Friday, February 25, 2011
Captain America - Patriot!
This vivid throwback story written by Karl Kesel with some very evocative artwork by Mitch Breitweiser, tells the story of Jeff Mace the Patriot. Jeff Mace is the man who took over for Captain America and had a rather long career after World War II until the early 1950's. He was the third man to take on the identity after the disappearance of the original and the death of the Spirit of 76.
This entertaining four-part story details Mace's early time as The Patriot, showing how he was inspired to become a stateside fighter against the Axis threat. He was a reporter who wanted to do more, and he did. This is also the tale of his friends, such as an ace camera man Casey who ends up joining the war effort overseas, and a beautiful woman named Mary who eventually becomes the complicated masked character Miss Patriot.
This is not a story I can discuss much without destroying some of the surprises. But the large story is well known. Jeff Mace becomes Captain America and has to work alongside truly super-powered types like Whizzer, Miss America, Human Torch and the Sub-Mariner despite being just a regular guy. His struggle to become accepted and even a leader with these folks is poignant. Later he battles crime alongside Golden Girl and still later gives up the role of Cap entirely.
Kesel does a grand job of making all the established stuff about Captain America's most complicated history fuse neatly here in this untold behind the scenes saga. Jeff Mace is a good guy, and a hero you can root for completely. He makes mistakes, but seems always to be trying to do the right thing. This story is a breath of fresh air in a modern world overripe with anti-heroes and downright villains put up as role models. Jeff Mace, the Patriot is a hero.
This trade is highly recommended. It also has the one-shot All-Winners story from a few years ago as well as the classic What If? #4 story which first revealed in delicious retcon fashion that Jeff Mace had become Cap.
Get this book.