will save the Phrox, Jet Black, or even Ian. Zola figures to be a greater villain in Rogers’ universe, and what he’s done won’t be quickly forgotten by the Captain.
If and when Rogers returns home, it remains to be seen how long after he leaves Dimension Z that the events will leave him in peace.
Captain America #7 (2012)
Words: Rick Remender
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Scott Hanna and Klaus Janson
Colors: Dean White
Letters: Joe Caramagna