Captain America #600 Review: From Past, to Present, and the Future

With Marvel's official announcement that their Reborn miniseries would focus on the return of Steve Rogers, Captain America #600 received a special Monday release to help promote the news surrounding the return of this iconic hero after a two year absence following his "death" at the hands of brainwashed girlfriend Sharon Carter on the steps of a courthouse in Captain America #25. As this issue unfolds though, more and more of the events of that day are peeled back, and fascinating elements revealed! The team of superstar artists and writers, such as Paul Dini, Alex Ross, Ed Brubaker, Mark Waid, David Aja and many more compile a multi-angled account of Cap's life and accomplishments, with the focal point being a memorial vigil to commemorate the one-year, in "comic book time", anniversary of the assassination of Steve Rogers. One of the early, compelling pieces of this issue comes in Sharon Carter's vignette, as she makes an interesting discovery about the gun used to kill Steve on that fateful day. The realization that this is not a "normal" gun, as she puts it, drives her to find Sam Wilson, The Falcon, at that night's vigil to try and convince him as to how they can still "save" Steve! The comfort she finds in that discovery will certainly be a springboard of the events of Reborn. Not to be outdone, Norman Osborn and the Dark Avengers show up at the vigil, espousing their support for Captain America and his legacy, despite having previously announced that the vigil would not be conducted, angrily upsetting members of the Avengers who are present, such as Jessica Drew and Luke Cage. Even James "Bucky" Barnes, the man who currently wears the red, white and blue in honor of his mentor, is in attendance, having to be absent for so many of the other events surrounding Steve over the past year. While the actual vigil is not shown, the accompanying pieces and origin story, first seen in Captain America: Red, White and Blue, illustrated in the beginning by Alex Ross, help to pay proper honor to this fallen symbol. Several other narratives are equally interesting, especially from the perspectives of long-time adversary The Red Skull and Cap's former girlfriend Bernie Rosenthal showing the ends of the vast spectrum of Steve's life in and out of costume. In another particularly effective piece called "The Persistence of Memorabilia", remainders and artifacts from Steve Rogers' life are put on auction, but the commercialization of his life and death are tempered by the good memories and intentions of those who buy pieces, especially the buyer of Cap's original Avengers membership card. The unspoken expressions of solace and peace from those who buy the items, such as a soldier who served with Cap in WWII buying a photo of them together, add a very humanizing element to this story, that quickly reminds readers what his real worth was. There's also a, in my opinion too brief, look at Isaiah Bradley, the African-American Captain America from the second wave of super-soldier experiments. Even though this piece deals more with Isaiah's grandson, the Young Avenger Patriot, more attention could be paid to this part of the Captain America legend. A nice reprint of one of Captain America's early adventures, "Red Skull's Deadly Revenge" appears, and new and old readers can benefit from seeing one of Marvel's earliest heroes in his Golden Age glory. A piece by Joe Simon, former editor of Timely Comics and collaborator with Jack Kirby, has great insight about the design and early quirks behind making and drawing Captain America. Captain America is one of this nation's most iconic comic books, and it's no wonder that Steve Rogers has so much to do with that. He embodied the hopes, aspirations and courage of Americans of every stripe for much of his career, and the immense attention given this this issue and the first issue of Reborn that will hit July 1st, is a testament to the power he carries as that symbol of America.