Steve Rogers has been trapped in Dimension Z since this volume’s inception. He’s been fighting Zola’s forces while trying to raise his son-of-sorts, Ian (who is actually Zola’s son). This issue finishes that extended storyline. After two readings, my feelings for this issue are still mixed. I can’t properly talk about my overall thoughts without some spoilers, so consider this a warning.
For a while, I was enjoying this series. Despite Steve’s struggle to survive and raise a child in the wastelands, there was still a sense of optimism usually absent in Rick Remender’s writing. It was a great exploration of Steve’s strong spirit and dedication to his values. No matter how injured he was, he never gave up. But two issues ago Ian was shot by Sharon Carter just as he pushed himself through Zola’s brainwashing. It was a shock ending that felt a little unnecessary, and that’s where my enjoyment for this series started to wane. The last issue kind of skipped over the captain’s reaction, instead focusing on the story at hand. It ended with Zola dying in front of his daughter, Jet, who herself had just converted toward Steve’s way of thinking.
That’s where this issue begins, with Jet mourning the loss of her father. The best parts of this issue involve Jet trying to deal with the loss of her father and younger brother. Over the course of the comic, she slowly comes to terms with what’s happening and realizes what must be done. By the end, she’s the rational one while Steve is acting irrationally from despair. Her development as a character is one of the high points of both this issue and the Dimension Z storyline.
The flaws in this issue mostly revolve the action. For the conclusion to a kind of epic storyline, this comic feels very anti-climactic. Zola’s plan was to inject his consciousness into every human being on Earth, and the solution was simply to detonate the floating castle before it crossed dimensional barriers. As soon as Sharon Carter announced the plan, all sense of urgency was lost. Speaking of Sharon Carter …
Massive spoiler time.
Sharon Carter seems to pointlessly sacrifice herself to kill Zola with the detonator. Why didn’t she just hang on to the captain and push the button just as they left through the dimensional portal? Was it really necessary to taunt the villain one last time before he was blown into pieces? While her death wasn’t completely confirmed, it feels like a complete waste. She only re-entered the storyline last issue and barely had any effect on the plot. It’s just wasteful, and perfectly exemplifies the “women in refrigerators” trope.
That and Ian’s appearance on the last page of the comic just scream of Rick Remender’s usual shtick. He seems to love resorting to character deaths and death fake outs, so much so that it’s becoming very predictable. I will admit that it was nice seeing Ian alive and keeping his adoptive father’s morals alive though.
I wanted to enjoy this comic going into it, but I can’t bring myself to do so. The apparent death feels pointless and wasteful. The only real consolation is that no body was shown, which usually means the character will show up again soon. Not that I’ll know for sure though – I’m dropping this series. This comic is a disappointing finale that isn’t worth recommending.