Thursday, September 25, 2008

Captain America: The Chosen

Originally titled Captain America: The End, David Morrell’s decidely different take on Cap proves incisive and entertaining if terribly decompressed.

The story is less about our title character than it is Marine Corporal James Newman. Newman is a soldier active in the fighting of Iraq, and he finds himself in a war situation that’s way over his head. But the sudden appearance of Captain America inspires him to single handedly pull his comrades out of enemy fire while cutting his way through their ranks. He proves successful, only to have Cap suddenly disappear.

We are then left with the mystery of the phantom Captain America as Newman, now a hero among his comrades, finds himself and his unit trapped in a cave-in. The phantom Cap again appears to him and we begin to gain answers as to just what’s going on.

The Chosen goes far afield from the typical huge explosion, high action final battles of most of Marvel’s The End series. This book is more of a character piece. A study of what a hero like Captain America would feel like in a real world, and how people feel about him in the same. It proves fascinating at times as Morrell studies his characters far more deeply than one might usually expect. Cap dies a truly heroic death in The Chosen but his legacy proves far larger than it did even in the regular Marvel Universe.

In his first comic work, David Morrell (the creator of Rambo in his nover First Blood) brings more to his comic work than many writers could ever hope to have. Nonetheless the series can feel a little padded at times with big, albeit pretty panels from Mitch Breitweiser and a story that could easily have filled a book half the size otherwise. I know if I would have purchased this issue by issue at four bucks a pop I would have been annoyed. But as a package the story proves both intriguing and engrossing if short.

This book gets a high recommendation for any fan of Morrell, Cap, or the American spirit in general. I'll give it a solid 8.5 out of 10, well high enough for me to recommend to everyone. But you may want to wait for the trade paperback out in the next few months.

(Quick Note: Heroes Season 3 Episode 1 review will be coming up soon. Illness has slowed it a bit, but I will get it posted.)

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