Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Mike Perkins
Publisher: Marvel Comics
This issue concludes a two-part interlude, and Ed Brubaker must have grown up in a circus because he's juggling plots like they're bowling pins. Despite having relatively little maneuvering room, he manages to touch upon every subplot he's introduced in the last sixteen issues: Synthia Schmidt and her boytoy continue their rampage, the sexual tension between Sharon and Steve comes to a head, A.I.M. is still disintegrating, and we get an update on Bucky. Even Lukin gets pulled back into the mix.
It should feel cluttered. Hell, it should feel schizophrenic. But it
doesn't. Everything is connected, all the threads are woven together, and I have to give kudos to Brubaker: I honestly wasn't sure if he could pull off the "meta-arc" approach, but he's doing a damn impressive job of it.
Of course, the downside to the meta-arc is that there isn't much point in reading the series in single issues - you're not going to find a lot of standalone stories here. In terms of accessibility, you pretty much have to start from square one because everything is being used and reused here.
Still, you don't often see this kind of long-term planning at Marvel. And if you've been reading the series for a while now, you'll certainly enjoy how things are unfolding and playing themselves out.
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