Daily Archives: February 6, 2008

Quick Critiques – Feb. 6, 2008

Captain America #34 (Marvel Comics)
by Ed Brubaker, Steve Epting & Butch Guice

Brubaker grabbed my attention immediately with this issue, immersing America in more extreme versions of real-world problems. Who would have thought the mortgage crisis would be the result of a super-villain’s machinations? The socio-political foundation of the opening scenes brings credibility to the fantastic story, but this comes as no surprise given Brubaker’s strength as a comics writer. Unfortunately, that strength fades as the plot shifts to the introduction of the new Captain America. His and Black Widow’s confrontation with a bunch of faceless villain henchmen is rather disappointing. It feels so familiar and conventional; it’s a cliched scene that doesn’t merit the space dedicated to it. Brubaker has done some surprisingly good work when it comes to the resurrected Bucky Barnes, but casting this damaged hero as an icon of American patriotism and idealism seems like a misstep. Perhaps he means it as a commentary on the fractured nature of the country in the 21st century, with the focus on red states and blue states instead of the American dream. Still, it doesn’t consistent with the Winter Soldier’s character. Alex Ross’s new Cap design makes sense in this context, as it combines the brightness and iconic qualities of the original cap costume with Barnes’s darker, black-ops nature. Unfortunately, it lacks a visual pop. Epting and Guice’s artwork throughout the issue is strong, in keeping with the realism and social disasters that are integral to the overall appeal and atmosphere of this era of Cap comics. 6/10

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