Apparently, last issue’s anti-climactic battle that finished with Arnim Zola’s death wasn’t the end of Zola after all.
With Zola’s battlestation still heading towards Earth, the stakes are raised when Princess Jet Black, overcome by grief, fights to keep her father’s dream alive while Captain America and Sharon Carter give chase.
The plot thickens when Zola returns — bigger, better, faster, and stronger — and Jet Black’s decision to do the right thing is confirmed when father turns his destructive gaze, on his child.
Sharon makes the ultimate sacrifice by taking the battle to Zola and detonating the explosives on the battlestation, leaving Jet Black and the Captain to ride the destructive blast out of Dimension Z. Once the portal closes, Princess Jet Black and Captain America find themselves “stranded” on Earth with the Captain feeling inconsolable.
It’s the kind of ending that will satisfy readers who wanted an epic showdown. The revelation that a few seconds on Earth translates to years in Dimension Z explains the time disparity between the Captain and Carter who entered the portal minutes apart but found each other years later.
It’s a bittersweet finale for a torturous journey that has aged Captain America and left him broken. Though he succeeded in keeping Zola’s plan from achieving its goal, the loss of Ian and Sharon back in Dimension Z have an ironic effect in creating a need to return to the place he’s fought to escape.
The issue closes with an epilogue that proves all is not for naught. In Dimension Z, the fight between the Phrox and Mutates turns into a fight to ensure peace, and a lone warrior takes a stand to guide his people in the revolution.
The conclusion that Ian is still alive shows there’s hope that the Captain may once again meet his son, and the lessons learned are lessons being applied.
It will be interesting to see how Princess Jet Black is used in future story arcs and how she adapts to life on Earth. Writer Rick Remender has set up plot points that could introduce healing and/or conflict into future Captain America stories, and one wonders how this will affect the Marvel Universe, if at all.
In terms of visual storytelling, John Romita Jr.’s pencils excel by capturing the chaos and scope of big battle. Seeing super-giant Zola coming from the battlestation looks epic and frightening, and panels don’t lack for drama and excitement. On the Sharon front, there are some issues with her body shape — blocky, even for Romita art, in one and distorted in others. It’s a bit inconsistent, but overall, the art is wonderful this issue.
What makes the art even better are Dean White and Rachelle Rosenberg’s colors. Dimension Z has been a muddy purple world, and there are some complex blends this issue as the fight shifts from planetside to the air near the battlestations rocket boosters. The explosion of the battlestation is a burst of bright yellows and oranges that feels like a release from the drab hues of a suffering dimension.
Rounding out the art team are Klaus Janson, Tom Palmer, and Scott Hanna on inks. There’s nothing to complain about here — the bevy of inkers proves they’re more than capable of handling an issue.
Captain America #10 completes a story arc filled with suffering, ups and downs, and loss. It’s likely Captain America will rise to the challenge and fight through his emotional turmoil, and that could be a story in itself. Will Steve try to return to Dimension Z? Will Ian make it to Earth? What will Princess Jet Black do as a commoner? It’s a compliment to the creative team that these questions exist, and it’s a bigger credit to the team knowing readers will want to find out the answers.
Captain America #10 (2012)
Words: Rick Remender
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Klaus Janson, Tom Palmer, and Scott Hanna
Colors: Dean White and Rachelle Rosenberg
Letters: Joe Caramagna