[Ed. note--some SPOILERS below, although pretty mild unless you've really been out of the Cap loop for the last two years.]
Writer Ed Brubaker really knows how to stretch out a story.
His propensity to tell long yarns is evident in comics like Daredevil — where he dangles plots and character beats over the course of several storylines — but it’s on full display in the pages of Captain America.
Cap, under Brubaker’s guiding hand, has essentially consisted of one adventure that’s taken four years to tell. The comic seems like a throwback book in this day of six-part arcs created for the express purpose of later publishing a trade paperback.
For avid readers, Brubaker’s approach is the ultimate form of serialized fiction. He gives an audience the necessary time and space to really know, understand and care about the characters — good guys and bad guys. For casual readers, however, this approach can lead to stories that seem to move too slowly.
But in Brubaker’s defense, Captain America is not “padded” in the least (like the old Bill Jemas days). Each issue serves up significant character moments, contains elements that keep the story going and offers enough nuggets to satisfy dedicated members of the audience.
On top of that, when I read Cap I get the feeling that we’re going somewhere — that we’re not on some endless ride leading to a dead end (so, no crap like a third Summer’s brother or anything like that).
The first sign of forward progression in the pages of Captain America was the reintroduction of Bucky Barnes. That was a BIG deal. The second sign was the murder of Steve Rogers. That was also a BIG deal — made even bigger because the guy has remained a corpse for a few years. The third sign was the introduction of the new Captain America (aka Bucky). Now, judging from some new ads I’ve seen in the pages of Marvel books, it looks like another chapter in this ongoing saga MAY be coming to a close.
And knowing Brubaker, that ending will undoubtedly lead to a new beginning.