Captain America #701 / Writer: Mark Waid / Artists: Leonardo Romero with Adam Hughes & J.G. Jones / Color Artists: Matthew Wilson with Adam Hughes & Paul Mounts / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna / Cover Art: Michael Cho / Graphic Designer: Carlos Lao / Publisher: Marvel / May 2, 2018
What will the future look like in ten years? A hundred years? As a kid, I contemplated whether elements of The Jetsons would come true in my lifetime. Would I have an automated shower/closet combo? A robot maid? A flying car that folded into a briefcase? Despite this future filled with archaic gender roles and patriarchal stereotypes (yes, I was the child who wondered about that) I dreamt of what the real future might hold. Captain America #701 took us to the future in the engaging new Promised Land story, and asked the question: what does the future look like for the great-great-great grandchild of Captain America? (I’m going to need a look at that Cap family tree because I have questions.) Mark Waid and Leonardo Romero transported us to a whole new world, flying cars included, while also digging under the shiny perfect-world facade to get to the truth before it’s too late.
Captain America #701 delivered everything a StarkExpo would have promised about the future. Technology in this future was used for the good of all. We saw the American Dream fulfilled in a way that inspired others, even worlds away. Old diseases are eradicated. People lived healthy, peaceful lives. It’s everything Captain America would have wanted. Early on in Captain America #701 we met our protagonist, the great-great grandson of Steve Rogers, a (handsomely bearded) nationally-prominent historian, and single father, Jack Rogers. We also met his son, Steve, a very normal boy thoroughly unimpressed by the legendary deeds of his namesake. Strangely, in a world where nearly all disease has been eradicated young Steve remained quite ill. That confounded his father, his doctors, everyone. The story really kicked off when Jack goes in search of information needed to save his son. Of course, as he dug, he uncovered the disturbing truth under the facade of their perfect society. The deeper he dug, the more he risked his life.
One of the coolest things about this story was a new piece of technology called Timelenses. There were a few clues to their origin which grabbed my attention immediately and sent me to the internet searching for more. The device itself looked like a high tech monocle. The wearer can project a moment in history for others to see. The wearer can also see into the past, projecting flashbacks of what occurred decades and decades ago. As a history major myself, tech like that would be amazing. Jack used his Timelens to tell Steve the great tales about his great-great-great grandfather. It was also responsible for getting Jack into some pretty hot water, during his search for Steve’s cure. I loved that the writers took an exciting new piece of technology and elevated it’s value in a way that moved the plot forward.
I also loved the idea that in the future, our history can be projected for all to see, in the first person perspective. What I found curious was the abrupt change in how the flashbacks were drawn and colored. In the flashbacks, the artistic style broke from the rest of the issue. I wonder, if flashbacks continue in this short storyline, will readers see a different artistic style for each? Does the Timelens alter how the characters saw the moment or just the reader? With two very distinct styles in two very different flashbacks, I am left to wait for Captain America #702 to find out.
Captain America #701 opened with a flashback that saw Captain America battling it out in a war-zone. I loved seeing him do what he does best, kicking ass and giving sass. A nice bonus was when we get young Bucky as well, which brought a fun, youthful energy. Night battles made for strong art thanks to the natural contrast between the pitch black of night, and the fiery orange and yellow of explosions. By mixing up the angles, the reader saw the fight from both the ground and air, which slowly rose the energy and anticipation to new heights as the fight progressed.
That said, I found myself distracted by Warrior Woman’s lack of practical tactical gear. In the middle of legitimately badass fight scenes, my attention got hijacked by gratuitous T&A. I’m stoked to see Cap throw a gut punch on a Nazi, but I’m not sure I needed to see her breasts nearly fall out, or her ass shoved up in my face. Rather than enjoy the fights, I spent time contemplating just how inconceivable it was for her breasts to stay behind that leather bustier when being hit that hard by Captain America.
As a reader, my flow through the book was upended a bit by how Warrior Woman was rendered on the page. Other readers may not notice, other readers may think I’m overreacting. Before you “yes, but” at me, I looked up Warrior Woman/Julia Koenig. Her costume in this issue was true to her first publication in 1977’s Invaders #16. However, I was hoping for new and improved, hoping for better, in 2018. All in all, the flashback functioned as a favorable opener to the storyline. My concern with how one particular women was drawn shouldn’t discourage potential readers from picking up what was a fun engaging first issue.
I absolutely loved the build up to the big reveal near the end of the issue. Romero and Wilson took that little piece of tech, Jack’s Timelens, and build pages of story, just on what that little lens can do. Images of data, pictures, facts, figures all float around in a spin of blue and white technospace. It reminded me very much of how Tony Stark would pull all his hologram/visuals up in the Ironman films. The big difference between the two was that Captain America #701 took us a good hundred years in the future, where someone’s always watching.
I was ready to take a break from Captain America until July when Coates takes over. The concept of Cap’s descendants in a story was too juicy to pass up though and I’m glad I chose to stay with it. Will these characters have any of Cap’s traits? His weaknesses? How have his old villains evolved with time? I kind of wish I had a Timelens of my own, to peek ahead to June’s issue so I could find out.
VERDICT: 4.5 Out Of 5
I’m a curious, creative, comic(al) woman. I am unapologetically Team Cap, but not HydraCap because there is a line in the moral sands of the universe and that whole thing is on the other side of it. I teach high school students all about the joys of mythology through comic books, graphic novels, and films. I wandered into the comic book world in 2015 and is a proud member of the #DoYouEvenComicBook gang.