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Review: Captain America: Patriot #1

A piercing character study. Best book of the week! 5/5! Do not overlook this!

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Jeff Mace's earlier days are recounted here - - how he went from being a reckless reporter to an amateur super hero and how, ultimately, he became the third Captain America. 

The Good

Wow... this was one of the best comics I've read in a while. I was floored by how much wit, accuracy and subtly that Kessel was able to infuse into the dialog here. This feels like a work of real historical fiction. This is a genuinely-touching character portrait of a hero who's ultimately been judged a mediocre in the scope of Marvel's history. It's quite a trick that Kesel pulls off to render so much drama on Mace's story while still emphasizing that his skills, motivations and even relationships are pedestrian in comparison to the legends of this time period. I was especially impressed by  the scenes showing how Mace gets to "have his cake and eat it to" and the understated odd-man-out snub he gets from the Whizzer and Ms. America. Though I question its believability, there was still some genuinely moving sense of tragedy to his bullheadedness in relation to Ms. Patriot.

The Bad

I realize that Patriot is supposed to be kind-of naive here, but it was a little hard to swallow that he'd so naive as to totally miss the advances "Miss Patriot" makes on him halfway through the issue. Simple-minded or not, he's still a grown man. Then again, there have been so many Captain Americas over the years, so I forget if Jeff Mace is supposed to be one of the cowl-wearers who went insane eventually -  maybe this is supposed to be early signs of his dementia?

The Verdict - 5/5

This was the last title I read out of this week's batch and it was a real sucker-punch. I definitely wasn't expecting it to be this good. This is a rich character study that gives more pathos to a third stringer than you ever thought was possible - - yet it still acknowledges and addresses the reasons why he isn't that well known. Do not overlook this on the shelf! It's a hidden gem!