The Red Skull, imbued with the power of the Cosmic Cube, is waging a one-man war against the Kree armada. Jack Rogers is on the ground trying to gather information about the Kree and their use of the Super Soldier Serum. What he learns gives humanity an edge on the Kree, but is it enough? Even if they win, can they defeat an omnipotent Red Skull?
The last issue of Captain America succeeded in getting me fully invested in this story of Steve Rogers’ descendants, the Kree conspiracy, and the returned Red Skull. Unfortunately, that all crashes and burns in Captain America #704.
This book makes many missteps, and each one drives home a more disappointing idea of what the narrative thinks it should be versus what it could have been.
The book doesn’t go far before Jack Rogers commits torture followed by Earth unleashing brutal chemical warfare against the Kree Empire. If this makes you feel uncomfortable, Jack almost admits fault and knowledge that what he’s done is horrible. Then the book decides that’s a psyche and presents Jack’s actions as just the right thing to do to honor the legacy of Captain America.
Speaking of Captain America’s legacy, I wouldn’t say that Steve’s greatest lesson was “always being vigilant for threats to liberty.” The book ends its story with that implication, and that’s a paranoid and isolationist idea that is not what Captain America should be about.
Also, the Steve Rogers sequences were never explained.
Leonardo Romero is the sole artist on this issue, and he provides the stripped-down and classic art style which made Hawkeye’s last run so beautiful. It largely has the same effect here, but the Red Skull never looks quite right. His forehead looks too large, and it makes him look goofy in many panels. That aside, he, alongside Jordie Bellaire’s excellent color work, makes this a visually appealing issue.
Captain America #704 is a disappointing finale to this last story arc of Mark Waid’s stint on the title. Its resolution is both disconcerting and unsatisfying, and Jack Rogers turns from a beleaguered father to someone who is a little too ready to subscribe to borderline xenophobia. This one doesn’t earn a recommendation. Give it a pass.
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