GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS
GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1 by Nick Spencer, Paul Renaud, and Laura Martin
Art
Characterization
Plot
Summary
GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1 is an issue which takes time and care into developing its characters. Nick Spencer, Paul Renaud, and Laura Martin have truely made an incredible story uniting Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers. Overall, this was a terrific standout in the GENERATIONS anthology series that should make you excited for MARVEL LEGACY.
99 %
An American Treasure
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GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1 marks the final installment in the Marvel GENERATIONS anthology series, and what a finale it is! Nick Spencer delivers a terrific oversized issue that ties all the themes of generational legacy together. It’s truly a phenomenal story further improved by Paul Renaud and Laura Martin’s striking art.

GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1
GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1 page 9. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The Greatest Generation

Every issue in GENERATIONS has featured a “legacy character” traveling through time and meeting the person who held their mantle before them. In these comics, the modern character will only meet their counterpart for a small amount of time. After this, they instantly return to the present.

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While Sam Wilson also travels through time to meet a different iteration of Steve Rogers as Captain America, there’s one minor detail that distinguishes his journeys through time: he doesn’t instantly travel back to the present. After traveling back to 1930s New York, Sam Wilson lived his life just as any young African American would during those times. He’s faced with several trials of the era: whether to enlist in the army during World War II, whether to return home to pursue a fight against racism, and whether to make a stand and care for the impoverished. Effectively, he became a member of the “Greatest Generation.”

GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1
GENERATIONS THE AMERICAS #1 page 15. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

The interesting thing about Sam Wilson’s life in this comic is that, after a brief stint as the Falcon in World War II, he doesn’t put on a costume to fight injustice. Instead, he becomes a preacher and civil servant. He watches from the sidelines as the Avengers form, as heroes rise across New York, and as Steve Rogers breaks out of the ice in the modern day. It’s a nice way of showing that people like Sam Wilson don’t need to put on tights or a cape to be a hero. There are people on the sidelines who are a hero every day without being a national symbol. It truly shows Sam Wilson’s strength as a character and justifies why he’s worthy to wield Cap’s shield.

Becoming the Hero

It’s no secret that Steve Rogers has had a rough few years in the comics. In the last ten years he’s died, lost his super-soldier serum, and was even replaced by a Nazi. Now, the world needs the classic Captain America to return. Yet, will he be ready to become the hero we all need?

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The answer is that you can never prepare yourself to become a symbol of American values and heroics. GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1 shows a young Steve Rogers who questions his ability to inspire men during World War II. After meeting Sam Wilson on the field of battle, Steve gains the confidence needed to be Captain America. This doesn’t change the fact that Steve still feels nervous about representing his nation. He continues to struggle with the immense responsibility of being Captain America. Yet noticing Sam’s quiet strength and resilience, especially as a black man in the 1940s, Steve is given the strength to continue as Captain America.

This is a beautiful reversal, as traditionally Steve is the one who inspires Sam to become a hero. GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1 shows that the greatest mentor-student relationships involve a mentor learning from the student almost as much as the other way around. The most touching part of this comic, which managed to bring tears to my eyes, is when an older Sam Wilson reunites with Steve Rogers in the present day. The two men get the chance to sit down and share their mutual respect. They’re two best friends who helped each other become the best people they could be.

Art in GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1

I really enjoy how Paul Renaud and Laura Martin depict the different eras throughout this issue. In the earliest pages, Paul Renaud draws the classic 1930s New York in excellent detail. You can see how it’s still recovering from the depression with Laura Martin’s murkier grey and brown colors. Then there’s a shift once we get to the fighting in World War II. You feel the weight of the war as bright gunfire flashes down on our soldiers, who must fight in the dirt and among the barbed wire. Yet then there’s the bright image of Captain America standing up to lead the troops to victory. This is great because Renaud shows two different aspects of the war. One is the grittier, rougher reality of fighting as a soldier, which is contrasted by the patriotic splendor represented in Captain America.

GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1
GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS page 8. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

I also think this issue does a pretty great job visually dealing with the Civil Rights Movement. The comic is not primarily about Civil Rights but the comic would be foolish to skip over it. They show the sequences of police violence, marching in Selma, and the arrests of black protesters in muted lighting. This is a contrast to the later flamboyant pages which depict the Avengers assembling with vibrant colors. I think Paul Renaud and Laura Martin are trying to acknowledge that, while people read about their heroes battling sinister villains in flashy comics, there was a quieter but just as noble battle being waged on the homefront. I think Renaud and Martin’s art does a great job not only recognizing the history of our country but also acknowledging the history of Marvel as a company.

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Final Thoughts

GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1 is an absolutely wonderful comic. It manages to remind all fans of the important place Captain America holds in our country. He’s a symbol of both our past and the future we can have. This issue does a fantastic job making me hyped for MARVEL LEGACY. I want to see whether Steve can overcome his fears and restore his place as Marvel’s Sentinal of Liberty. Meanwhile, this comic also indicates that Sam Wilson will remain an important part of the Marvel Universe. Legacy characters like Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers can continue to work side by side in the pursuit of justice.

I think its important Marvel learns from these character-centered pieces in GENERATIONS. If MARVEL LEGACY is truly making an effort to return to what made readers fall in love with their heroes in the first place, then GENERATIONS: THE AMERICAS #1 marks the perfect beginning for a new era of outstanding, emotionally charged stories!

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