*Obie, through his dabbling in arcane magiks mixed with ancient corrupt business practices, has had not just the colors of his fur switched, but a complete overhaul of his work ethic as well…I think I’m kinda okay with the mishap.
Not sure what “Comics Lust” is about? Take a look at the Introduction to “Comics Lust” post or take a look at the static “Comics Lust Table of Contents” page to jump to a topic.
Running the Maze: Ed Brubaker’s Captain America
A few entries ago, I mentioned Ed Brubaker’s fantastic Captain America run. It’s an enthralling, roller coaster of a ride spy thriller that would see the return of Bucky Barnes, the Winter Soldier, a character thought dead for many decades. After much praise back in the day, I decided to give good ol’ Cap a try; I had not read a Captain America comic since I was a kid. It rocked my world. I was more than happy to talk about Brubaker’s run, in fact, I was quite eager to dig in and tell you all about which books to read and in what order, but I hit a few snags: namely, renumberings, one-shots, miniseries, renumberings again, new series, and stuff I had never even known about. You absolutely do not want to miss out on the intrigues and thrills of the story or any of the fantastic artists who brought Brubaker’s words to life, not to mention Cap’s ”death,” his crucial stand-in, Steve Rogers’s rebirth, the villains, the introduction of the Winter Soldier, and most importantly all-around great, must-read comics. So, today, we are going to run the maze of Brubaker’s run from issues to trades to omnibus editions and try to make some sense of this convoluted, overly-corporate mess so you know where to start and where to end. Let’s hope I can make it through this with my sanity intact.
IssuesIt all started off simple enough unless you take into account that this is the “2005, Fifth Series”—meaning this is the fifth reboot/renumbering of Captain America—but with this new number one comes the official start of Brubaker’s run.
- Captain America #1–50 (Fifth Series) (Primarily illustrated by Steve Epting, published from Jan 2005–July 2009) pretty straightforward. All good. No sweat following along. This is the start of the “Fifth Series.”
- Captain America 65th Anniversary Special #1 (Illustrated by Eric Wight, published May 2006) And thus came unto us the first special/one-shot issue. Hey, at least it was an extra-long 48 pages.
- Winter Soldier: Winter Kills #1 (Illustrated by Lee Weeks, published Feb 2007) Yes, another one-shot, but dang if this is not getting freakin’ good!
- Captain America #600–615, 615.1, 616–619 (Some co-writing by Sean McKeever, primarily illustrated by Butch Guice, published Aug 2009–Aug 2011) Okay, here we go: renumbering to classic “First Series” numbering, with a 615.1 issue released as a jumping on point. Okay, fine. This is still part of the “Fifth Series.”
- Captain America: Reborn #1–6 (Illustrated by Bryan Hitch and Butch Guice, published Sep 2009–Mar 2010) Let’s add some extra difficulty into the mix by offering this miniseries one month after the renumbering to issue #600 and having it run concurrent to the main series. Kind of like tie-in issues during big “Event” comic runs.
- Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? #1 (Illustrated by Butch Guice and Luke Ross, published Mar 2010) Let me get this straight: it’s March 2010, you’re already buying the renumbered Cap book with #602 dropping this month, you’re about to finish off the Reborn mini with issue #6, and now you’re also getting WWWtS. A triple-ship month. I’m not even certain which came out when during the month, but best be certain you read them all in order!
- Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1–4 (illustrated by Dave Eaglesham, published Sep 2010–Dec 2010) Somehow I missed this one, which is easy to do as it came out during Captain America #608–611.
- Captain America & Bucky #620–628 (Illustrated by Chris Samnee, Francesco Francavilla, and others, published Sep 2011–May 2012) Okay, I didn’t even know this had happened and I need to get a hold of it…preferably in a nice, nifty collection, but if your grandpappy saw this on the shelf, he might be wonderin’ about the other 619 Captain America & Bucky issues that are floating around out there, which actually do not exist.
- Captain America #1–19 (Sixth Series) (Some issues co-written by Cullen Bunn; illustrated by Steve McNiven, Patrick Zircher, Alan Davis, Scott Eaton, and others; published Sep 2011–Dec 2012) Let me try to understand this: Brubaker writes 50 issues of Cap, then the numbers switch to being in the 600s, then the title changes to Captain America & Bucky while retaining the numbering scheme in the 600s, then this new series comes along that is also titled Captain America that starts over with issue number one and also has an artist named Steve. Toss in a bunch of specials and mini-series, and any Brubaker fan should be able to follow. No sweat? No way. Best loosen up by listening to some Pink Floyd “Dark Side of the Moon” before going down this road to madness.
- Winter Soldier #1–14 (primarily illustrated by Butch Guice, published Apr 2012–Mar 2013) I am ashamed to say I have not read these issues...something I fully intend to remedy. That said, this one released alongside Captain America & Bucky for a few months of kinda-sorta double shipping.
Not only do you have all of this, but you have some “events” getting involved with Fear Itself #7.1: Captain America, then “House of M” touched down in 2005’s Captain America #10, followed by Civil War with Captain America #22–24,
Yeah, traversing the quagmire above seems an insurmountable task, but thankfully, there are some trades out there…provided you can find them. To start, I’m going to cut out the first eight trades and start with the “Ultimate Collections”:
- Captain America: Winter Soldier Ultimate Collection (Collects: Captain America 1–9, 11–14...dang, no issue 10 “House of M” for you. Oh, well)
- Captain America: Red Menace Ultimate Collection (Collects: Captain America #15–21 and Captain America 65th Anniversary Special)
- Captain America: The Death of Captain America Ultimate Collection (Collects: Captain America #22–42 and Winter Soldier: Winter Kills #1)
- Captain America: The Man With No Face (Collects: Captain America #43–48)
- Captain America: Road to Reborn (Collects: Captain America #49–50 and Captain America #600–601)
- Captain America: Reborn (Collects: Captain America: Reborn #1–6 and Captain America: Reborn - Prelude which was a digital offering and news to me)
- Captain America: Two Americas (Collects: Captain America #602–605 and Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield?)
- Captain America: No Escape (Collects: Captain America #606–610)
- Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier TPB (Collects: Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1–4)
- Captain America: The Trial of Captain America (Collects: Captain America #611–615, 615.1)
- Captain America: Prisoner of War (Collects: Captain America #616–619)
- Captain America and Bucky: The Life Story of Bucky Barnes (Collects: Captain America and Bucky #620–624)
- Captain America and Bucky: Old Wounds (Collects: Captain America and Bucky #625–628)
- Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier TPB (Collects: Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1–4) There is another, more expensive, collection called Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier TPB The Complete Collection that has a bunch of non-Brubaker annuals included in it that is more your style.
- Captain America TPB, Volumes 1–4 (Collects: Captain America #1–19…this is, of course, the “Sixth Series” and thank goodness there are numbers for the volumes!)
- Winter Soldier: The Complete Collection by Ed Brubaker (Collects: Winter Soldier #1–14 and Fear Itself #7.1: Captain America)
Okay, now. THAT’S a bit easier to digest. But if you want to make things even easier, then pick up the…
Denizens, if you got the coin and the means to track them down, then this is by far the easiest route to go to get the whole kit and kaboodle.
- Captain America Omnibus Volume 1 (Collects: Captain America 1–25, Captain America 65th Anniversary Special, and Winter Soldier: Winter Kills #1) I have this one. Love it!
- Captain America Omnibus Volume 2: The Death of Captain America (Collects: Captain America #25–42) Looks like you get issue #25 twice!!! Weird, but straightforward. The simplest omnibus of them all.
- Captain America Omnibus Volume 3: Captain America Lives! (Collects: Captain America 43–50, Captain America #600–601 and Captain America: Reborn #1–6) Okay, things are getting wiggy, but you got them all in one place now.
- Captain America Omnibus Volume 4: The Trial of Captain America (Collects: Captain America: Who Will Wield the Shield? #1, Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1–4, Captain America #602–615, 615.1, 616–619, and Captain America (Sixth Series) #1–10…) Holy guacamole, this is getting complicated as heck!
- Captain America Omnibus Volume 5: Return of the Winter Soldier (Collects: Captain America and Bucky #620–628, Fear Itself #7.1: Captain America, Captain America #11–19, and Winter Soldier #1–14) Man, this one is pretty mixed up, too!
After following the breadcrumbs and retracing my steps in the snow, I was finally able to make it through this grand labyrinth of Overlook Hotel proportions. It makes me wonder…wouldn’t it all be much easier for both current (at the time), new, and future readers if Marvel had put out two series and two limited series and cut out the single issues, renumberings, and miniseries? Like, put out Captain America #1–100 (or whatever), Winter Soldier #1–19, Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #1–4, and Captain America and Bucky #1–9. Then you can roll Captain America: Reborn and all of the other stuff into the main series—double ship on some months, if you must—and clearly number all of the trades, labeling that they are all by Ed Brubaker. Sheesh. Anyways, I hope I don’t have to type the word “Captain America” again for a good long while, and I could sure use a drink. All work and no play makes Donist a dull boy. Until next time.