This November, “Uncanny X-Force” writer Rick Remender wil be taking command of the Star-Spangled Avenger in “Captain America” #1 with John Romita Jr. on art. In the book, Cap will be taken on a strange journey into the mysterious Dimension Z, on a trip that will lead him to a freakish present that will involve an exploration of his past.
During a call today with Remender, Romita, and editor Tom Brevoort, we learn about Armin Zola’s holographic face, what creeps out John Romita Jr., and why you should pick up a new #1.
For Remender, “The pages are great,” he says of artist John Romita Jr.’s work. The duo’s version of “Captain America” will be moving away from the espionage and spy format under Ed Brubaker’s lengthy run (which saw the character killed, replaced, a resurrected while the Red Skull possessed a Russian businessman to destroy America from within).
Romita says working on “Captain America” has been a dream, Remdner adding that he gives the artist elements to draw simply as a challenge. Romita recounted how Remender recently tasked him with realizing a page with the villain Armin Zola in a gore-filled room, and Romita having to self-edit, worried that he would verge over into his brutal “Kick-Ass” style. He described the work as “House of Horrors” stuff that gave him the creeps, something he says rarely happens with his own work.
Remender talked about using that one scene to establish the grotesque villainy of Zola, likening him to Mengele, willing to perform baroquely violent and perverse experiments on humans and animals–“Your hero in this,” he says, “is only as good as your villain.” That has even entailed a redesign for the character with new colors by Dean White. Remender and Romita talked a bit about reimagining Zola’s face monitor into something more like a hologram stretched over goo. Brevoort added that in the new take on the character, he’s very different from previous interpretations, Kirby-like in his coiled energy with layers of creepiness in his characterization.
Right now, Remender says that he’s been more inspired by EC Comics and the work of Bernie Wrightson when writing “Captain America”, again, taking the series at a full 180 away from its trajectory under Brubaker.
Brevoort says that Remender’s work reminds him of Frank Miller’s stint on “Daredevil”, tearing that character down and stripping him to his basics. In this case, Steve Rogers is being placed in a situation where he’s thrown onto something like a desert island where the ideals and ideas of America are unknown. The book will explore Steve’s origins parallel to the present-day action while also showing how Steve Rogers and Captain America have always been one and the same.
Romita says that they’ve tried to hold to an axiom he heard from childhood about storytelling: you balance the reality with the fantasy, citing the difficulty juggling act of showing the human aspects of the character while still being true to the adventure. The present day segments will give us the family while Remender believes the flashbacks will show us how Steve “earned” his level of heart during the Depression era is the reality. Brevoort says that the past was what made Steve a fighter.
Responding to a reporter’s question, Romita says that given how Steve Rogers was and what was important to him, the character’s true grit probably would have led him to become a police officer if he hadn’t taken the super soldier serum. Remender says that he’s attracted to the optimism of the character and his tenacity which makes him appealing to write, borne of the kind of “pull yourself up” ethos of the people in the Depression.
You can check out a preview for issue #1 below. “Captain America” #1 will be on shelves November 21st.