Creator Spotlight! Ed Brubaker’s Captain America Reading List

Captain America has enjoyed several illustrious years under the guidance of Ed Brubaker. His run began back in 2004 with a story that’s soon to be adapted for the big screen in Captain America 2: The Winter Soldier. As such a big player in the Marvel Universe, Cap has been dragged into most of the event books from the last few years. This list shows the order everything should be read in and explains how the main run fits into the ancillary.

Pre-reading that informs the main series.Marvels Project

The Marvels Project – Ed Brubaker & Steve Epting
This mini-series actually came out half way through the main run, but acts as a prequel and shows Captain America and the Invaders origins during World War II.

Captain America: Man Out of Time – Mark Waid & Jorge Molina
This volume is an updated version of Cap’s introduction to the modern world. It has the usual Mark Waid charm but doesn’t quite measure up against his Superman origin; Birthright.

The first event is an Avengers story which occurs shortly before Brubaker begins his run, it’s not essential to the larger story but is a significant chapter in Avengers history.

Winter SoldierThe main run begins at this point.

Captain America: Winter Soldier V1&2 – Brubaker & Epting
Cap isn’t in the best frame of mind at the beginning of the first story arc in the run, and things only get worse with the appearance of a new enemy named Alexander Lukin, and his Winter Soldier.

This story explains the disappearence of Nick Fury, who was an important part of the first story arc.

New Avengers by Brian Bendis begins just after this, which Cap is an important part of.

Captain America: Red Menace V1&2 – Brubaker, Perkins & Epting
The second story arc is set a few months after the first, Cap follows Lukin’s trail to England, while Bucky revisits his past, trying to atone for his actions as The Winter Soldier.

The superhero registration act divides the Avengers down the middle, Captain America and his anti-registration followers find themselves on the run from S.H.I.E.L.D. and Iron Man’s pro-registration forces.

Civil War: Captain America – Ed Brubaker & Mike Perkins
Continues Brubaker’s story through the event, This is essential to the overall plot as it progresses several plot lines and leads to the biggest chapter in the story so far…

The Death of Captain America V1-3 – Brubaker & Epting
In the wake of Cap’s death, we follow Bucky on his journey from reluctant hero to Star-Spangled Avenger. Possibly the most compelling part of Brubakers run.

Jeph Loeb’s Fallen Son mini-series can be read just after Cap’s death, which follow various characters through the five stages of grief.

[box_light]Ed Brubaker on the Death of Captain America

I’m really proud of [The Death of Captain America], and I think the big challenge to me at the time was I knew it was going to be compared to the Death of Superman a lot. But I remember reading that comic, I hadn’t read a DC comic in ten years at that point and… no offence to the guys who did it, but this is a shit comic. I mean it’s twenty splash pages with four words… what a fucking rip-off.

People paid thousands of dollars to get the black-bagged version of this at the time and it’s one of the worst comics ever, and if you could do a ‘Death of’ comic that’s actually a really good issue then that would be something people would remember, and I’ve literally met thousands of people who’ve said that was the book that got them back into comics, because they heard about it on NPR that day or read about it in the paper. Brian Bendis was in Italy, and he’s taking photographs and emailing them to me of the Italian papers’ front page: “CAPTAIN AMERICA DIES”, and I was like… this is insane.

I always knew he wasn’t really dead, but I think we kept him dead longer than anyone else has ever been kept dead, other than Bucky. But really, with any of those characters you feel a real responsibility to those stories, to be true to who they are, but you jettison stuff that you hate anyway… I mean Matt Fraction and I felt really responsible to Iron Fist, but we were fine just never mentioning the Broccoli People who live outside of K’un L’un……what the FUCK are the Broccoli People?

I just think things get up their own ass too much, so you jettison that and try to remain true to the spirit of whatever… and I’m a pretty liberal guy overall about most things but I grew up in a very military environment, and I felt like Captain America’s a guy who grew up during the depression whose like, sort of a Roosevelt Democrat probably… but he’s also spent his entire adult life working for the military, so he’s not going to be one thing or the other. So I felt like I understood that character, but at the same time I felt that all the characters around him were more interesting because of that.[/box_light]

Bucky-Cap makes his first major appearance in the Marvel U. From this point he becomes a regular character in Bendis’ New Avengers.

Captain America: The Man With No Face – Brubaker & Ross
One of the Winter Soldier’s targets comes back for revenge, so Bucky teams with Namor in a mini Invaders reunion. The best thing about this volume is the relationship between these two characters.

Captain America: Road to Reborn – Ed Brubaker & Various
Brubaker starts showing his hand and some secrets around Cap’s death are revealed, which sets the stage for his return in the next volume.

Captain America: Reborn – Ed Brubaker & Bryan Hitch
Steve Rogers is displaced in the time-stream and must find his way out, while Bucky and Sharon fight for his return in the present.

The Avengers Trinity reunite for the first time in years to end the Dark Reign and bring about the dawn of The Heroic Age. Not essential to Brubaker’s story but it’s a big change to the Marvel status quo.

Captain America: Two Americas – Ed Brubaker & Luke Ross
This story features the return of 50’s Cap and the decision of who will carry on the Captain America mantle now Steve has returned.

Captain America: No Escape – Ed Brubaker & Butch Guice
Baron Zemo returns with a personal grudge against Bucky, and Brubaker makes great us of the character who becomes a recurring threat from this point.

Captain America: Trial of Captain America – Brubaker & Guice
Bucky has to stand trial for the crimes crimes of the Winter Soldier, part courtroom drama and part espionage with the usual Brubaker flair.

SuperSoldierCaptain America: Prisoner of War – Ed Brubaker & Butch Guice
Bucky is has been sentenced for his crimes as the Winter Soldier and gets sent to the gulag. This is one of the grittiest stories so far and Guice’s art is perfectly suited to it.

Steve Rogers: Super Soldier – Ed Brubaker & Dale Eaglesham
This mini-series shifts the focus back to Steve Rogers and introduces some threads that will be followed up later in Captain America.

Secret Avengers: Volume 1 & 2 – Ed Brubaker & Mike Deodato
A character we met during The Marvel’s Project reappears in the present day. Not essential to the overall story.

While not the most beloved Marvel event it does contain some important moments in the Captain America mythos. It’s a shame that Brubaker couldn’t handle them himself as they feel out of place here.

McNivenCapCaptain America: Volume 1 – Ed Brubaker & Steve McNiven
This story has less espionage and more science fiction, it’s a fun change and Steve McNiven’s artwork certainly doesn’t hurt, and suits the new tone really well.

Captain America: Volume 2 – Ed Brubaker & Alan Davis
Some elements introduced in the Super Soldier mini-series are developed further, and the final act of Brubaker’s story takes shape.

Captain America: Volume 3 – Ed Brubaker & Patch Zircher
This is the last volume of Captain America that Brubaker writes on his own, and he uses it to introduce a new version of Scourge.

Captain America: Volume 4 – Ed Brubaker & Scott Eaton
The final volume ends in a slightly disappointing way, as Brubaker shares scripting duties with Cullen Bunn. The final issue makes up for it with an emotional tale harking back to the very first issue.

Winter SoldierCaptain America & Bucky:
The Life Story of Bucky Barnes – Ed Brubaker & Chris Samnee
Old Wounds – Ed Brubaker & Francesco Francavilla

These volumes flashback to World War II and offer some insight into Bucky’s character. They were released during Bucky’s apparant death and before the launch of Winter Soldier.

Winter Soldier: The Longest Winter – Ed Brubaker & Butch Guice
Winter Soldier: Broken Arrow – Ed Brubaker & Michael Lark
Winter Soldier: Black Widow Hunt – Ed Brubaker & Butch Guice

These three volumes form a single story about Bucky facing threats of his own creation during from his days in the Red Room. Black Widow plays a large part due to their shared history and the whole thing ends on a truly heartbreaking note, which is made even worse as it’s the final issue where Ed Brubaker writes the character he bought back from the dead 8 years prior.