In the year 1940, writer Joe Simon and artist Jack Kirby from Timely Comics (which would later become Marvel Comics) created the hero Captain America. Captain America Comics #1 was on sale on December 1940, a year before the Attack on Pearl Harbor. Simon once said he was a consciously political creation, as he and Kirby were repulsed by the actions of Nazi Germany in the years leading to World War II.
After the war was over, Captain America faded into obscurity until 1964 when Stan Lee and Kirby brought him back in Avengers #4, in which the team discovers him encased in ice and revives him. He became the leader of the team, a hero “haunted by past memories, and trying to adapt to 1960s society.” Since then, he’s been chiefly associated with the Avengers alongside Iron Man and Thor.
Avenging Spider-Man #5
Writer: Zeb Wells
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan
Color Art: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramanga
Spidey Team-Up: Captain America (Commander Steve Rogers)
***WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD***
PLOT: At Avengers Mansion, Spider-Man and his teammates are reading a newspaper article featuring a report on long-lost comic books by Steve Rogers before his Captain America days. Cap sees the report but thinks nothing of it and prepares his team to assault a Serpent Society base.
Spidey begins to think he shares something in common with Cap, so he pairs up with him during the mission, and both heroes take out Copperhead, Spidey all the while trying to renew Cap’s interest in comic book drawing to little avail.
Later, Peter surprises Steve by buying a page from his old comic for him. Steve is not exactly thrilled and tells Peter that it was a weak, sickly child that drew that stuff and he put those days behind him when he became a soldier. He likens the situation to Peter still playing with his first chemistry kit from when he was a nerdy kid picked on by bullies, except Peter later admits he still did from time to time.
Later on, Peter tries to get rid of his chemistry kit but is surprised by Steve. He takes him up on his earlier offer to get together and discuss ideas for a new science fiction hero. They both sit and look over at Steve’s artwork.
This issue was dedicated to the memory of Joe Simon (1913-2011).
THOUGHTS: If there is something you should always be able to count on with the Avenging Spider-Man book, it’s its excellent artwork. The combined efforts of Yu, Alanguilan, and Gho make for an extremely good looking issue. It’s times like these when I wish I was more familiar with art techniques so I could describe them to you, but I trust that you’ll see for yourself and agree that it sets the bar pretty highly. In particular, I like how Yu draws Spider-Man. I think most people will agree that Spidey should be lean and fit, muscular but not ridiculously so, and that’s the type of Spidey we get in this issue.
While I’m willing to recommend this issue on the art alone, Zeb Wells crafts a very entertaining story with an ending that I thought was touching. The main plot has Spidey trying to bond with Cap on a point that he feels they have in common: Peter’s a nerd. Steve was a geek. It’s very awkward at first, but it’s clear by the end that they are having a good time working together on their new comic. Heroics aside, it’s a story I feel most people can relate to. As someone who falls under both nerd and geek tags, I can understand the struggle of meeting people who share (or even kinda share) the same interests and then trying to connect with them on that level. Wells captures that perfectly through the interactions between Spidey and Cap. Even Parker trying a little too hard and being ridiculed by the other Avengers for it is something that most people (myself included) can be guilty of. But it’s never painted as a negative thing. Quote on the contrary, that both heroes end up having a good time should make the reader feel optimistic about our friendships in life. In spite of different backgrounds and personalities, we can always find common ground.
As it has been the case for this monthly title, the issue has a light-hearted tone. It’s never super serious or super epic, but it’s also never too goofy for its own good (except for those dumb recap pages). It presents a good opportunity for good character pieces. It’s not about the big picture. It’s about the pieces.
VERDICT: BUY THIS BOOK! 5 Webheads out of 5.
FREE CODE GIVEAWAY: Despite the fact that I now have an Android phone, I still want you to give this issue a chance. If you want my free code, simply follow me on Twitter (@2BitSpecialist) and reply to me with this message:
@2BitSpecialist You’re so awesome! You should totally be a guest commentator on the Crawlspace podcast. 😉
Many will enter. Only one will win!
~My Two Cents