"American Psycho, Part 2"
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artists: Dan Jurgens (p), Tom Palmer (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: As Captain America wakes up, his return from the dead is explained away by his unique metabolism, which placed him in a deep shock that resembled death. Captain America then heads out to deal with the fake Captain America who has been on a one-man rampage against America's enemies. Needless to say a fight between the two men quickly erupts, as neither one is willing to concede that the other has a valid point. By issue's end, one of them is dead.
Comments: I didn't care much for the scene where Captain America springs back to life, as it's a bit like Christopher Priest couldn't even be bothered to come up with proper resolution to this plot development so he hopes that by offering up such a dismissive moment that readers won't be able to cry foul. However, given I entered this story knowing that Captain America wasn't dead I guess I really shouldn't have been overly surprised when Christopher Priest essentially confirms the obvious. Frankly, I wish he had made Cap's return something more than a throwaway scene that had to be dealt with so we could move on to the real story. As for the rest of the issue the book picks up the engaging debate between Captain America's idealized view of the American way, and the fake Captain America's decidedly ruthless, might-makes-right spin on America's global policy. Now as is the case with all good debates, there is some merit to both arguments, as Captain America's view of the world is far too idealized, but on the other side of the argument the fake Captain America's take is so devoid of moral responsibility that American policy would be little better than a simpleton mindset that would only serve to inflame conflicts rather than resolve them. The ideal method would seem to rest somewhere in-between the two, and Christopher Priest deftly represented this balancing act with the character of the Falcon, as he spent most of his time in this series shifting back and forth between the two sides of the debate. However when one takes a step back it's pretty easy to see that the Falcon's actions certainly were the most effective. If not for the accident where Captain America was struck down by a stray bullet, it would be quite easy to state that the Falcon represents the ideal example of how one should move through the moral quagmire that the world has become. The question of what happened to the Falcon is also an interesting mystery that I hope will carry over into Christopher Priest's next project for Marvel.
Dan Jurgens is not really my favourite artist, but he's doing a pretty impressive job lately of making me question why I'm not a fan, as his work on this issue is actually quite solid. The centre piece of this issue is the big battle between Captain America and his more ruthless double, and the art conveys sheer intensity of this battle as the two men deliver a number of wince inducing attacks. In fact, the four page sequence where the two do battle is an amazing looking sequence, and Dan Jurgens deserves the highest praise I can offer. The action practically leaps off the page at the reader. The scene where the fake Captain America decides to end his life was also well presented, as was the one-page spread where Captain America is allowed to deliver the big, fight ending punch. The last page image also nicely mirrors the dramatic intensity of the cover image, which is actually a pretty rare accomplishment.
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