Finally I made myself read the Chuck Austen part of Captain America vol. 4 and all I can say is WTF did I just read.
Not as horrible as his Superman run or his X-men run (nothing is as bad as his X-Men run) but it was strange reading with some bouts of “WTF are you even doing?” here and there.
The story has the Marvel Knights imprint so it’s not canon, mainly because it has Austen changing Steve’s origin in a major way. We all know how Captain America was frozen, Steve fell into the Atlantic ocean, got frozen by the icy water, and years later was found by the Avengers (or SHIELD if you go by the movies).
Chuck Austen changed that a little.
Basically after Steve was Captain America for awhile, the US Government thought he was being rebellious, uncontrollable, and not looking out for the interest of the US Government. So after his airplane incident with Bucky Government lackeys retrieve him, and freeze him in ice. Then years later an angry Namor, while looking for a scientist named Severs who was experimenting on some Atlanteans, finds Steve in an ancient destroyed Atlantean temple in the Arctic.
Namor breaks Steve out immediately wanting to give him a proper burial but some Government lackeys (who were in the area because the US government was having an expedition there) start shooting at him and Namor goes back to his mission. Steve wakes up and is messed up in the head (he’s like a zombie who can only say “Buuuuh” in a failed attempt to try to say Bucky’s name), he then somehow makes his way to where Namor and Severs are and instinctively protects Severs from Namor (because it’s in his instinct to protect people who are being harmed, I dunno it’s weird). Then an explosion occurs, Steve falls into the water and minutes later the Avengers find him.
When Steve finds out that the US Government screwed him over (through some newsreels and photos someone mails to him) he becomes depressed, starts questioning his government, starts questioning himself, starts wondering if the Avengers where in on it too but then decides they weren’t (because believing otherwise would mean that until that point his life has no meaning anymore).
I dunno the idea is interesting but the execution is bad. The story was very confusing, stuff goes unexplained or doesn’t make much sense, so much hallucinations (why do writers like to make Steve hallucinate a lot?) and you don’t know they are hallucinations until there’s a time skip in one of them (and then the story reveals the hallucinations as hallucinations pages after that which is just bad), and I don’t think I understood the villain’s motivation very well.
Also the relationship between Hana and Steve was came out of nowhere. She just met Steve and suddenly she falls in love with him but he doesn’t feel the same, then an issue latter he suddenly falls for her too (but is unable to have sex with her in a very interesting scene that can be read a lot of different ways, and I might post it later on).
On the bright side Jae Lee’s art ( I immediately recognized it from having read G.I. Joe/Transformers) is dark, somber, shadowy, beautiful and very intimate. There’s a scene with Steve clutching the American flag and Hana bending over him and hugging him that I really loved, not to mention all the shots of Steve encased in the ice are gorgeous (I so plan to do a picspam of them).
Captain America vol 4 #14 by Chuck Austen and Jae Lee