Posted by: Graeme McMillan on April 26, 2007
FALLEN SON: THE DEATH OF CAPTAIN AMERICA #2: So, the other day Hibbs and I were talking about the fact that it already feels like the death of Captain America is yesterday’s news. It’s not just that the news cycle has, unsurprisingly, moved on from something that happened, what, a month ago now? But there’s also a sense that, as a fan, I’m feeling kind of washed out with the whole storyline already. Which, considering that Captain America #26 – you know, the issue immediately following Cap’s death with his autopsy and everything – doesn’t ship for another month or so, really can’t be considered a good sign.
It’s not Brubaker’s fault, of course; Ed wrote the issues without knowing that there was going to be such a reaction to the storyline, but also – and more importantly for the purposes of what I’m about to talk about – without knowing that there was going to be a five-part miniseries about the Marvel Universe reacting to the news slotted in between the issues, and that that miniseries would see its frequency shift from weekly to, apparently, every third week for some strange reason (Was it meant to become bi-weekly and then it missed a week or something…?), further pushing his intended-to-be-immediate-follow-up back and back again. But it just feels like a really bad decision on Marvel’s part to have delayed Cap #26 this long. Captain America #25 came out seven weeks ago, already; never mind that readers are going to be bored shitless hearing about how dead Captain America is by the time that the following issue finally comes out, any and all new readers who may have been tempted to pick up the next issue and find out what happens in part two of the story – That is, if they haven’t thought that part 2 was maybe in Civil War: The Confession, or perhaps Fallen Son #1 – will probably have either forgotten about it considering that they were tempted three months earlier or have given up waiting for the damn thing to actually appear.
It’s sad, but not surprising that the desire to milk the event for all its worth is probably going to end up hitting the original book hardest in the long run. Don’t get me wrong, I’m sure that Cap #26 will have a higher readership than, say, Cap #24. But it’ll definitely have a much lower one than it would’ve had it have appeared four weeks after Cap #25 and without six different tie-in books in between.
All of which is a long lead in to saying, Fallen Son #2? It’s Okay. Jeph Loeb is much more comfortable with the set-up here, which mirrors both his parallel storytelling style of Superman/Batman and the classic Marvel set-up of superheroes dealing with big issues by doing mundane things. His dialogue still has the odd tics of the first issue, but filtered through a fairly passable Bendis impression, which was a welcome surprise. Ed McGuinness’s art, meanwhile, continues to be an inflatable acquired taste, but it’s one that I acquired years ago, and it’s nice to see him cutting loose on superhero-on-big-monster action. It’s nowhere near as bad as the first issue, perhaps because it’s so much more of an old-school superhero book, and “anger” is a much easier concept to process in superhero terms than “denial” – but there’s absolutely nothing about this book that says “You know what you need? Another three issues of this before the larger story can move forward.”