There's something to be said about reading a much hyped comic long after the hype has died.
No, I've still not had a chance to get to that Swamp Thing trade, but I did get the Death of Captain America trade. Again, I'm just completely bowled over by Brubaker as a writer and how he's handling these editorially mandated stories. I mean talk about a clunker! And yet, you still have a generally readable item, but man, would I not want to come to this thing cold!
While there are a lot of good things here, from the great characters found in The Winter Soldier and Falcon, to the new array of retrofitted Cap villains, there is a huge millstone around the neck of this story - Civil War. I read the trades leading up to this story but not Civil War so I was okay in understanding some of the backstory and motivation. Being a former comic book blogger (reformed) and knowing the general plot of Civil War meant I knew some of the main plots even if I have no idea why Peter Parker is in the black suit. But coming in cold? Nope, this would not be very fun to read at all.
You'd still enjoy the character moments but I could barely piece together the larger picture which kept forcing itself onto the plot. There is almost no way to separate the larger Marvel Universe from the plot of the story and really, that is unfortunate. I have no problem with how the title was both updating itself and honoring its history. Kind of making all the old villains new again, so why not the same with Cap? The idea flowed well, but then we've got someone I had no idea was Tony Stark in a SHIELD outfit, and cap's corpse looking Skrullish.
Part of me just wishes I didn't know the bigger picture but then I'd be completely lost rather than kind of lost and bit disappointed at what could have been a great and timeless story. I guess this is a great example of how comics haven't really changed only rather than getting them out as fast as possible now it's getting them out while meeting some kind of mass crossover content. In both cases you do the best with what you got, only now the reader kind of needs to have a lot of money (or less scruples and a bittorrent connection, I suppose).
What Brubaker can offer is always high quality but what Marvel offers is a bit unfortunate.