Firstly, to the negative. The truth of what happened to Steve is revealed (only partially to the other heroes, but we find out the truth from a conversation between Norman Osborn and Armin Zola). However, the reveal proves to be disappointing, as its a direct lift from this year’s season of Lost. Steve has been displaced in the time stream and is hopping between different points in his own history. Much like Sawyer and co jumping around the Island’s history. Sharon even points out that the Red Skull and Zola referred to her as the Constant. A term intricately linked to Lost’s time travel shenanigans.
I really don’t know what to make of this. Ed Brubaker has given us a tightly written story this far during his run, so I’m inclined to believe that what we’re seeing is what’s been planned all along. Which would mean that the similarity between this and Lost is a coincidence (since it would have been in place long before this season of Lost aired), and Brubaker’s in the unfortunate situation of another story having used his plot just before he did (similarly, the cliffhanger reveals in last month’s Captain Britain and Green Lantern issues). However, this doesn’t explain the use of the term “Constant” in this context, which Lost has been using for several years.
However, aside from that I found this to be a really enjoyable issue. Bryan Hitch’s art is as great as ever. Initially I wasn’t sure about his redesign of Cap’s WWII uniform, however, as I looked at it more throughout the issue, I grew to really like it. It is a bit of a rip-off of his Ultimate Cap look, which I dislike, but some of the details are nice, such as the wings painted on the sides of his helmet, and the way his traditional folded boots are actually fake and are over the top of traditional boots.
Ed Brubaker nicely works a large cast into the story as well. Alongside the usual cast, the Avengers become involved with the reveal of the strange gun Sharon used to shoot Steve. Falcon and Sharon take it to Hank Pym (who then admits they should let Reed look at it), but its a nicely written scene. There’s also good action as well, with Bucky and Natasha infiltrating HAMMER in order to try and retrieve the remains of the device the Red Skull and Zola were using to retrieve Steve (although why they were trying to retrieve him after stranding him remains to be seen). Norman’s figured out the device was significant though, and while discussing it with Zola, he’s sent the Dark Avengers to deal with Bucky and Natasha. Looking forward to seeing Bucky and the Black Widow versus the Dark Avengers next issue.
So, overall a bit of a mixed start. Its nice seeing Steve again (although with the various flashbacks in the main Cap title, he’s rarely been away) and this issue does setup nicely the level of impact his resurrection will have, by including Osborn and both the Avengers and the Dark Avengers. The art’s great, and the story nicely brings together events from the last two years. The similarities to Lost do drag down what would’ve otherwise been a great first issue for me though. I’m definitely looking forward to the next issue.