Using The Occult To Fight Nazis In Infinity Wars: Soldier Supreme #1

by James Ferguson

Gamora gathered up all the Infinity Stones and took a page out of her father, Thanos’ book by eliminating half of the population. She did it in her own unique way though.  Instead of making folks disappear, she merged them together, creating the Infinity Warps. First up is Stephen Rogers, the Soldier Supreme! It’s Captain America mixed with Dr. Strange and it’s just as cool as it sounds.

In this world, the super soldier serum that turns scrawny Steve Rogers into Captain America is laced with all kinds of dark magic. He gets super strong, but he also gets a whole bunch of magical abilities. His shield is an occult creation that’s pulled out when he needs it. Using these newfound powers, Stephen Rogers takes the fight to the Nazis during World War II to confront villains like Dormammu Red.

This first issue – of a planned two-issue mini-series – quickly gets us up to speed on this character and the bizarre world he lives in. We already know the story of Captain America, so writer Gerry Duggan doesn’t have to spend a lot of time establishing who Rogers was before the serum. This allows us to touch upon the origin story without spending a ton of time on it.  This gets a few pages before jumping right into the action.

And boy is there action. This is some really fun stuff, mixing the supernatural into World War II.  In addition to the Soldier Surpreme and Dormammu Red, we also get a pretty awesome new version of the Winter Soldier. This puts Rogers in an interesting spot. Here’s an innocent young man who wants to do right by his country, but he’s doing it by dabbling with the dark arts.  Sooner or later those magical abilities are going to have a cost and I have to wonder how steep it will be. Will Rogers be pushed to the dark side? Or will he maintain his innocence?

Artist Andy Kubert’s work in Soldier Supreme #1 is incredible. The design for the character is top notch, although I do think the goatee looks a little silly at times. I don’t think it works with the cowl. The uniform is a mix of that of a soldier and a wizard’s cloak, which is kind of the point.

The shield is the real standout aspect of this book. Rogers conjures it up when needed, more for protection than as a weapon. He doesn’t throw it like Cap usually does. Instead, it’s this symbol of American pride with hints of the occult mixed in. Again, this is totally the point of the book.  Overall, everything that went into this whole thing is smart and well thought out.

The supernatural qualities to Soldier Supreme #1 are highlighted by Matthew Wilson’s colors.  You can see the darkness start to corrupt the world around Rogers, especially when he uses his powers for an unnatural task. This creates an otherworldly glow. Dormammu Red is a perfect example of this too. He’s a being of red and black fire, representing everything that Rogers is fighting against.

One touch that amplifies Dormammu Red’s sinister aspect comes in Clayton Cowles’ letters.  He uses an ancient looking font in a dark crimson. This underscores the pure evil at work here.

I’m a sucker for alternate reality stories. While we know that all of this will go back to normal by the end of Infinity Wars, that doesn’t take away from the enjoyment of the series. This is a fun new take on the Marvel Universe that could have been spawned by school children chatting in the cafeteria. What would happen if Captain America became the Sorcerer Supreme?  It would be pretty awesome, that’s what.

Infinity Wars: Soldier Supreme #1 from Marvel Comics is currently available at your local comic shop or digitally through ComiXology and Amazon Kindle.

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