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Captain America - Ed Brubaker

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Author: Ed Brubaker / Format: Paperback / Date of publication: 26 December 2012 / Genre: Superheroes / Publisher: Marvel Comics / Title: Captain America / ISBN 13: 9780785157113 / ISBN 10: 0785157113 / Alternative title: Civil War: Captain America - Ed Brubaker / Alternative ISBN 10: 0785127984

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      09.05.2012 17:47
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      The only graphic novel my son and I both despise.

      I noticed there was an empty category to review this book before I bought it. I was hoping of course that someone had already reviewed it, but sadly no one had. Very sadly because a review might have saved me from purchasing this. I have waited months before reviewing this myself. I keep feeling that perhaps I am being unfair to this book - maybe I am just missing something but, looking thorough it again, I still don't get it, and I'm afraid this ranks as the worst graphic novel I have bought. I do prefer to review items I like, but perhaps I will save whoever reads this from making the same mistake I did.

      I bought this book because my son asked for a Captain America Book. He had never seen a film or cartoon with the character, or read a book with him in it, and based this desire solely on Captain America's shield - so perhaps not the best of reasons to choose a book. The fact that this was meant to have Iron Man as well was an added bonus, and he did like the cover art. Finally the book was cheap by graphic novel standards at right around £6.

      Captain America - Civil War is part of a fairly large series in which the Marvel superheroes battle amongst themselves over a government imposed "Super-human Registration Act". The government has declared that all superheroes must register and reveal their secret identities. When some refuse America wages war on it's own heroes, using those who have registered to force the compliance - or eliminate those who refuse. Captain America is on the side of those who refuse to register, and as such is hunted by his own government.

      According to Amazon this book combines the comics Captain America #22-24. There is also a separate comic, the Winter Soldier at the end of this. In all honesty, I haven't quite figured out if this ties into the rest of the book or is a completely separate story. There are also several other books that make up the Marvel Civil War story, and in retrospect, I really made a mistake jumping in with this one. I think this book would make sense had I read the others, starting with 'Civil War Front Line Book 1 ', which combines issues 1 -6 of the comics. By starting with what would have been the 22nd comic, I came in right in the middle of a long and complicated series, and had no idea whatsoever what was going on.

      This book begins with a romantic reunion between the cap and Sharon. I haven't a clue who she is, but it's obvious they have a history - unfortunatley she works for SHEILD and is on the wrong side of the registration issue. The story jumps around quite a lot from there, and for most of it, I can not figure out what is going on at all, but Red skull is involved and Hydra is as well. There is a small fight scene between the Cap and hydra, and this was the highlight of the book for my son. I'm afraid there really wasn't a highlight for me, other than the end.

      This book was purchased for my son, age 7, and I am aware he is well under the target age for this book. He has however, loved every other graphic novel and comic he has laid eyes on, but he has suggested I sell this on ebay, or if I can't sell it, just bin it. For a boy who truly treasures his books, this is a very strong condemnation. He tends to be a messy child, as I think most boys are, but is graphic novels are never touched with dirty hands, and always very carefully returned to their place in his bookshelf after reading. He has even banned me from having a cup of tea beside them while reviewing them. I do think I will eventually sell it. This hasn't put him off Captain America though, and he did at least find another book which he enjoys much more, and I expect he'll take even more interest with the new Avenger's movie out.

      As for myself, I didn't enjoy this any more than my son. The artwork is fairly good. It is very dark and grey, but that seems to suit the mood of the story. I am certain I would have a better idea of what was going if I had read the other books, but I still don't think I would find this really interesting. I believe the author is trying to make some rather grand political statements, but they are lost on me. At any rate, I don't mind a comic making a few political statements, but I feel it's primary purpose is to be entertaining, and this one is as much fun as watching paint dry. I have really enjoyed most of my son's graphic novels. In fact I stayed up last night after both children fell asleep to finish Green Lantern on my own ( of course I'll finish it again tonight for the boys), but I did not enjoy this one at all.

      I did consider giving this book 2 stars, as the artwork is decent. But it isn't spectacular, and without a passable story it just isn't worth much. My son insists that on a scale of 1 -5 this book should get nought. He feels one star is unfair and doesn't quite understand that we have to give it at least one because dooyoo does not have an option for zero.

      In all fairness though, I must point out that the vast majority of reviews for this on Amazon are far higher, and perhaps it would be more enjoyable if read in the correct order in the series. If you have already the books which include the previous 21 episodes and liked them - I doubt my review will put you off anyway. But if you have not read the rest of this series, by all means do not start with this one.

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