The next Essential review will be Essential Tomb
of Dracula Vol. 2
, which should be ready in two
or three weeks.

General Information

Title: Essential Captain America Vol. 1

Credited to: Stan Lee and Jack Kirby

Original Publication Date: 2001 reprint of material
first published
from 1964-1968. (There’s also a bonus story from the
1940s.)

ISBN: 0-7851-0740-1

Cover Price: $14.95 US, $21.95 Can

Buy from: Amazon.com
or Amazon.ca

Past comic reviews can be found here.

Premise

A man turned into the world’s greatest soldier during
World War II
survives unaged into the 1960s, and learns that most
of his old
enemies have survived as well.

This collection reprints the Captain America portions
(and covers) for
Tales of Suspence #59-99, as well as Captain America
#100-102. There
is also a short bonus feature from Captain America
Comics #10,
published during World War II when Marvel was still
known as Timely
Comics.

High Point

The collaborations between Cap and Nick Fury.

Low Point

Cap constantly says that he feels out of place in this
time, but it’s
written like lip service. They could have really
exploited the “fish
out of water” aspect of his character to make him more
human and
interesting.

The Scores

This wasn’t original in very many ways; they
tried to restore
a WWII icon, and even wrote stories in the WWII
setting. There’s
nothing here that’s really new to Essential fans,
apart from making
enemies out of evil Nazis instead of evil communists.
I give it 2 out
of 6.

The artwork is well done. Kirby can tell the
story in the
panels very well, even if the odd proportion seems a
bit off. (They
rarely are, though.) I give it 5 out of 6.

The stories are the prime of 1960s cheese,
with a larger
than life hero standing against impossible odds. I
give it 3 out of
6.



The characterization is the most annoying
part of the
stories. I can accept the era cheese, but they have a
lot of
potential to talk about the impact of leaving the
world in the middle
of a war, and returning to a world where plastics and
microelectronics
are starting to rewrite the way people live their
lives. There was a
lot of untapped wealth addressed only by a comment
along the lines of
“I don’t belong in this world” every five or six
issues, with nothing
concrete around the character to back them up. It’s
really
frustrating. The character isn’t really allowed to be
anything but
the greatest soldier America has every known. I give
it 2 out of 6.

The emotional response wasn’t bad. The
action is well done
action; I just wish there was more time devoted to
Steve Rogers trying
to assimilate into the world around him. I give it 3
out of 6.

The flow is very well done. We’ve got
serialized story with
Jack Kirby art to hold it together. I give it 6 out
of 6.

Overall, it’s a decent collection, but it
could have been a
lot more. They had a chance for the character depth
and introspection
that Frank Miller was using when he showed people what
comics could
be, and they missed that chance. I give it 3 out of
6.

In total, Essential Captain America Vol. 1
receives 22 out of 42.