Secrets are revealed to Jack Rogers, historian, as “Promised Land” moves forward in 24th century New Washington. Jack is on the run and in search of allies, but can anybody help?
CAPTAIN AMERICA (2017) #702 “Promised Land Part 2”
Writer: Mark Waid
Artist: Leonardo Romero with Rod Reis & Howard Chaykin
Letters: Joe Caramanga
Cover Artist: Michael Cho; variant covers by Julian Totino Tedesco; Pepe Larraz & David Curiel
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire with Rod Reis & Jesus Aburtov
Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
What You Should Know:
In a 24th-century anti-Utopian timeline, Jack Rogers, a descendant of Captain America, breaks into the White House to steal a cure for his ill son only to discover a wide-sweeping conspiracy involving high-ranking US officials and the Kree.
What You’ll Find Out:
In this issue, “Promised Land” begins to pick up speed. We open on a flashback to 1943, illustrated by Rod Reis, in which an injured Captain America is protected by Agent Carter, who wields his shield, a theme that recurs throughout the issue. There is a certain rhythm and beauty in Reis’ layouts and style, in the ways that he uses a hard frame structure for his panels, but the structure seems incapable of containing the action and details, leading to a number of instances in which the frame is broken. It seems to suggest a frailty of history versus reality, which is to say that, regardless of how much effort we put into framing history into neat little boxes, we still lose the devil in the details.
As we return to Jack in New Washington (which we later discover is built on top of the ruins of a decimated Washington DC), he is on the run with a bounty having been placed on his head. As a historian, a position of seemingly great value in the 24th United States, Jack has access to a special room outside of time known as The Way Back, and it is there he chooses to lay low and hopefully recruits allies. And it is there that he does indeed find an unlikely ally in Old Vic, a man broken and supposedly unhinged thanks to repeated viewings of his own past, a condition called Time Diving. Vic reveals that Captain America yet lives, buried in a final battle with the Red Skull for the fate of the United States, and urges Jack to rescue Cap and spark a new revolution. Also in this sequence, Vic makes several references to Arthurian Legend, drawing a parallel between Cap’s shield and Excalibur. In the over-arching narrative being presented by Waid, in which history, highly valued, comes into question regarding its accuracy, the legends surrounding Arthur present a beautiful example of the fallibility of written record. The legends, believed myth by most, still are debated today as to their origins, and the possibility of a real-life King Arthur lost to the annals of history is a mystery historian’s still research today.
The flashback sequence, set forth by Vic thrusting his Time Lens into Jack’s face, details the “final battle” between Steve Rogers and the Red Skull, illustrated by Howard Chaykin. The battle culminates in Captain America using his shield to shatter the Cosmic Cube in Red Skull’s hand in a beautifully rendered sequence by Chaykin and his team that reads as a study in light and color in comics narrative.
With the help of Vic, Jack escapes his government pursuers and flees to the Old Washington ruins in search of his ancestor. The journey is arduous, but eventually, Jack stumbles upon the final battlefield—a Cosmic Cocoon and Steve’s shield, lodged in rock like the proverbial sword of legend. Armed with the knowledge of the past bestowed upon him by Vic, Jack draws the shield from the stone, like a child who would be king, and strikes the cocoon to free… The Red Skull?!?
What Just Happened?
Mark Waid is a man without fear. As a frequent target of the comics community’s very own alt-left, Waid has every reason to take his foot off the gas and allow his Captain America swan song to be a casual, throw-away tale of a future that could be. Instead, Waid takes the current discourse regarding the veracity of history as artifact written under extreme bias head-on in “Promised Land” by placing the role of historians at the forefront of the narrative. By positioning historians as agents of the State and illustrating what happens when a historian strays from the prescribed narrative, Waid shines a light into the darker corners of our own Earth’s history.
Final Thought: In the last issue (Captain America #701), the focus of the narrative was unclear, leading to what appeared to be a highlight forum for some high-profile artists to get to do Captain America sequences set in a story with no real consequences. With part 2, however, the story gains some much-needed traction and becomes reminiscent of some of Waid’s more prestigious work. I am very much looking forward to seeing what comes next.
Subscribe to us on YouTube, Follow us on Twitter, and Like us on Facebook!
Join our Age of Social Media Network consisting of X-Men, Marvel, DC, Superhero and Action Movies, Anime, Indie Comics, and numerous fan pages. Interested in becoming a member? Join us by clicking here and pick your favorite group!
User Review( votes)