Collects Captain America and Bucky Nos. 620-624 (cover dates September, 2011- January, 2012)
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Chris Samnee
This arc is filled with the dreaded ret-con. What is a ret-con, you ask? The term ret-con is short for retroactive continuity, where a writer inserts events into a character's already well established past to try and add depth to a character. 9.9 times out of 10, these suck at best, and piss me off at worst. The only writer who effectively made ret-cons was Roy Thomas, whose love of Golden Age Comics made him insert an entire series from the 1970s (The Invaders) into Captain America, the Sub-Mariner and (the original, Golden Age) Human Torch's past. In this arc, we see Ed Brubaker flesh out Bucky's origin. We have seen so many different angles of Cap and Bucky in the '40s that it seemed tired out of the gate. Plus, with the original 1940s comics available in the Marvel Masterworks- Golden Age Captain America hardcovers, I have read many of their exploits in their original form. Bucky seemed like a kid of maybe 8 or 10 years old in the original strip, but Brubaker ret-cons Bucky into a 16 year old, which made me wince.
These ret-cons often make more sense than what was originally published, but I am of the very old school notion that if the stories that were previously told have no meaning, then neither does the one that I am currently reading. Marvel's continuity is what made their stories, and universe, such a rich tapestry that has lasted 50-72 years (depending on if you count the Timely and Atlas incarnations of the company in your count; I tend to).
Chris Samnee's artwork left me cold. I miss Butch Guice already.
This writing in this arc is severely decompressed, meaning that I flew through this book in no time at all. Brubaker's writing usually has more meat to it than this. So while I found this arc to be disappointing on a number of levels, I was satisfied with the ending, which was touching. I'll chalk this arc up as Brubaker wanting to do something different. I hope that he caught his breath and is ready to Rock out again next time.
The OCD zone- Marvel Premiere Edition hardcover; decent paper, glued binding. 'Nuff said.