Even when it’s the same plot and characters, stories that may be the same in idea are different between medias. This adaptation of the cinematic Captain America: The First Avenger is the perfect example. Overall, the comic follows scene by scene exactly how the movie went. From the fair where Steve Rogers meets Dr. Erskine to proving himself worthy of being called “Captain”, we see his heart and sense of duty. Following that the best part of this is the art. It stands on its own even though it’s supposed to just depict what happened in the movie. The cross-hatched shading helps especially in action scenes and emphasizing facial expressions. It is rare for an artist to be able to capture complex emotions like pain, ambition, faith, and courage simultaneously in just one panel. During the actual creation of Captain America, all of that is shown and the reader can really feel that the transformation was not going to be just physical. There’s Bucky, too. In the movie I barely even noticed him since I didn’t have any background knowledge about Captain America’s story back then. His relationship with Bucky depicted in this issue makes one of the last scenes in the movie much more important than I previously thought. Did I mention the action scenes? The explosions are exquisite. They don’t take up entire pages, but set up a very dramatic backdrop for our characters- not just Cap- I’m also talking about his confrontation towards the end of the issue. This team did a brilliant job bringing their own twist to the story without actually changing the story itself.
What I find lacking in painting this Rogers, though, is actually a bit from the beginning of the movie- the fact that Rogers has himself been bullied, standing against those stronger than him even though he was basically helpless, said just as much about his character as protecting everyone from a perceived threat through self-sacrifice. Having both would have given him more of a 3-dimensional character rather than the generic “good guy”. A less important, more anal retentive disagreement is the lack of emphasis about how superficial his original “role” as Captain America was. The punching Hitler joke falls flat should someone read the issue without watching the movie first because it was an easy panel to speed past to get to the good stuff.
If you love the movie, you’ll like the comic. If you loved the comic, you’ll buy a life-size cutout of Chris Evans dressed as Captain America.
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