Captain America Annual (#1, 2021) – Gary Duggan

3 out of 5

The first entry in the ‘Infinite Destinies’ annual crossovers did a good job of functioning as both a spotlight for its featured character, Iron Man, and also making the impact of the Infinity Stones upon some randoms promising. Gary Duggan’s Captain American entry into this series is much more standard fare – despite Destinies taking place exclusively in annuals, it ends up feeling like a side story, and also lets Cap drift into a non-starring position, focusing instead on Time stone dude Bautista. I might’ve suggested this is because Cap is your generic boyscout, but I often find Tony Stark to be your generic smart rich dude, and yet he came across with personality in his entry, so I certainly think it’s possible to give Steve Rogers some more flair.

That’s knocking the book in comparison, but without that, it works – Duggan’s dialogue is to the point, and he keeps the story moving along, as Bautista time flits here and there, just out of Cap’s reach, trying to explain he wants to do a good deed – to undo mistakes he made in the past – while doing bad deeds to escape capture. Marco Castiello’s art is way too sketchy for the action-heavy setup, though, and they lack some choreography sharpness for some of the cooler bits when Black Widow jumps into the fray.

Ultimately, it’s entertaining, but entirely generic – you can replace Cap with any hero, and Bautista with any semi-harmless villain, and plop it in to any point on the timeline, Infinity Stones or not.

More successful than the Iron Man book is Jed MacKay’s ‘Infinite Fury’ backup. Juan Ferreyra’s red, white, and blue art is super cool (putting the similar-toned Superman series entry I read to effing shame), and it gives shape to Fury’s goings-on in the crossover, whereas the first entry felt just tacked on to the book to fill space.