You’d figure that something as serious as handing off the legacy of Captain America, actually replacing a living legend, one of the few Marvel super heroes would follow into battle without question, would be something of a serious occasion, right?
You’d be wrong, at least this time. Once the early drama is out of the way — it’s not a spoiler to tell you that Sam Wilson lives, for reasons that I shouldn’t need to explain — the rest of the drama in this final issue of Captain America, Steve Rogers edition boils down to whether or not Jet Black is going to believe her dear dad, Arnim Zola, or side with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. Fingers are pointed, accusations are made, but unfortunately, Ian Rogers doesn’t get to hit anyone in the face with that cool mace thingy of his.
The remainder of the pages are filled with the actual transition from Rogers to Wilson, which involves a lot of jokes. Not all of them are funny, but that’s kind of the point in some cases. If your exposure to Rick Remender has come mostly in Uncanny Avengers, for instance, it’s going to come as a little bit of a surprise how deftly he handles a rare happy moment for the Avengers and friends.
Eventually, Sam does appear in his new threads (complete with a blatant but amusing knock on the fourth wall), and the shield is passed. Oh, and there’s an epilogue that very much sets up the direction of All-New Captain America, which debuts in November. In other words, a lot of this issue was housekeeping, but it wasn’t completely without entertainment value.
For more, you’ll have to be wary of …
SPOILERS PAST THIS POINT!
Oh no, Sam Wilson is dead! He gave his all to the very end, sacrificing his life so that others may …
That’s right, we already know Sam isn’t dead, in this case because he asked Tony Stark to build him a set of vibranium wings which were able to absorb most of the blast from Zola’s bomb. Speaking of Zola, he tries to convince Jet that her true place is by his side, but she returns to the heroes, happy to learn that Sam is alright.
The happy ending lasts for about five seconds, at which point Sharon Carter accuses her of spying on Steve on the behalf of Zola. Rogers doesn’t want to believe it, but suggests that she turn herself into custody until she has the chance to clear her name. That doesn’t go over well, and she decides to accept her daddy’s offer after all. Oh well.
One week later, all of the Avengers gather at Avengers Mansion, where Steve and Sharon reveal they’ll be serving as mission operators and running logistics from behind the scenes, using the Mansion as a base. Many jokes are told, including one about the Vision having gas that turns Spider-Man incredulous. Eventually, Sam comes out in his own version of the Captain America costume, musing …
But wait, there’s more! The epilogue takes us to Castle Hydra, where the bad guys scheme as bad guys do, but the important part is that there’s a mole inside the Avengers, someone the team would never suspect. Want to know who it is? Better buy Sam’s book, because these ladies and gentlemen have plans for him.
Favorite moment: Steve Rogers attempts to tell a joke. Crickets ….
Final thought: Yes, it’s a little bit of a stunt, at least the way it’s timed to coincide with the other Avengers NOW! happenings. And yes, this is hardly the first time Steve has passed off the shield. But I’m anxious to read Sam’s adventures, and I’m glad Remender is writing them, at least to start.