Mark Waid presses forward with his final CAPTAIN AMERICA arc, “Promised Land.” CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 begins what promises to be a very different kind of Captain America story. Cap has been adventuring through America and fighting for the freedom of a decrepit dystopian future. Now, we get a story that’s not entirely about him.

That’s right. CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 only features flashbacks of Steve Rogers. The main story focuses on Jack Rogers, a descendant of Steve’s, and takes place in the future. It’s never specified how far into the future, but I would assume it’s pretty far, because there are flying cars and super clean and shiny architecture.

Though the CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 is new and unique, it still manages to believably connect itself to Captain America. It tells a story of intrigue; it’s almost like a detective/spy thriller. It certainly won’t be for everyone, but it’s a concrete story, through and through. Not to mention, there’s some fantastic art to go along with it, thanks to the talent of artists Leonardo Romero, Adam Hughes, and J.G. Jones.

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CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 Takes Us to the Future

CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 opens with a scene of Cap and Bucky back in WWII. A vile of Erskine’s super soldier serum fell into Nazi hands, and Steve and Bucky have to get it back. They face off against Warrior Woman and stop the baddies from getting the serum. It’s a succinct moment, but fun nonetheless.

This moment is being revisited by Jack Rogers. He’s showing this previous battle to his son, also named Steve, as a sort of bedtime story. Too bad young Steve hates these stories. He finds Captain America to be boring. Apparently, the school system of the future doesn’t teach history very well, so a lot of people don’t have a great image of Captain America.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 page 7. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

A big part of the future in CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 is that the serum that once made Captain America a super soldier is now used by just about everyone. It won’t turn you into a superhero, but it essentially allows for a greater longevity of life and helps to bring about greater prosperity.

The problem is that young Steve’s body won’t accept the formula. He’s dying. Jack, having lots of connections and little patience, wants answers. Since he comes from a prestigious bloodline, he tries to have the President declassify the records on the formula. That doesn’t go over well. This leads Jack to snooping around the office of General Pursur, a sketchy man, to say the least.

After another brief Captain America flashback, Jack decides to handle things his own way. And, of course, with all great societies, things aren’t as great as they appear. I don’t want to give away a big secret, so I’ll leave it at that.

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Keeping Things Simple, Yet Intriguing

Overall, the story of CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 is fairly tame. It moves at a steady pace, but not a lot actually happens. It introduces readers to an interesting, futuristic world, holds your attention with immediacy with the drama, and features some fun flashbacks. There are serious implications moving forward, and things aren’t looking good for Jack Rogers. It’ll be interesting to see where things go from here.

What’s more interesting, though, is this new world Waid has set up. We’ve seen plenty of future Marvel Universes before (at this rate, it’s a mystery as to which one will actually come to pass). Waid does a great job of making this one stand out. It’s not so much the aesthetic as it is the details of how people live.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 page 10. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Jack Rogers places a lot of emphasis on the fact that the ideals of Captain America have become more universally shared, but at the same time, a lot of people have come to think of Steve Rogers as nothing more than a resource of war. This is a fascinating dichotomy. It’s pleasantly unique, especially when you think of all the different lights in which you can examine Captain America. Is he truly a staunch hero, or nothing more than a soldier?

To go right along with this great world building are some fun espionage elements. Though everything seems great, the way things are run at the highest levels is off-putting. This, of course, leads to the dramatic ending of CAPTAIN AMERICA #701. It doesn’t leave you with unanswered questions as to what’s going on, but it should definitely leave you anticipating the next chapter. It’s a classic “protagonist gets pulled into some dramatic, world-changing shit” kind of story, and it’s handled very well.

New Yet Familiar Artwork

CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 features artwork from several different artists. The work of Leonardo Romero takes center stage, as he draws the pages featuring Jack Rogers in the future. Adam Hughes depicts the initial flashback of this issue, and J.G. Jones handles the second flashback. Together, these three artists deliver a great issue, visually.

Leonardo Romero has a style very akin to Chris Samnee. The similarities in their styles are both good and bad. On the one hand, you kind of get more of the same. That’s fine for me, because I love Chris Samnee’s style, so Romero’s style is right up my alley. On the other hand, not all readers may enjoy that style. You might find more of the same to be redundant or repetitive. Like I said earlier, this issue isn’t for everyone.

Adam Hughes’ section is very expressive and lively. This is really the only action sequence of the issue, and it’s drawn and paced very well. I love the way he draws Cap; the helmeted look really stands out. J.G. Jones’ section is full of color. It takes me back to the pages of Bryan Hitch. The image of Cap standing in his costume ready to pound some Hydra thugs into the dust is perfect.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 page 16. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

I’m usually not a fan of books featuring multiple artists; I prefer consistency over a wider range of art styles. CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 handles the use of its three art styles very well, though. It feels like each of these sections were written by Waid with the specific artists in mind. So, good job on that front.

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The Future is Looking Grim

The revelations at the end of CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 leave Jack Rogers in a very difficult position. Like I said earlier, it’s one of those situations where the protagonist gets very in over their head. It plays into those elements of intrigue and espionage very well. It will likely leave you quite interested to see where the story goes next.

Waid does a great job of setting up this new world for the reader. It’s unique, but not overly outlandish. Nothing about this future is confusing; you always have an idea of what’s going on and how the world operates. The ways in which Captain America is perceived are by far the most interesting bit about this future. I want more of that moving forward. I also hope to see more of Captain America himself, of course.

Thanks to the talents of Romero, Hughes, and Jones, CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 definitely shines artistically. There’s a great blend of both old and new visual styles in this issue. It goes a long way to help you stay interested in the story.

As I mentioned earlier, CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 won’t please all palettes. It’s a very particular kind of story. It’s filled with more drama than action, but I appreciate that coming from Mark Waid. There’s a lot here to enjoy, and I think readers should at least give it a shot. This is promising to be a one-of-a-kind type of Captain America story.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 by Mark Waid, Leonardo Romero, Adam Hughes, and J.G. Jones
Though CAPTAIN AMERICA #701 may not be for everyone, there's a lot here to hold your interest. The story of Jack Rogers is definitely worth checking out. And if you don't want to check out the story, then at least check out the art.
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A Fascinating Future

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