Writer: Joe Simon, Stan Lee, and Jack Kirby
Art: Steve McNiven and More
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Release Date: March 17th, 2021
This is such an odd issue to review since it is three classic Captain America stories that most people already know and love. However, the big thing is that a different artist does each page, and there are a bunch of pages! So, does this work as an “Anniversary Tribute”? Yes and no. Let’s jump into it.
The first two stories here are “Meet Captain America” and “Riddle of the Red Skull” from Captain America Comics #1. Riddle is the best story in this Anniversary, in my opinion, as we get a great mix of heroics from both Steve and Bucky as they try to figure out and stop the Red Skull before he takes over America for Hitler. I do like “Meet Captain America” a lot, and what Cap fan doesn’t, and it always makes me smile when Bucky becomes Cap’s sidekick because he walked in on Steve getting dressed. I always wonder what Steve would have done if Bucky turned him down?!?! I also get a chuckle at the end of Riddle when I swear that Steve is giving Bucky the wink-wink that Red Skull committed suicide and not murdered by his young sidekick!
So, how was the art in these two stories? It was good. That may sound like I wasn’t that excited about it because I wasn’t. Nothing wowed me to the point of needing to see it after I turned the page to the next artist. Sure, there were some cool changes in perspective and panel layout (I read along with the original), but nothing that got close to flooring me. The problem is, the final story was pretty much the same.
Worse yet, about halfway through the Avengers #4 story, “Captain America Joins the Avengers,” I was bored. I have read that story a couple of times already, and without any real wow factor from the art, I wasn’t feeling it. Sure, I have some favorite pages, but they were mainly from my favorite artists going in, and nothing was anything I’d consider spectacular. One of the problems may have been that Jason Keith colored almost the whole book. It’s not that he did a bad job, just that a little more variety may have helped things stick out a little more.
I do have some questions that I will never get answered. Why not have some pinups or new variant covers for classic Cap issues? Why not have a couple of quick interviews with some of the artists, maybe talking about how it was working off of Joe Simon and Stan Lee scripts and following in the big shoes of Jack Kirby? Marvel put all their eggs in the “one page for each artist” basket, and it didn’t work as well as I hoped it would.
Overall, this felt like a missed opportunity. I’m sure it took a huge effort to make it happen, but it needed something more to make it unique and memorable.
The amount of artists on this anniversary issue is impressive. Unfortunatley, it turned out to be less than the sum of its parts. There just wasn’t any wow factor to this oversize issue, and if you have read these three stories before (which are 100% classics), you may find yourself bored before the end. However, if you haven’t read them yet, this might be a good time to jump in, but I’d probably stick to the original classics.
This issue was picked by the badasses of the Get Fresh Crew (whoop whoop) for our Patreon Only Spotlight Podcast. If you want to listen to that and a ton of other shows, go to Patreon.com/weirdscience