Published on September 14th, 2013 | by Mike Harding0
Marvel Graphic Novel Collection Issue 42 Review
The 42nd book to be released in the series (book 51on the spine) is one that deals with the fallout of Marvel’s Civil War title. The book is entitled “Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America”, which is written by Jeph Loeb, with artwork provided by some of the industries big hitters.
Sadly in regards to the collection I think that the publishers missed out on a trick here, as they should have made Civil War issue 42 as the number is used repeatedly throughout the book (namely it is the name of the Negative Zone prison used to hold both heroes and villains).
The premise for this limited series was created by J. Michael Straczynski during a Marvel retreat in New York. (The book credits Straczynski with the initial concept.) He suggested the structure of five issues, each based on Elizabeth Kubler Ross’ Five Stages of Grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Loeb lobbied hard to write the series, and succeeded, saying that he could draw upon his own experience of having recently lost his son to a long battle with bone Cancer. The idea of the book is to have each hero represent a different stage of grief.
The first part of the book is a reprint of the actual issue in which Captain America is killed, which is a brilliant read in itself, and with great artwork from Steve Epting, who doesn’t get a credit. Sadly, neither does Ed Brubaker who wrote the issue, in fact t no reference made to the issue being in the book at all, even on the back cover which lists the issue numbers.
The first story is Denial, and has artwork provided by Lenil Francis Yu, in this chapter we find Wolverine refusing to accept that Captain America is dead, and breaking into the SHIELD hellicarrier in order to complete his goal of interrogating the alleged assassin, and finding Captain America’s body. The book is brilliant as he ropes in Daredevil, who quickly realizes that he is not there for his legal abilities, but rather his ability to tell if a person is lying via his heightened senses.
The second chapter is Anger, and has artwork from fan favorite Ed McGuinness. The story features the two Avengers teams, the Pro-registration Mighty Avengers, and the Anti-registration New Avengers. The chapter is cleverly split in two sections; the Mighty Avengers are fighting against Tiger Shark, and a horde of sea creatures, with a cameo from Namor. The New Avengers section is far more entertaining with them playing poker with The Thing at Dr Strange’s Sanctum Sanatorium. In the second story Wolverine returns from his mission and ultimately follows Spider-man home, who is dealing with his additional grief as his Aunt May has been shot as a result of him revealing his identity to the world.
The third chapter is Bargaining, this features art by John Romita Jr, and may actually be my favorite section of the book. Iron man is summoned to the Avengers mansion by Clint Barton, who the world still thinks is dead as a result of the events of Avengers Disassembled (Issue 16 review). Barton confronts Iron Man over Cap’s death and is ultimately shown Cap’s shield. Tony allows Clint to try the shield out, and when he proves that not only can he handle it, but he wields it as well as Cap ever did, Tony offers him the chance to be the new Captain America. Clint dons the costume and goes out on patrol, only to encounter the Young Avengers Patriot and Hawkeye. Hawkeye lectures Clint with brilliant insight, and ultimately Clint realizes that the offer was made in order to ease Tony’s guilt over Cap’s death. The last two pages are brilliant, and so I won’t spoil them for you.
The fourth Chapter is Depression, and features the artwork of David Finch. In this chapter, which focuses on Spider-man, Peter visits the grave of his uncle Ben. During the visit he encounters the Rhino, and the two predictably end up fighting. During the battle Peter recalls advise that Cap gave him over the years, mainly during a battle with the Hulk. It is then revealed that Rhino was only there visiting his mother’s grave. Wolverine reveals himself as he had been following him since the second chapter, Spidey and Wolverine then spent some time discussing death, and how you move past it.
The final chapter for this book is called Acceptance, and has the artwork of John Cassaday. This story largely follows the funeral for Captain America, it features a wide cast of the Marvel Universe. During the funeral Iron Man tries to make a speech, but instead can only utter the words “it wasn’t supposed to be this way”. As a result of this, it is Sam Wilson (Falcon) who delivers the farewell speech. The story continues later with a surprise ending.
Value for money doesn’t count with this book; it is a really well crafted title. There are fans that think that it is badly written, or doesn’t do the memory of Captain America justice. That doesn’t matter, this is the important thing to remember; Sam Loeb died in June 2005, the first issue of this book was on the shelves in June 2007. On average it takes an artist perhaps two months to complete an issue, maybe a bit less? Jeph Loeb had to write all the stories before they could begin drawing them. This means that Jeph was potentially writing this book only a year after the death of his son! Stop and think, maybe you don’t have children, but would you really be able to write a book about peoples reactions to the death of someone they loved only a year after losing someone you loved yourself. People always rip into Jeph Loeb, but he did something I know I would never be able to do, and because of that I’m not even going to mention how much this book is in other formats, as this book will always be worth every penny you spend on it.
Extra features in this book are pretty poor, with only variant covers provided by Michael Turner (it appears this book is surrounded by death as shortly after the release of this book, Michael Turner also sadly passed away). The other extra feature is an interview with Marvel publisher Dan Buckley discussing the origin of this story and the decision to kill off Captain America (with a side note regarding his eventual return).
Unsurprisingly, there are no new releases revealed in this book, however, the next book to be released will be part 2 of the Punisher story Welcome Back Frank.
With this latest release, our list now looks like this:
*Titles in BOLD have already been released*
Book 01: Iron Man: Demon in a bottle
Book 02: Uncanny X-men: Dark Phoenix
Book 03: Captain Britain: A Crooked World
Book 04: Wolverine
Book 05: The Mighty Thor: The Last Viking
Book 06: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars part 1
Book 07: Marvel Super Heroes Secret Wars part 2
Book 08: Daredevil: Born Again
Book 09: The Amazing Spider-Man: The Birth of Venom
Book 10: Spider-man: Kraven’s Last Hunt
Book 11: The Incredible Hulk: Silent Screams
Book 12: Wolverine: Weapon X
Book 13: Marvels
Book 14: Avengers: Avengers Forever Part one
Book 15: Avengers: Avengers Forever Part two
Book 16: The Mighty Thor: In Search of Gods
Book 17: Daredevil: Guardian Devil
Book 18: The Punisher: Welcome Back Frank Part 1
Book 19: The Punisher: Welcome Back Frank Part 2
Book 20: Ultimate Spider-man: Power & Responsibility
Book 21: Spider-man: Coming Home
Book 22: Spider-man: Revelations
Book 23: New X-men: E is for Extinction
Book 24: New X-men: Imperial
Book 25: Spider-man: Blue
Book 26: Wolverine: Origins
Book 27: Captain America: The New Deal
Book 28: The Ultimates: Super-Human
Book 29: The Ultimates: Homeland Security
Book 30: Fantastic Four: Unthinkable
Book 31: Fantastic Four: Authoritative Action
Book 32: 1602
Book 33: Secret War
Book 34: Avengers: Disassembled
Book 35: She-Hulk: Single Green Female
Book 36: Astonishing X-men: Gifted
Book 37: Astonishing X-men: Dangerous
Book 38: Black Panther: Who is the Black Panther?
Book 39: Ghost Rider: Road to Damnation
Book 40: House of M
Book 42: New Avengers: Breakout
Book 43: Iron Man: Extremis
Book 44: Captain America: Winter Soldier
Book 45: The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk part 1
Book 46: The Incredible Hulk: Planet Hulk part 2
Book 47: Fantastic Four: The End
Book 48: Marvel Zombies
Book 50: Civil War
Book 51: Fallen Son: Death of Captain America
Book 52: Thor: Reborn
Book 53: The Eternals
Book 54: Captain America: The Chosen
Book 55: World War Hulk
Book 56: Thunderbolts: Faith in Monsters
Book 57: Wolverine: Old Man Logan
Book 58: Secret Invasion
Book 59: Captain Britain & MI13: Vampire State
Book 60: Siege