Nick Spencer (W), Angel Unzueta (A), Cris Peter (CA)
Cover By: Angel Unzueta
Publisher: Marvel Comics
So, this title has turned out to be a bit controversial. Gee, the comic book community and closely tied internet community reacting vehemently to a character identity change that also happened to be a change in race or gender? Never. Honestly, I don’t really get it. I mean, I know the reasons why these backlashes happen, but I don’t get it. The fact that there wasn’t nearly as much controversy over Bucky Barnes (my number one guy) taking over as Captain America a few years back doesn’t really help any arguments about it simply being about the character change. Plus, Steve Rogers was still in comic books, primarily the Uncanny Avengers, and he showed up frequently in the Captain America book itself.
Now that a good portion of you have probably already stopped reading, let’s get to the comic itself. I was excited when I heard that Nick Spencer was taking over Captain America. His Ant-Man title was and is one of my favorite Marvel books. His short stint on Avengers World was a fun read too. His Captain America: Sam Wilson title has not disappointed in the slightest.
The book stars the titular Sam Wilson along with supporting characters Misty Knight, Demolition Man, and Redwing the vampire/cyborg/falcon. The book immediately delved into metanarrative with one of the primary themes being about Sam coping with the media and many of the populace rejecting him as Captain America. He and Steve Rogers are feuding over Sam defending an anonymous hacker known as the Whisperer. His public relations are further hurt by him holding a press conference where he makes his political stance known. The book assuages explicitly stating what his political views are.
That being said, the book does make its own ideology apparent. I honestly enjoy that aspect (I miss the old opinionated Green Arrow books), but I do understand that many people are really touchy when it comes to politics in their comics.
The first story arc is about Cap going down to Arizona to respond to a missing person’s case. A man named Joaquin Torres has gone missing. He was taken by the Sons of the Serpent whom have been targeting immigrants crossing the border. Cap takes them down, and is challenged by Steve Rogers while doing so.
He tracks down Joaquin. Doctor Malus was given Joaquin and other hostages by the Sons to experiment upon. He has been fusing people with animals, and has spliced Joaquin with Redwing. He also captures Sam and turns him into Cap-wolf. Misty comes to the rescue, and they take down Malus. They learn that he is being funded by a remade version of the Serpent Society called Serpent Solutions, who now operate in the corporate world.
Sam teams up with Diamondback to challenge Serpent Solutions, but she betrays him. Joaquin comes to the rescue, and the two manage to take down Serpent Solutions. Joaquin decides to become the new Falcon to Sam’s Captain America.
From here, the story ties into Standoff: Assault on Pleasant Hill. I did a rundown on that story in my Standoff/Darkseid War editorial. Sam’s part in the story is primarily him teaming up with Bucky and Steve to help control the situation. Steve is also given is youth and strength back during this story.
The series so far has been paced very well, and the characters are very enjoyable. Sam Wilson is still growing into the role of Captain America, but he is showing that he can live up to the shield. He is a character with very defined morals, and he is very easy to root for. The supporting characters are enjoyable, and the villains have been entertaining. That being said, the series hasn’t put out a particularly memorable interpretation of a villain yet.
The current issue picks up in the shadow of Standoff. Sam is angry over Maria Hill trying to get the Avengers to sweep the Pleasant Hill incident under the rug, and he and Steve agree that they will expose the debacle once Kobik is tracked down.
Sam is also dealing with the push to get him to give up the shield intensifying now that the world knows that Steve Rogers is back in action. He and Steve hold a press conference where Steve publicly endorses him as Captain America. A supervillain known as Chance shows up and crashes the party. Sam takes him down, and Steve commends him for it in front of the crowd. Chance tells Sam that he is angry that Maria Hill hasn’t been brought to justice yet, as he was a prisoner at Pleasant Hill. Sam starts questioning his strategy. The issue ends with militant cops calling themselves “the Americops” threatening street dealers.
The art in this issue and the previous ones has always been solid. Acuna did the first few issues, and his style is pretty unique. The art in the current issue is a little blocky-looking at times, but it looks good on the whole.
This issue gives me a little vindication after the ending to Standoff. It was good to see Sam and Steve agreeing to bring down Maria Hill as soon as the opportunity presents itself. It’s very much within their character to be angry what Maria for what she did at Pleasant Hill. Joaquin and Demolition Man give some good comic relief. It’s nice seeing Sam and Steve cooperating again after the first few issues of the story. The character development is done well too. Sam has been the “fight the power” Captain America, and seeing him going back to this after Pleasant Hill is nice. The action sequence with Chance is well-done and very kinetic.
I loved this issue. It plays to the character and the book’s strengths. Sam is anti-establishment, and this story gives him a good opportunity to do what a Captain America does best: stand his ground. The pacing is done well, and it’s a nice breather issue after Standoff. This title has been really good, and this issue continues the trend. Give it a read.
Issue Score: 9/10
Series Score: 9/10