Marvel then… Marvel NOW! #1: A guide to Captain America

As an avid Marvel Comics reader, I became really confused as to what Marvel is doing with the announcement of “Marvel NOW!” Is it a reboot? Are they creating a brand new alternate universe to coincide with Ultimate and the 616 universe? With all the research I’ve done, I am here to guide you Marvel readers as to what Marvel NOW! is. So ladies and gentlemen, on with the guide.

First off, what you need to know is that Marvel NOW! is not Marvel’s version of DC’s New 52. It is not a revamp or a reboot like DC’s new 52 is. Marvel NOW! will continue on with the canon of the 616 universe, as no characters’ history will be changed and previous events are still intact. So what is this all about? It’s all about a creative shakeup, that’s all it really is. Marvel writers and artists are shuffling around, moving on to different projects. Come October these new creative teams are ready to put their own stamp on Marvel’s heroes. We’re talking about new character designs, new takes on heroes, and new ways to read your comics. This relaunch is Marvel’s way of attracting new readers and at the same time keeping old readers as canon is still intact. Without further ado, let us introduce you to the new creative team for Marvel’s Sentinel of Liberty: Captain America.

Back in early August, Marvel released a teaser revealing the new creative team behind everyone’s favorite super-soldier, Captain America. It was revealed that Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Venom) and artist John Romita Jr. would be taking the reigns from Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting this November. Remender will have a tall task in his hands as he takes over of Captain America from Ed Brubaker this November. Brubaker’s spy novel take on Captain America has been praised by many as being Cap’s best stories to date. He has given us the Winter Soldier story arc, The Death of Captain America, and Captain America: Reborn. When asked how can he follow such an acclaimed run, he tells “…by not grabbing from the same influence box.” A very fitting response. Remender says that his upcoming take on Captain America will be influenced by Jack Kirby’s sci-fi run during the 70’s. As he tells, “I’m drawing more from the Jack Kirby era [of the 1970’s]. The beginning of the Arnim Zola stuff and the Mad Bomb stuff and that very sort of wildly imaginative sci-fi era that Kirby had leaned into is kind of where I’m going with it. It’s almost like ‘Kirby Sci-Fi Indiana Jones.’ High adventure dipped in sci-fi spy fantasy with heavy focus on the man under the suit.”

New Creative Team: Writer: Rick Remender (Uncanny X-Force, Venom) / Artist: John Romita Jr.

For the first 10-issue story arc, titled Dimension Z, Remender is focusing on the “man under the suit” part in the first half of the arc. As he tells iFanboy, “…half of it is going to be a lot of flashbacks to a young Steve Rogers growing up in Depression-era Lower East Side, and getting to know his family and his friends, and how this 98-pound weakling became such a tenacious, strong person; focus on the fiber and the integrity of who he is, and really develop that for the first time.” For those who have seen Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, think of this as the beginning scene of Crusade where it focuses on a young Indiana Jones and how he got most of his characteristics (Note: I know this is more akin to Year One but as I was writing this I was watching Last Crusade). The second half of Dimension Z will start to establish Arnim Zola as the primary antagonist for the Sentinel of Liberty. “I’m trying to take Zola and do with him, what we did with Apocalypse over in Uncanny X-Force. Where we take what’s there, re-imagine it, build a new mythology and really expand Zola, and try and build Zola into a very, very big and important character.” This will definitely play into the sci-fi concept that Remender is going for.

For those of you unfamiliar with Arnim Zola, he is a scientific genius who specializes in both genetics and cloning. His most famous characteristic is his character design. He constructed a specially modified body which shows a hologram of Arnim’s head on his chest. Those of you who have seen The First Avenger, Arnim Zola was Red Skull’s lead scientist and “second-in-command” in the movie.

Ladies and Gentlemen… Arnim Zola (from Captain America #42)

Along with the establishment of Arnim Zola, Dimension Z will also introduce Captain America to a new villain: Green Skull. Yes, Green Skull. He won’t be a secondary villain in this story arc, but you will be able to get a first taste of the Green Skull. Remender describes him as “…someone who believes that humanity is the cause of all problems on earth and he wants to turn humanity into soil for plants. He’s got a chemical agent that can do that. We open with Cap dealing with sort of the classic 007/Indiana Jones cold open where he’s dealing with trying to stop that.” Okay, forget what would happen if Deadpool and Harley Quinn had kids. I want to know what would happen if Green Skull and Poison Ivy have kids. Swamp Thing must be GREEN with envy. Huh? Huh? Get it..? Green… Green with… oh nevermind.

Anyways be sure to expect character design changes to come about with the Marvel relaunch. This means Captain America will undergo a costume change as well. Jerome Opena (a recurring Remender artist) has drawn what seems like a prototype for John Romita Jr. to expand upon. As Remender puts it, “The new design that Jerome cooked up is super, super-strong but John has streamlined it a bit to fit his style. Maybe he’ll have a few different suits for a few different occasions. Given that he’s a soldier, as long as the suit is iconic and recognizable as what it is, he’s realizing that it’s a new world and he’s stepping up to that. I think when you see Johnny’s Cap, you’ll fall in love with it. It’s pretty sleek, clean version of the new design. Be open to a little change.”

As for Cap’s famous shield, don’t expect him to use it every time he wants to save himself. Remender has said that they are playing around with the idea of Captain America using 007-style gadgets in addition to his shield. “I’ve been reading all of the old Kirby and Lee stuff and Nick Fury used to give him 007-style stuff all the time. At some point that fell away and Tom Brevoort and I have been talking about it and we really like it. I like the idea that he has pouches of gizmos and things other than saying ‘I’ll figure it out with the shield!’ We’re experimenting with that as well.”

Now you have all the essential information you’ll need about the Marvel NOW! Captain America. If you want to get a sample of Remender’s writing before you pick up Captain America, I highly recommend Uncanny X-Force: Dark Angel Saga. This story arc is nothing but wall-to-wall action, violence, drama, and romance, and it will bring you on a roller coaster ride that you won’t forget. I bought the both trades and I never put it down. Trust me you won’t be disappointed.

Ed Brubaker and Steve Epting’s final issue, Captain America #19, will be released October 24th. Rick Remender and John Romita Jr.’s Captain America #1 will be in comic book stores and Marvel’s comic app this November.

Next up in Marvel then… Marvel NOW! #2, I will be talking about Kieron Gillen and Greg Land’s take on a personal favorite of mine: Invincible Iron Man.

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Mark Pacis
Mark Pacis 1542 posts

Self-proclaimed "Human IMDb" and comic book geek. Biggest Iron Man fan you'll probably ever meet.