When you are tired and really have no brain power, but you want to read, what do you do? I tend to pick up what looks like an easy graphic novel or picture book. This time I picked up a what looked like an easy graphic novel. And while there was not a lot of “Deep Thoughts” to Captain America: The Ghost Army, it was not as “fluffy” as I thought. But then again, I should have realized that Alan Gratz would not write “fluffy fluff” but would write serious and fun with our favorite Captain (or at least up there in the Top 10 to 15). This is a fun, adventure graphic novel. It is different from the Marvel movies, and I am not sure how close to the original stories.
Bucky is only 15 (and someone please tell TV Robin that Bucky has stolen his look) and Captain America is only a few years older but seems older because of Super-Solider Serum. Bucky grew up an orphan on an army base, while the origin story of Steve Rogers seems to follow what I know of his transformation. We are not fighting Hydra, but we are fighting the Nazis, a couple of wizards and ghosts (which are real ghosts and movie magic ghosts). There are polished illustrations with medium to busy detail but are also fun which give both a classic look and modern feel. Such as we see what I assume a 1940s Captain America would look like, but also has the smoothness of art from today. Brent Schoonover made familiar and comfortable illustrations, but hey have the comic book feeling to them as well. At one point, there is a Scooby-Doo-like reference (the heroes use holograms to project movie monsters), and yes, this lighthearted tone is there, but there is also a serious to it. Everything is colorful and bright, but you can also tell the “bad parts” with how darker colors and shadows are used. The fact they are glowing, zombie looking former Nazi soldiers flying around helps, too.
There are a few modern tendencies and sentiments within the themes. You see how the Japanese solider was recruited by saying he was getting out of the internment camps, and the sentiment of “what we did was wrong” and you do not call Bucky’s love interest a Gypsy, but the action, fighting and the Hero vs. the Bad Guys is the focus. All ages could read this, but probably best for stronger eight/nine to about 13-14. Normally I do not reread books like this, but there is something about it that makes me want too. It might not become a classic, but it will be one your child will enjoy.