I’ve been a fan of Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale as a creative partnership for a very long time, all the way back to their underrated and nearly forgotten DC CHALLENGERS OF THE UNKNOWN miniseries of 1991. Any time these two get together for something, you know you’re in for something special, as their various SPIDER-MAN, DAREDEVIL and HULK miniseries for Marvel can attest. While these books aren’t all perfect, the voice that emerges from Loeb and Sale’s collaboration is such a unique one that the prospect of anything new from the duo is much anticipated around these parts.
Their newest project, CAPTAIN AMERICA: WHITE (the color subtitle being a thematic tool they’ve used for all their Marvel work) has been long delayed, with only a “Zero” preview issue emerging a few years back. Now, finally, issue #1 has arrived, and it doesn’t disappoint. Just from the double-page splash on page 2 showing Cap waking up on the Avengers’ submarine after decades in the ice, I knew this was going to be something special.
Appropriately, this series looks to be mostly set in the Golden Age of Cap’s WW II service, which I think best fits Loeb and Sale’s classic sensibilities. As Cap adjusts to his sudden emergence in the modern day, he thinks back to his wartime exploits, and the shift in the colors (courtesy of colorist Dave Stewart) is just short of breathtaking.
While the story is just beginning to coalesce, it’s looking like Loeb has found an interesting throughline to his tale, and one that hasn’t really been explored before: the relationship between Captain America and Bucky and then-Sgt. Nick Fury and his Howling Commandos. How would the battle-hardened soldiers feel about these “super-types” suddenly outranking them and overshadowing them on missions, and what would get them to change their minds about them? It’s too early to tell if that’s going to be the thrust of the series, but the taste of that we get here is very intriguing stuff.
Also included in this debut issue is the aforementioned zero issue, helpfully reprinted since it has been eight years since it first hit the stands. A smart move, too, as this story, telling the tale of how the teenaged Bucky came to be Captain America’s partner in the first place, is necessary background for a relationship that’s going to be so important in this series. More than that, it’s just a great done-in-one Cap and Bucky story.
Now let’s just hope it’s not another eight years before we get issue #2…