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DK BOOKS: £17.99
CAPTAIN AMERICA: The Ultimate Guide to the First Avenger 
Written by Matt Forbeck and Alan Cowsill and Daniel Wallace with a foreword by Stan Lee

 

Recent super-hero movies have brought Steve Rogers, Captain America, to the fore of wonderfully heroic characters, but what do we really know about this Red, White & Blue star of screen and comic books ? Instantly recognisable he has become the symbol of freedom for not just the US of A but the world over (at least the Western comic-reading, movie-watching, part of the World). "Born" in 1940 to Joe Simon & Jack Kirby, Steve Rogers fought against the Nazi terror and gave hope, with his friend Bucky, to a Nation.

 Matthew "Matt" Forbeck is a renown author, novellist, role-player, game creator and a formative authority on Steve Rogers.

This hard covered volume begins at the beginning, the origins of Captain America, on the front page of Marvel Comics, through to today, some 75 years later where he has emerged as a major movie star amongst all the other super-heroes. Matt tells the story through pages of reproduced front pages, comic cuts, text boxes and data files. The book is dramatically designed with silver edged pages that enhance the almost 3D captioning of the book's title. From the action pose of the Captain to the silver power text this book is a class act.

The author has cherry-picked his way through Captain America's life and adventures by researching CA's friends and enemies, his writers, artists and publishers. Throughout the volume there are bite-sized snacks of digestible data set aside the full colour comic cuts and occasional full page of timely text that augments the facing and surrounded artwork.

As we travel through Matt's book we learn about the origins of many heroes and villains as well as the formation of the Avengers and of S.H.I.E.L.D. and of Cap's association with them. But these two, S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers are the really well known groups or units, there are also several others, on all sides of the spectrum, to discover, remember and absorb. I'm not going to list them here because half the fun of reading this volume is the unexpected as well as the expected. There is a plethora of enlightening and illuminating erudite information and knowledge in here and it is all neatly indexed so you can quickly find the specific thing you are looking for (unless of course you're actually looking for The Thing in which case you will only find a mention of him/it on page 47 within the Captain's TimeLine.)

This is an excellent lexicon and glossary of all (okay perhaps I should say "most") Marvel characters, good, evil or alien, that is of great use for simple reference for whatever your needs. It is a great resource for writing a thesis on Captain America (I'm sure there is a University somewhere offering a course degree on Captain America), for writing a role-play scenario or for fun, especially when about to watch or just after watching a Captain America/Avengers movie.

This is not a comic book or a story book, it is a book that is quite likely to ignite a passion in it's readers to want to know even more, see even more, discover even more about Marvel comics, the Marbel Universe and the vast array of wonderful and wondrous imaginative characters and locations. Matt has created a superb textual monument to 75 years of MARVEL. It's blooming MARVELous !!!!

 

 

© Chris Baylis 2011-2015