Today, the 600th issue of Captain America hits stores in an unprecedented early release, to coincide with press breaking about the mysterious Reborn series. As reviews hit the internet, we have to ask: Can it really be this disappointing? Spoilers!
A fairly in-depth review points at the possibility that, well, the original Captain America didn't exactly "die" in the first place. There's talk of the gun that delivered the fatal shot not being "a normal gun," and villains mumbling to themselves that most people "don't know what happened" when Steve Rogers was shot. Add to that the appearance of a character from an alternate Earth and traditional Cap villain the Red Skull monologing as if Cap is still alive, and it's beginning to look as if there was less a traditional death than some kind of disappearance to another world. The story, of course, is far from over - in fact, it's trailed as continuing in Reborn, the series that Marvel has previously been very reticent in offering details about until now.
For a series as realistic - as realistic as you can be in a world full of superheroes, at least - as Captain America, retconning the death of your main character with magic guns and alternate worlds is a very risky move that may just alienate fans, no matter how well it's done. Considering the mainstream publicity that Marvel got from killing Cap a few years ago, bringing him back in such an outlandish fashion could easily backfire and ruin the critical reputation of a series that has continually received great reviews for its believable plots and characterization. Of course, those reviews are in response to a series that has already shown villains' personalities jump bodies with the use of "cosmic cubes", and former WWII soldiers turned into brainwashed cyborg assassins, so all bets may be off...
For what it's worth, we're hoping that this is some kind of swerve, and that Reborn will have more than a few tricks up its sleeve in order to deserve the push that Marvel is apparently planning to put behind it. If nothing else, we're hoping to be convinced that Steve Rogers deserves to come back to life — and, presumably, the Captain America uniform and identity — at all. We're pretty taken with Bucky's Cap, thanks very much.