Graphic Novel Review: Marvel Platinum: The Definitive Captain America

(Panini �15.99)

IN the darkest days of World War Two, prior to the Japanese sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, frail military wannabe Steve Rogers volunteered for an experimental procedure focused on creating America’s first battalion of super soldiers…

But an attack by a Nazi saboteur kills the genius scientist behind the programme, and leaves Rogers as the only beneficiary of the process. Garbed in a uniform based on Old Glory, and equipped with a nigh-on invulnerable shield, he is catapulted into the midst of the global conflict as the sentinel of liberty, Captain America.

But after years spent fighting the Nazis both alongside his partner Bucky Barnes and as a member of super-team The Invaders, Rogers is accidentally frozen in suspended animation while attempting to defuse a deadly missile, with Bucky apparently killed in the subsequent explosion.

Decades pass, and society moves on. Then the block of ice containing the inert Captain is accidentally discovered by the newly formed Avengers, and Rogers is revived into a world far removed from the one he left behind. Recognising there are still challenges and threats to the American way of life, he resolves to continue his fight in the present day…

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The latest in Panini’s acclaimed series of Marvel Platinum titles, collecting some of the finest stories from different character’s histories, offers a first-rate smorgasboard of Captain America tales ranging from his debut adventure in 1941 through to his exploits in the contemporary Marvel Universe.

Highlights include issues from John Byrne’s 1980s run, which saw the return of WWII vampire Baron Blood and his nemesis Union Jack, and the shocking assassination of Steve Rogers in 2007.

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The book also includes the last major work by comics legend Gene Colan, who died earlier this year, with an atmospheric tale from Cap and Bucky’s exploits in WWII pitting the duo against a hoard of vampires.

Recent years have seen Cap revitalised as one of the stalwarts of the Marvel Universe, a keen strategist with an incredible combat prowess, and this collection proves why he’s still throwing his shield 70 years after his first comics appearance.

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