The never-ending quest to find his way back home has numbed Steve Rogers, but it hasn’t broken him though the thought to end it all with a self-inflicted wound is tempting. Captain America #2 follows with the themes Rick Remender put into place in issue #1 — even when physics and nature are against him, Captain America keeps standing up. But Rogers isn’t alone. Ian, the boy Rogers rescued from Zola’s lab, has grown, and Rogers wills himself to keep fighting to save the lad.
That means braving unknown territory, fighting hostile creatures that could attack at any minute, and maintaining an aggressive approach to getting home without stable cursors to guide them in the right direction. The goal is there, but the journey towards it feels like a ride in a hamster wheel. Another flashback to a defining moment in Captain America’s childhood further develops the reasoning behind Rogers’ persistent personality even in the face of daunting challenges.
There’s very little dialogue in this issue — most of the text is from Rogers’ thoughts — and the result is a introspective re-examination of a well-known character. It’s like readers are being reintroduced to Captain America who is being stripped down to his essence. Without any weapon but his shield and whatever he picks up, things are much more treacherous with no technology or cheat code to save the day. Blood, sweat, and tears are all the First Avenger has in his disposal.
John Romita Jr.’s art in the second issue uses lines to good effect in Rogers’ hagardly face. Romita’s figures are blocky and hard edged, but they work in the setting because, out in the desert, things are rock, sand, and sky. Rogers’ journey through this particular mission is a chiseling one that will further define him as a warrior of heart, and the end of the issue leaves readers with a cliffhanger.
Though it’s strange that Marvel’s direction for the new Captain America series is to place him in a world without America, there is something about Captain America’s ideals and personality that become more exposed through his hard work and diligence. The world Zola rules is bleak and barren. A perfect canvas for the colors to bleed through.