Jack Rogers’ troubles just keep getting worse in CAPTAIN AMERICA #703. Not only does he have the government hounding him as a fugitive, but now, he’s got the Red Skull to deal with, too. Although, that might not be such a bad thing.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 continues the “Promised Land” arc in a very interesting way. Usually, the presence of the Red Skull in a Captain America book is a bad omen. This time around, though, writer Mark Waid has shaken things up a bit and turned the infamous villain into something of an ally for Jack Rogers. But, will this crazy idea be enough to save the “Promised Land” arc from its own fatigue?

With the help of the Red Skull, Jack Rogers will blow the whole Kree Conspiracy wide open. Mark Waid is joined by artists Leonardo Romero, Alan Davis, and Mark Farmer to bring us the penultimate chapter of this futuristic Captain America tale.

Looking to the Past in CAPTAIN AMERICA #702

CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 Embraces the Villain

CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 picks up right where #702 left off. Jack Rogers comes face to face with a nightmare. It’s what he calls “evil incarnate.” The Red Skull has been freed, and he’s still got the power of the cosmic cube. At first, this comes as a stroke of horrible luck for Jack, but the historian manages to turn things around and persuade the Skull to help him.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #703
CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 page 5. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Jack informs the Red Skull of the conspiracy and how the Kree plan to take over the planet. Of course, Red Skull doesn’t want that, so he happily aids Jack in taking them down. With the power of the cosmic cube, Jack and the Skull are able to transmit General Pursur’s files detailing the Kree takeover.

This, of course, prompts the appropriate riots and slow downfall of the Kree on Earth. The Skull kills some Kree goons in RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK fashion (which is always nice), and Jack finds his son and figures out that young Steve is the key to fixing anyone infected with this Kree-sleeper-agent bug.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #703
CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 page 18. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Mixed in with the main story is a flashback sequence featuring Captain America. Radioactive Man and the Melter are interrogating him, as part of some evil plot of theirs. He tricks the witless villains into giving up their plans to bomb the U.N. Though things seem dour for Cap, Hawkeye, Scarlet Witch, and Quicksilver jump in to save him. It’s a nice little story that complements how Jack turns the tables on Red Skull.

A Mellow Buildup

As a whole, the story of CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 is fairly tame. It naturally progresses the arc and moves pretty quickly, which should keep the reader’s attention, but at this point, it’s starting to feel a little predictable. It’s pretty much all but certain that Jack will succeed in bringing down the Kree and somehow beat the Red Skull as well. Frankly, I’m not all that worried.

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That being said, CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 does a great job of continuing to enhance the character of Jack Rogers. This issue delves into his parentage a bit, talking about how he and his wife were very worried about having a child. But, as with most parents, once little Steve was born, he became Jack’s entire world.

Jack outwardly says he’s not a hero like Captain America. He openly pleads for the Red Skull to stop hurting him. This may seem cowardly, but at heart, this is Jack biding his time to think of a way to outwit the Skull. And he does. All of this is done to make sure Jack can save his son. That determination and drive to save his son set Jack apart as a strong character.

As great as Jack’s character development is, though, I’m not sure it entirely excuses the simplistic nature of the storytelling here. The story itself is a little cut and dry for my tastes. Regardless, CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 does serve its purpose in driving the story towards its conclusion. Hopefully, that conclusion will be worth the wait.

Looking Good (Mostly)

Luckily, artists Leonardo Romero, Alan Davis, and Mark Farmer are here to make sure everything looks good. As expected, the pages of CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 are great to look at. As usual, Romero’s art helps the story flawlessly transition from moment to moment. The whole face-melting thing is fairly graphic and drawn very well.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #703
CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 page 20. Courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

My only gripe about his style in this issue is how Red Skull looks. His head is too round, and his eyebrows are gigantic. I know Red Skull has always been a weird looking dude, but this iteration is sort of off-putting. Which makes sense, I guess. He is an off-putting character, after all. But, he could stand to look less awkward.

The pages by Davis and Farmer are very classical and look great. It feels like you’re reading an old-fashioned Avengers comic, especially when Cap’s teammates enter the scene. Normally, I’m not a fan of Scarlet Witch’s old headpiece, but for some reason, its goofy look in this issue is really fun to look at. Some of Cap’s expressions could have been toned down, but overall, this section really helps CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 stand out.

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Eager for a Conclusion

The “Promised Land” arc has done a great job at standing out as a unique Captain America story, but CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 is starting to show some of the fatigue of Mark Waid’s time on the series. As sentimental and strongly thematic as Waid’s storytelling has been, it’s feeling more and more like it’s time for something new.

That being said, this is still an arc worth reading. I appreciate Waid taking the time to tell this story, as it is genuinely creative and original. The character of Jack Rogers has really come into his own. I’d like to see him appear more in future Captain America issues. Maybe they could do something like what Jason Aaron does with showing us the “Far Future” in his Thor series.

Though there is a wonderful aesthetic to CAPTAIN AMERICA #703, some of the character portrayals slightly undermine that style. Thankfully that’s not enough to hold back the art, as a whole, from succeeding in this issue.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #704 will conclude the “Promised Land” arc, as well as Mark Waid’s time with the Star-Spangled Avenger. Here’s hoping everything turns out alright for Jack Rogers and his son.

CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 by Mark Waid, Leonardo Romero, Alan Davis, and Mark Farmer
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
CAPTAIN AMERICA #703 does a solid job of keeping you interested, but the series is showing some fatigue. You may walk away feeling like nothing substantial really happened in this issue.
83 %
Moderately Heroic
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