Essential Captain America Volume 1

September 12, 2011 | By More

Okay. I’m sorry. I didn’t go see Captain America in theaters. Wanted to, just never made it.

Now that I have that out of the way, let’s get on with the show. Before the film came out, I bought Captain America Essentials Volume 1. I wanted to do a little reading up on a hero I knew just enough to be dangerous about. Actually, I wanted to be prepared in case Mrs. Nerd asked questions.

For those not familiar with the Essentials series from Marvel, they are collect volumes of classic issues. They are in black and white and printed on non-glossy paper. You get the story and art without a lot of flash.

I’ve bought some of these before. I have 5 or 6 volumes of X-men. I also picked up Iron Man Vol. 1 between the films. I liked it so much, I picked up Volume 2.

This volume of Captain America covers Tales of Suspense 59-99 and Captain America 100-102. Which is kind of deceiving, since it appears Tales of Suspense became Captain America. The Tales of Suspense issues were half Captain America and half Iron Man. The Iron Man volumes I have also cover this mid 60’s time period, as well.

Part of the reason I got this volume was because I loved the Iron Man volumes. The early Tony Stark inventor stuff was brilliant. You could really see how new technology was influencing public perception back then.

All of which leads us to Captain America. I have to say it didn’t inspire me to read more.

Why you ask? Cap as portrayed in this volume is very one dimensional. Most of the stories revolve around Cap sitting around the Avengers Mansion waiting for something to happen. A bad guy breaks in, a fight ensues, Captain America wins. Fin.

I respect the concise story telling, but there is very little depth to the character. I actually think Red Skull has more depth in these issues. He’s brooding and plotting. Cap is just hanging out.

Of course, by hanging out, I mean flipping through photo albums, feeling bad for Bucky, and pining for Agent 13. There just isn’t a lot to like about him. Where Iron Man has his secret identity and health crisis, Cap just has nothing.

Of course, this bothers Cap so much he “retires” for two issues and announces to the world who he is. Once he resumes the mantle, he even rides in a police car with his hood down.

I’m not going to say it’s a bad read. It’s not. If you are looking for something of a vintage hero book to read, you will enjoy this. If you are looking for more depth about Captain America & Steve Rodgers, keep looking. It’s not here.


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