The “Promised Land” arc continues in CAPTAIN AMERICA #702. In the 24th century, Steve Rogers’ descendant, Jack Rogers, has uncovered a conspiracy. The Kree are turning humans into sleeper agents, likely in an attempt to destroy America from the inside out. Now, on the run, Jack must look to the past to save the future.

That’s the basic gist of CAPTAIN AMERICA #702. It may sound a bit cheesy, but you shouldn’t worry about that.  The setting and plot of this issue are creative and fresh; it’s a corny idea handled in a unique way. Writer Mark Waid and artists Leonardo Romero, Rod Reis, and Howard Chaykin put together a chaotic, yet cohesive tale. They add more to this futuristic world they’ve created, and further intensify the conflict at hand.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 does a good job of making the “Promised Land” arc more accessible to readers. The storytelling is faster, and the world just continues to grow. Jack Rogers is starting to come into his own as a character, and the flashbacks featuring Cap provide an excellent thematic backdrop. Thus, “Promised Land” is really starting to shape up as a true Captain America story.

Telling a New Story in CAPTAIN AMERICA #701

That’s One Hefty Conspiracy

As we learned at the end of CAPTAIN AMERICA #701, the peace between humanity and the Kree is a ruse. The Kree are using the super soldier serum to turn members of the human race into their own sleeper agents. As we’ve learned from many other Captain America stories (the MCU’s WINTER SOLDIER, for example), sleeper agents are no laughing matter. Of course, Jack has been labeled a fugitive, and is now on the run.

Jack makes his way to a place known as the Way Back. It’s sort of a historian’s guild meeting spot. Basically, it’s where smart, enlightened people of the future go when they need to have a drink, enjoy the company of other intelligent people, or have to get something off their chest. That’s convenient for Jack because what’s said in the Way Back stays in the Way Back.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #702
CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 page 7. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Here, Jack is able to explain his situation to some friends. However, he starts doubting himself, believing he may have been “time diving.” That’s when historians delve too deeply into the past.

Details such as this are delivered clearly and succinctly so that you understand what’s going on and the story keeps moving. Speaking of time diving, a fellow historian named Old Vic, who lost himself quite a long time ago, shows Jack that Captain America isn’t actually dead. Before Jack can really comprehend all of what Vic shows him, peacekeepers break into the place, and Jack’s path leads to CAPTAIN AMERICA #702’s conclusion. I’ll let you read the issue yourself to see what happens.

Establishing a Theme in CAPTAIN AMERICA #702

The pacing of CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 is excellent. It does a great job of getting you inside Jack’s head in his moment of crisis while keeping the story moving and filling you in on the details of the world. Jack is frantic and uncertain; the pages rarely stay in one place for too long, except the Way Back.

Over the course of the main story, though, we get more flashbacks featuring Steve Rogers. Like I mentioned before, these flashbacks of CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 provide the “Promised Land” arc with an enticing thematic flair.

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It’s sort of the same theme Mark Waid has been working with throughout his CAPTAIN AMERICA run. Essentially, the flashbacks help to establish the themes of fighting for what you believe in, and never giving up.

The first flashback takes place during WWII. We see a determined Agent Carter trying to save Captain America, who’s been badly injured. The second flashback features Steve tangling with the Red Skull in what is likely the present day. This flashback is what clues Jack in that Steve might not actually be dead like many people believed.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #702
CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 page 10. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Though the flashbacks are brief, they come with a nice heft to them. Applying their messages to Jack’s story is simple; it gives it more of an emotional kick. Jack is already a fairly likable character. He wants to do what’s right and save his son. But, when he starts gazing into the past, he seems to further understand the ideals of his lineage. This helps him grow as a character.

Overall, CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 does a great job of balancing its various parts. It all kind of comes neatly together as a subtle call to arms.

A Colorful Artistic Palette

As with CAPTAIN AMERICA #701, CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 features another group of talented artists. Leonardo Romero returns to cover the bulk of the pages, drawing Jack’s story. Rod Reis and Howard Chaykin cover the flashback sequences.

Of course, Romero delivers a bevy of fantastic pages. His art is simple and to the point, which helps to match the quick pacing of Waid’s storytelling. I’m a big fan of the Way Back’s design. It’s set up like a library, or like someplace you’d probably expect historians and intellectual people to gather. Maybe not for a drink or to shoot the shit, but nevertheless, it’s a very fitting setting.

I’ve been a big fan of Reis since I saw his pages in SECRET EMPIRE. If you’re a fan of dark, gritty pages, then I’m sure you’ll like his pages in CAPTAIN AMERICA #702. His flashback sequence takes place in a sewer tunnel, so as you’d expect, it’s pretty dark. But this sequence is the intro to the issue, so it’s a good starting point. It sets the tone for the rest of the issue, and it definitely fits.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #702
CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 page 5. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Chaykin’s style is a huge departure from the rest of the issue. His pages are much brighter than most of the others. They’re expressive and fun, featuring the majority of the action. Something about the way he draws Cap and Red Skull, though, is a little off-putting. It matches the aesthetic of his style, but I can’t really get behind it.

Nevertheless, this combination of artists absolutely succeeds in making CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 a fantastic issue to look at.

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What Comes Next for Jack?

By the end of CAPTAIN AMERICA #702, Jack is left in an odd place. He has a powerful, triumphant moment, but is also left with something possibly even worse than a Kree conspiracy. It’s tough to say whether this is a win or a loss for him. Things just keep picking up, and it doesn’t seem like they’ll be slowing down anytime soon for Jack.

Frankly, I’ve grown to really enjoy the “Promised Land” arc. Waid and the artistic team(s) have done a great job of establishing this futuristic world. They’ve filled it with an impressive amount of detail and an intriguing story; I can’t help but want more.

As I mentioned in my review for CAPTAIN AMERICA #701, the story may still not be for everyone, but CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 goes a long way to fix that problem. This issue is much more accessible than the last. I should hope so, at least. It’s definitely worth checking out, regardless.

Whatever comes next will have a huge impact on things moving forward for Jack Rogers. I’m eager to see where Waid takes us as we head into his final two issues of CAPTAIN AMERICA.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 by Mark Waid, Leonardo Romero, Rod Reis, and Howard Chaykin
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Characterization
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Summary
CAPTAIN AMERICA #702 definitely improves upon what was started in #701. The story feels more accessible now, and the world just keeps growing more and more entertaining.
87 %
History Rules!

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