Ever since the release of 1941's Captain America Comics #1 by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby -- Captain America has been synonymous with superheroes, Marvel Comics and patriotism. Now, both Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson wield the iconic shield. Both Captain Americas will be appearing in their own solo series coming soon from Marvel, so to help fans prepare for the cavalcade of Captains, writers Tochi Onyebuchi, Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly teamed up with artist Mattia de Iulis to present Captain America #0, a fun but forgettable issue.
Captain America #0 begins when Cap's old enemy Arnim Zola unleashes Havoc in New York City. He launches a rocket that could have cause cataclysmic damage to the Earth after entering the atmosphere. Luckily, Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson arrive to save the day and put a stop to Zola's nefarious plans. But Zola has plenty of tricks up his sleeves and the two Captain Americas have to work together to have any hope of surviving the ordeal, not to mention saving the day.
Onyebuchi, Lanzing and Kelly throw the audience into the middle of things in Captain America #0. Zola unveils his dastardly plan on the very first page, and the action continues to escalate from there. This unrelenting fast pace capitalizes on readers' familiarity with the main characters and skips over any exposition to dive head-first into the excitement. As fun as their approach is, this issue feels like a missed opportunity. Rather than telling a complete, stand-alone story or setting the stage for their two upcoming series -- the three authors have created a fairly low-stakes, lengthy action sequence that is difficult to invest in beyond the surface level excitement.
Iulis does a wonderful job bringing life and energy to this action-packed issue. His realistic style helps to underscore the cinematic nature of Captain America #0. Each moment with the two Captain Americas feels iconic, but not overwrought. His excellent page designs use large panels and two-page spreads to communicate the intimidating size of Zola's nefarious machines and to celebrate the bold, fearless heroes as they fly into battle. There are a few scenes that would seem unbelievable or two over-the-top even by comic book standards, but Iulis draws them with such attention to detail, that the audience is forced to suspend their disbelief to enjoy wild moments, like Rogers and Wilson riding Cap's shield through the air as they plummet from an astounding height.
Captain America #0 feels simultaneously aimless and over-ambitious. In an attempt to become an epic moment in the history of two Captain Americas, it unintentionally boils itself down to a fairly run-of-the-mill action sequence. That being said, the writing team provides enough humor and energy to make it a fun, engaging read. And, Iulis's artwork is absolutely stunning. Fans looking for a solid adventure to tide them over until the release of both new Captain America series will definitely be entertained.