Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting, Mike Perkins
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Crossbones gets busted out. Tony Stark gets to mole hunting. Natashaís back on the rooftops. The Winter Soldier swings into action (literally). Lukin and the Skull have a standoff. The Falcon and Sharon bust A.I.M. heads until Sharon has head troubles of her own. Buckyís caught between ĎBones and Sin.
Commentary: I was going to start off this review by saying, ďBring On The Bad Guys!Ē because itís seemed to me weíve seen a lot of the good guys running around looking for the bad guys but not a whole lot of the bad guys showing up. I re-read this issue, and the bad guys do abound after all. I guess what Iím looking for is more of that triumvirate of evil we saw a few issues ago in all out fiendish action. The Red Skull, Arnim Zola and Dr. Faustus, and letís not forget that Dr. Doom popped up in previous issues too. Iím not complaining, just aching to see all of these classic villains come out of the shadows and reveal their master plans for Global domination. Brubakerís given us a bunch of the secondary villains the past few issues. Sin, The Serpent Squad, Crossbones, A.I.M., etc. Nothing wrong with this, but I want the bigger and more bizarre villains to get center stage for awhile. Still, Brubaker continues to give us a good read month after month much like his work on Daredevil.
Brubaker gives us a lot of story in a single issue, and Epting is just as much the story teller visually that Brubaker is script wise. Brubaker seems to give us his best with titles like Captain America and Daredevil. His team book, Uncanny X-Men is a good read too, but it seems to me he does better with individual heroes than teams. This writer and artist team continues to give us that classic Lee and Kirby Cap vibe while keeping it very modern. I like the nods to classic renditions of these characters from the past too! Check out the pages of The Black Widow gliding across the rooftops in her dark costume and classic wrist blasters. These scenes bring me back to her days with The Champions and Daredevil. This is much better than the gun-toting version we get in Bendisís Mighty Avengers. I love watching The Winter Soldier leverage The American Flag to infiltrate Lukinís skyscraper in none to subtle fashion. This shows visually what we are getting story-wise. Bucky is back on Americaís side!
Next up we have the confrontation between Lukin and the Skull inside of Lukinís head. The imagery is brilliant with Lukin using a monolithically impressive version of Stalin to try and crush the Skull while the Skull declares heís moved beyond his dreams of resurrecting the Reich and has his own plans now. Personally, Iíd like to see Johann permanently usurp Lukinís mind and come out into the world in his full evil glory. Sam and Sharon mopping up the floor with A.I.M. troops is always a welcome sight, just like Cap beating down some Hydra agents just before his demise. These scenes never get tired because they are iconic and appeal to our desires as Americans to see terror avenged. Itís a logical progression to see Sharon become ill mentally and physically whenever she pulls a trigger. The torture over Steveís shooting is all-consuming and complete. Wouldnít it be? Brubaker does things that make sense.
Steve Eptingís and Mike Perkinís art is the best itís ever been. I remember Epting from years ago on The Avengers, and this just blows those days away. Epting is one of my favorite artists these days because darn it, he can tell a story! Heís one of those artists who if you take the words away he still tells you what is going on very clearly. If this book was just a series of splash pages and poses like so many comics today you wouldnít get that. Last but not least, the cover just rocks! It pays homage to the Steranko era on this book while hinting at all the drama on the inside. Once again a good job by all.
Final Word: Another consistently good output by Brubaker. Epting and Perkins are turning in quality art on a regular basis too. They make you look forward to the next issue!
What did you think of this book?
Have your say at the Line of Fire Forum!