Captain America: White is the forth series from the amazing Loeb and Sale creative team but does the team still have the magic touch?
A few weeks back I talked about how Marvel and DC were about to launch two new series with close ties to other critically acclaimed title, with DC launching the third arc in the Dark Knight Returns storyline. This week Marvel released Captain America: White, a weighty first issue from the brilliant Jeph Loeb and Tim Sale. Loeb and Sale have worked together a lot, each securing themselves as legends of the comic book industry, but they are perhaps most recognised for their work with Marvel on Daredevil: Yellow, Spider-Man: Blue and Hulk: Grey. In each of the previous story arcs Jeph Loeb worked hard to drill to the very heart of the characters. With a less complicated character such as Captain America, I feared that there would not be enough layers for Loeb to work with.
In Captain America: White Issue One Jeph Loeb starts by musing on the confusion in the first few moments when Captain America emerged from the ice after being frozen for decades. From there we get to the main gospel of the piece which concerns Bucky and his relationship with Steve. This relationship forms the core of the story as Steve tries to deal with the guilt of his best friends death. Loeb works hard to really pin down what the relationship means for both heroes as we see how Steve views it as an almost father-son dynamic while Bucky views them more as equals. These different views of the friend’s relationships change the level of responsibility Steve had for Bucky and so it becomes something the piece aims to examine and confront. The issue ends on a cliff hanger as we begin to see how protective Steve is over Bucky.
Unfortunately, while I am a fan of Loeb’s scripting for Captain America: White the art style is incredibly problematic. Tim Sale has always had a very clean cut, block colour style that serves well to lend clarity to Loeb’s deep character studies. In Captain America: White, Sale begins to favour a more murky style, that could serve to show how dirty and gritty the world war’s were but instead just makes a lot of the scenes feel far too busy. That being said, Sale is still an industry giant for a reason and at several points he perfectly delivers a panel that compliments Loeb’s writing and will give any reader chills. It’s more of a matter of consistency and unfortunately in Captain America: White that consistency is lacking.
So does Captain America: White Issue One continue on from it’s proud legacy successfully? Well, a little bit of yes, a little bit of no and mostly too soon to tell. If you have read any of the other Tim Sale-Jeph Loeb joint projects then it really is worth your time. However, if your not a huge comic book fan I would either wait for more reviews on the later issues or maybe hold off until the trade paperback hits the shelves next year. You can purchase Captain America: White Issue One from Forbidden Planet for around £3.20 which is a little expensive for a single issue however Captain America: White contains an extra prequel story and an interview with the creators that makes the entire piece pretty good value for money.