Review| Captain America: The Ghost Army
Captain America the Ghost Army
By Alan Gratz and Brent Schoonover
Scholastic Graphix, 2023, $14.99
I hesitate to review comics about iconic superheroes because I came to graphic novels so late in the game. At this point, classic superheroes have been around for so many years, it feels impossible to start from the beginning and catch up. So what do I really know about Captain America? Can I do justice to a new book about the iconic superhero? But I couldn’t resist reading this… it’s by Alan Gratz, who has become one of my favorite middle-grade authors. And a book about the WWII era Captain America seems like a project that is in his niche.
The book opens up with an action-packed battle scene. The Allies are getting battered when a ghost army saves the day. It’s a special unit that helps out failing armies by using technology to make it seem like there are many more soldiers there or on the way. While celebrating their victory, the army is attacked by real ghosts, or more like zombies. Captain America and his trusted side-kick Bucky are hard-pressed to save the day.
The incident has passed, but Captain America and Bucky continue to a small village to investigate the zombie soldiers. They meet Andrei and his granddaughter and together they uncover who is behind the zombie soldiers and work together to stop them.
Of the few Captain America comics I have checked out, I feel like Gratz really captured the era and feel of a retro comic. The well-drawn characters with varying personalities have touches of humor and a great balance of action-packed adventure and some suspense. There’s even a bit of romance that ensues between Andrei’s granddaughter and Bucky. Magic is also present and so the title hits on so many interests of varying readers and there is potential to draw in so many different audiences.
Schoonover’s artwork and the coloring might make young readers think they are back in time, reading an original comic from the early 1950s. While vivid colors are used, there is a sepia overtone.
This is a great title to draw in new readers to the superhero genre while at the same time attracting existing fans. I hope to see another title from Gratz and Schoonover with some more Captain America.
About Esther Keller
Esther Keller is the librarian at William E. Grady CTE HS in Brooklyn, NY. In addition, she curates the Graphic Novel collection for the NYC DOE Citywide Digital Library. She started her career at the Brooklyn Public Library and later jumped ship to the school system so she could have summer vacation and a job that would align with a growing family's schedule. On the side, she is a mother of 4 and regularly reviews for SLJ. In her past life, she served on the Great Graphic Novels for Teens Committee where she solidified her love and dedication to comics and worked in the same middle school library for 20 years.
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