Marvel Masterworks: Captain America, Vol. 2
Pros: Some really good action segments and better stories
Cons: Writing issues and some inconsistency
Captain America is prepared to perform one last security check around Avengers Mansion before going to bed. He begins to feel dizzy and soon passes out. He later wakes up and comes upon the ending of a battle, and one of the combatants is an exact replica of him. He captures the man or creature hoping to later find some answers. -summary
Captain America had still been sharing the Tales of Suspense title with Iron Man at this point, and it was no surprise to see that a strong case was made for him to have his own series in which he later got in the form of Captain America #100. These stories were great for their time I’m sure and many of them hold up well even now; at the same time they do suffer from some sloppy writing once in awhile and it seemed as if Stan Lee simply wanted to get these arcs out of the way, and focus on the books his heart were clearly into more; such as The Amazing Spider-Man, The Fantastic Four, and The Incredible Hulk. This TPB collects Tales of Suspense issues 82 – 99, and Captain America 100.
There are plenty of story arcs that take place and conclude with some nice surprises here and there, to include a villain Captain America saw perish in their last encounter. Things kick off with a pretty good fight against the Super Adaptoid, whom copies the powers of various superheroes to take a deadly fight to Cap. Then Captain America continues his feud with Hydra, which lands him in one of Marvel’s greatest slugfest of all time against Batroc the Leaper; and believe me people, this is some top notch action here.
Captain America encounters the Red Skull again, meets the Black Panther for the first time, and battles A.I.M.’s new and deadly leader M.O.D.O.K which is short for Mechanized Organism Designed Only for Killing. He also works with S.H.I.E.L.D. to help take down various organizations and put an end to terrorist plots. The adventure never really seems to end.
It’s true that the action and intrigue are the stories main selling points. However, Cap’s character development is put under the spotlight as he actually gets frustrated with his sense of duty and wants a normal life. Although he has the Avengers to keep him company, he still feels the need of having a woman and things take a dramatic turn when he falls in love with Agent 13; but Stan Lee handles this pretty much the same as all his heroes at this point, and for some reason I find his handling of Cap and Agent 13 among the least interesting. The stories also have their bit of obvious filler, some weird writing at times, inconsistency, and the deus ex machine plays too heavy of a role to the point of outright silliness. I get that this is a comic book, but Stan Lee’s more imaginative style of writing ran deeper in other titles.
Jack Sparling, Jack Kirby, and Gil Kane are at work with the pencils. Each of the artists capture Captain America’s graceful footwork and hand to hand skill, but Kirby simply owns with his hard hitting action-fests. The battle with Batroc was brutal and way ahead of its time; the energy and determination embodied everything a comic fan would want to see in a good guy vs. bad guy fight. I would rate this higher than Spider-Man vs. Scorpion in The Amazing Spider-Man #20, and that fight was sick as well. An action fan will indeed feel their money was well spent.
This is a solid collection overall and definitely better than the last volume to me. The action was a huge step up and for me the stories were more fun to read. However, I would still recommend volume 1 along with this book; but for those whom may be a in a situation where they have to choose between the two, then definitely get this one for the memorable action.