Infinity Wars: Soldier Supreme #1
Writer: Gerry Duggan
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: Clayton Cowles
Review by Leo Bateman
This review may contain spoilers.
Well I wasn’t expecting THIS.
Having started the Infinity Wars arc with a peripheral series (Soldier Supreme #1), I was ignorant to the overall backstory. However, the issue carried a brief introduction that helped me get up to speed: Gamora is the current holder of the Infinity Gauntlet, and she has created her own alternate universe by folding the current one in half. This has led to an interesting conglomeration of heroes and villains, including Stephen Rogers—the Soldier Supreme.
As some of you can probably guess, this character is a mash-up of Captain America and Doctor Strange. He reflects the two, not only in appearance (a skinny turned muscular body adorned with blond hair and a wizard’s goatee), but also in backstory, powers, and arch-nemesis.
The story is very fast-paced, following Stephen as he volunteers for a military experiment in order to protect his country during World War II. He is granted peak human strength, speed, and wizard powers… as well as an impenetrable magic shield. Stephen then faces off against Hitler and his Nazi army, with the issue culminating in a battle between the Soldier Supreme and his archenemy, Dormammu Red.
At first, I wasn’t fully sure how to react to this issue. However, after some reflection… I can honestly say I liked it. The artwork was fantastic, with some clever overlapping of panel boundaries that adds to the series’ theme of fusion. The action though, was the best part of this issue. It’s very novel and entertaining to see a character fight using both Cap’s and Strange’s skill sets.
On the downside, the story moved a little fast for my taste. So much happened within its 25 pages that I felt it took away from the impact of the more poignant moments. Furthermore, I’m a bit of a purist. While there are a lot of good alternate universe stories out there (Flashpoint, Old-Man Logan, etc.), something about twisting established canon has always nagged at me. On top of that, I’m a HUGE Captain America fan. So seeing him mixed with Doctor Strange felt borderline perverse.
But, the stick up my rear is flexible, and this story was fun. I had to pee from the moment I started reading it, but I couldn’t put the dang thing down. I’d like to read more of this series and find out what other superhero abominations these writers will come up with. It’s an interesting idea, and I’d like to see where they take it.
Read it. It’s a fun concept, and I enjoyed my time with this story. The artwork was solid, the action exciting, and though the pacing felt a bit rushed, the writing was fun and lighthearted. Once I got over the initial impact of my beloved hero’s mutation, I devoured this issue. After all, there was still at least half of Cap to enjoy.