Very One Dimensional
I've never been the biggest Cap fan. I thought he was the second weakest of the cast of characters in The Avengers film (Nick Fury being numero uno), and he's always been made out to be such a flat figure wherever I've seen him. It's a little frustrating when looking for some complexity. My girlfriend, being a fan of Indiana Jones, was told that this was of a similar nature, and to try it out. Upon reading it myself, it's not that far off, but I'd say it has more akin with Kingdom of the Crystal Skull than anything else.
For one, there are aliens. Or monsters. Whatever. (1st ISSUE SPOILER) Essentially, Cap has been trapped in another dimension, Zolandia, named after it's owner, the evil Zola, who... I have only heard of in passing, honestly. Don't know if this was some big reveal for some (I honestly thought he was a Superman villain when first seeing him), but it's in the first issue, so I don't consider it much of a spoiler. Anyway, the world is full of a handful of alien-esque beings, and Cap is trying to get back to Earth; Simple enough.
However, there's another slight similarity to it's Crystal Skull compatriot (2nd ISSUE SPOILER); Cap has a son. Well, not a biological son, but there's a son figure here that he takes on. And this is where a majority of the story gets it's steam. Cap is pretty often focused on these two major goals in his life AND NOTHING ELSE. Seriously, it gets a bit tiresome to hear about it. And there honestly aren't that many people to follow here; Zola and his second-in-command are made to be too one-sided, the aliens/monsters/whatever are too primal or basic to have any real characteristics of their own generally, and the son figure takes waaaaaaaaay too long to start to have his own persona, and even then he feels a little weak. This may be because he feels a bit too much like an add-on. And that really gets me. This whole story is supposed to be about Cap's attachment to these two goals he has and his reaching for (and occasionally dealing with the confliction of) these two hopes he has. And yet, the audience isn't really given much of a reason to care about what happens to the son figure.
Meanwhile, the story is constantly flashing back to Steve Rodger's past where we are shown a lot of... the same thing. I feel like Remender was trying to build Caps character a bit more and make him more likable, which I appreciate and enjoy seeing. However, maybe he could have told us some stuff we didn't know about him. Yes, we are given more of a reason to understand why he never gives up and acts like the patriot he is. Yes, we see him being bullied a lot. And yes, there are some allusions to father stuff in both situations and responsibility, yadda yadda. But, at the end of the day, it feels very basic, and I didn't feel like it added much to the narrative as a whole. Also, the art of this section looks really weird (all the kids has gigantic heads for some reason), which really distracted me.
I did find a few other issues with the art that bugs me throughout the work. It's be no means bad, and I appreciated how they stuck with one artist for once, but I wasn't the biggest fan, just me personally. Admittedly, it did kind of add to the primal nature to the environment and story, but I just thought it was okay.
Speaking of jumping through time (see how I JUMPED to that part of the review? ... Yes, I know it was a bad joke, don't shun me), this series has a seriously hard time staying in one place for too long. Between the first two issues, one year goes by. Between issues two and three, eleven years pass. ELEVEN. Seriously??? I get that this is trying to progress the story, but it ends up feeling jarring and forced, especially when it doesn't do this for the rest of the volume. Couple that with scenes from Steve's past, as well as a scene from the present in issue one, and the whole thing can feel like a rather jumbled mess at times, and it leaves the audience feeling just as stranded as Cap is. I don't feel like I'm firmly planted in on place, this book constantly shifts on me in a way that's annoying.
To add to this, there are constant sprawling brawls, as there is little time for there to have those slow moments. Whether it be in the present or past, Cap is constantly fighting something, anything, if only to divert attention from how simple his own persona is, along with everyone else. And, at the end of the day, it feels like there's something lacking, like there aren't enough times to actually think on what's happening. And when there are, Remender helps us along by straight up TELLING US what he's getting at. That's obnoxious. I'm not dumb, I can put pieces together myself, you know. I wish he would trust us with figuring some of this stuff out for ourselves. Because of this, almost all the characters are devoid of life, as they each boil down to ideas or symbolism in Cap's sprawling journey.
There are also some points when Remender tries to make Zolandia more or less a character of it's own, delving into the nature of it, how it works or act. But all of it is so vague, which is understandable in a way, as Cap is new to it, but leaves us uncertain as to how the planet actually works at all. There are pages filled with info that more or less mean nothing to the story, and simply confuse our comprehension of how this place works. And it honestly doesn't change the story at all, not coming into play or fleshing out the world, ending up feeling like filler.
That's what this really is in the end; a big heaping pile of filler, splattered on a page for your enjoyment. There's nothing much to take from this that hasn't already been said about Cap. I feel like his relationship with Bucky has already taken this idea and gone leagues beyond it, telling tales of people, not symbols and concepts. I wanted to llike this, I really did, but you can only strand me as a reader for so long before I lose hope.