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Captain America No. 34

Published by Marvel Comics. Plot and script by Ed Brubaker. Pencils by Steve Epting. Inks by Butch Guice.

The Deal: Captain America is still dead, so this issue, Marvel -- at long last -- reveals the new Captain America. Who is the guy behind the mask? (SPOILER ALERT) If you've been keeping up with this comic even casually, it should comes as no surprise that the new Cap is the recently revived Bucky Barnes (aka the Winter Soldier).

The Good: I'm quite happy with the unveiling of the new Cap. Recent articles in the comic press have hinted that the new Cap would be someone else other than Bucky, and that would have been just plain stupid. Bucky adopting the Cap persona is an organic evolution of a very good storyline that has been building since this comic's first issue. To have someone else take up the mantle would have gone over like a cheap gimmick.

I love the fact that Brubaker doesn't present Bucky as an exact replica of the late Steve Rogers. Thanks to the super soldier formula, Steve was damn near superhuman, and he had no problem jumping headlong into a horde of bad guys and beating them to a standstill without breaking a sweat. Bucky, on the other hand, is -- aside from one super-strong cybernetic arm -- quite human and has been trained to fight more covertly. As a result, the new Cap carries a gun as well as the classic shield -- and he has no problem busting caps in the asses of bad guys. The art, by Epting and Guice, is as solid as ever; it's nice to see art teams like this turn in consistently good work every month.

The Bad: I still haven't made up my mind about the new Cap's costume. It's shiny.

The Verdict: Buy this and bag it. It's a keeper.

Reviewed materials furnished by Heroes Aren't Hard To Find: www.heroesonline.com.

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