Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist(s): Steve Epting, Butch Guice
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: Daring do by Sam and Natasha and a daring escape for Bucky.
Commentary: I’m starting to get repetitive in my praise for this solid series. Yet again Brubaker and Epting gives us a thrilling issue to sink our teeth into. There’s the added bonus of having Butch Guice in on the art chores this issue too. What a treat! The “new” Captain America has already been revealed in market adds so it’s now no surprise to me if Bucky indeed fills the boots of our beloved Sentinel of Liberty. I’m just going to go on record saying that that’s exactly what will happen. Brubaker and company have done a great job in grooming Mr. Barnes for this role. They’ve given him a solid ensemble cast in Falcon, Sharon, Iron Man and the Black Widow. All of them are full fledged characters with solid backgrounds and personal issues of their own. He’s put Bucky through the crucible of the great and classic Cap villains and it’s still not over. We get a new AIM splinter group this issue in RAID. What do you do when you need visually appealing canon fodder for heroes breaking into a hidden facility? Create another splinter group of terrorists. It works every time.
That continues to be the greatest thing about Brubaker’s writing. He takes the cliché’s of the espionage/super-spy genre and employs them to startling effect. Of course he’s been blessed with a great art team to help him along the way. Butch Guice’s inks over Epting’s pencils this issue just ratchet up the quality on this book even more. Unlike World War Hulk, which seems to be fizzling out after a monumental start, the death of Captain America clips along on a continual roller coaster ride. We get a lumbering menace in Doctor Faustus. He’s made all the more sinister because even though physically imposing he prefers to mess with your mind but is not beyond breaking your body too. We get a maniacal, ranting Red Skull whose single-mindedness of purpose is as chilling as ever. Captain America is the comic to read for near impossible James Bond physical stunts and escapades. Just take a gander on how the Winter Solider is ultimately “freed” from Faustus’s clutches. It’s just plain cool writing and visuals.
The countdown to the new Cap has begun ticking down like a time bomb and unlike the drudgery of the Distinguished Competition’s “Countdown” the tension and anticipation are high. Hopefully the conclusion to this storyline will be as explosive as the build up has been.
Final Word: Get ready for a Cap of our time to explode upon the pages of history. This may well be a next generation replacement that actually works.
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