Steve Rogers: Super Solider #3
Can a 98 pound weakling stand up against the forces of evil? Well, that depends on that 98 pound weakling is, along with the reader’s ability to buy into what is happening through either suspension of disbelief, or acceptance that ingrained knowledge is enough to win the day.
What is the true Measure of a Man? Where does one begin to define this statement? Is a man measured in his physical strength? Is he measured in his intelligence? Is he measured in his deeds? Is he measured in his personality? Is he measured in his ability to be an asset to his community? Or is he measured by something else altogether or even yet, is he measured by a combination of things? This is a question that I feel was the central underlying theme in the story being told in Steve Rogers: Super Soldier #3, which puts its main character into a situation that gives us the answer as to how he is measured as man.
At first glance one might be asking why Steve Rogers is involved with this question, at all. It should be very easy to see what kind of man Steve Rogers is. He not only stepped up to fight World War II when his body wouldn’t enable him to do so, but even after that war was over, his adventures would inspire many others to be better people. His leadership and training would give the Marvel Universe that many more capable heroes. His courage would become the stuff of legend in the face of impossible odds. With those three things alone, it should quite easy to see what kind of man he is. However, for all of his gifts, what happens when you take away the very thing that allows him to become an army of one? Well, that’s a question that the creative team explores in this issue. How does the answer hold up in this reviewer’s eyes? It holds up extremely well, but he sees where people could have issues with it.
The story itself begins with Steve Rogers recalling what it was like to live in Depression Era New York City, in his state. Not surprisingly we learn that Steve Rogers dealt with not just helplessness, but with being the punching bag of kids who were exceptionally cruel due to the times they all lived in. From there we not only get to see a defiant Steve Rogers, but a very determined and resourceful Steve Rogers, who puts uses his skills to the utmost limit, and shows that he’s not only more than just the Shield and Cowl, he’s more that the process that made him the Super Soldier. As a written piece Brubaker gives us yet another winner, as the whole entire issue is a masterfully told character piece, which has become a defining trademark of Brubaker’s Superhero writing, a formula that’s adaptable enough to work almost anywhere, as shown in this comic.
The art itself is mostly good stuff, as Dale Eaglesham and Andy Troy work together really well to bring this story to life. The characters are well drawn, the colors are appropriate for the setting, and the depression era stuff really stands out, as the use of a dimmer color set helps to break up the action. It also helps that it the transitions between the 30’s and the present day are all done in a seemless manner. It’s not all positive though, as there is one place where the reviewer feels that the art does not hold up, and that’s with the drawing of Steve Rogers as a Vita-Ray deprived man. At some point Steve is drawn as how you would imagine him as a 98 pound-weaking, and at other points he is seemingly drawn with a lot more muscle, with little to explain it. It wouldn’t be so jarring of weakness, if it wasn’t connected with an issue that may break this book for some.
Now, no one should be surprised that Steve Rogers ends up besting his captives. Thugs in comics are hardly a serious threat, especially when you’re as skilled as him. However, some people are going to have problems with how he does it. Now, as someone who does have Black Belt in a Marital Art (only stopped due to monetary issues), I can see that someone who has trained with the ferocity and the dedication that Steve Rogers has to have enough physical strength and muscle memory for well aimed and timed moves that go for certain parts of the body that would disable his opponents long enough to think of his next move. (Not to mention that with that training, he wouldn’t be your standard 98 pound weakling,) However, I can see where someone wouldn’t buy this at face value, which would justifiably affect their enjoyment.
In spite of those issues, however, this is still a solid comic book, which is propped up by Brubaker’s narrative, and the stand-up work of Eaglesham and Troy. At the end of the day, this is another limited series being written for a trade pay-day, but it is still a solid read which will be enjoyed by Steve Rogers and Action fans alike.
Writing **** (8 out of 10): Brubaker knows how to tell a story, and it shows in this book. It is a great look for anyone who thinks that Steve is just a Serum that gives him big muscles. However, some aren’t going to like how the fight scene played out, which is completely understandable.
Art: ***1/4 (6.5 out of 10): A good effort by the art team pays off here. Despite some miscues with Steve, the art is still more than serviceable, and adds to the story that Brubaker is telling.
Accessibility: ***1/2 (7 out of 10): The recap provides you with what you need to know as far as the story goes if you haven’t been following, so you won’t be totally lost out there. Saving this score, immensely.
Final Judgment: ***3/4 (7.5 out of 10)