CAPTAIN AMERICA'S GREATEST VILLAIN -- CAPTAIN AMERICA?!
This hardcover from Marvel Comics collects the Ultimate Captain America mini-series from the Ultimate Marvel Comics Universe. It's written by Jason Aaron and drawn by Ron Garney, and it isn't your average Captain America story.
When Steve Rogers encounters a super soldier by the name of Frank Simpson he discovers that Simpson was the Captain America from the Vietnam War that was kept under wraps by the U.S. Government. During the war Simpson went rogue and switched sides -- the news of which was enough to send Rogers into a frenzy. As the two of them face-off against each other, Simpson tries to destroy Rogers' dedication and ideals to America and convince him how horrible it really is. The story really is a great way to show how the same process could affect a man completely differently depending on the situation and grounds under which a war is fought. But the real difference comes in the shape and form of Ultimate Steve Rogers, who is vastly different than his original 616 (Marvel Universe) counterpart.
Ultimate Comics Steve Rogers is very devoted to his role as Captain America as well as religion. In fact he spends a great deal of time praying while trapped in a cell, which is something you would never find the 616 Cap doing. He's also much more brash and pig-headed. more of a machismo that you'd expect someone in the real world to be if they had become a walking flag of superhuman strength and power. He's not without emotion, and he still cares about helping people, but he's definitely a more frayed-edge version of Cap and Rogers. He's not over being a man out of time, and he shows it in the way he handles people and situations. I don't hate Ultimate Captain America, in fact I think he's a very interesting character, but he isn't the Cap who I would want to hang out with. I'd still be more than willing to team up with him and take on some baddies though, as he's one to throw his weight around in the name of justice. I do like his costume and designs a bit better as well.
The writing and artwork in this collection were both outstanding. The bulk of the story revolved around ideals clashing instead of guns and shields. When there was action it was welcomed, but the story didn't revolve around it. The background and origins of Frank Simpson were very well executed and made me want more stories with Vietnam's Cap. I do hope that they use the character more down the road in the Ultimate Marvel Universe.
If you're a Captain America fan and you're looking for a much different take on the character, or perhaps more of a Steve Rogers that resembles Jack Bauer from 24, then this is the book for you. Otherwise it's just a plain fun read.