Continuing my read-through of the Brubaker Captain America.Such a good read.
Captain America v5 #7-14
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting, Michael Lark, John Paul Leon
Quick Review: I could almost end this review by just referring to my review of the earlier issues. Great spy action. Mysteries wrapped in mystery. Compelling character work that feels steeped in history. There is a moodiness and a heaviness that comes with these issues so I can see how it isn’t for everyone, but I do think that anyone who likes comics should give this run a chance.
Spoilers Lurk Below
Analysis: I’ve heard it said that a character should only be killed off if the death is a better story than any new stories that could be written with that character. There are plenty of stories out there that don’t follow that rule. Issue #7 follows it to the letter especially when we consider the likelihood of Jack Monroe coming back. That said, this is a very depressing issue. Yet somehow Jack’s decent into madness feels very appropriate for who this character is. I never read his solo series, but I am pretty familiar with his 80s appearances. As unpleasant as his ultimate fate it it feels like a better farewell than the handling of D-Man (also important to that era.)
If issue #7 is about establishing a death, the rest of the arc is about establish a rebirth. Bucky has long been one of the few characters that was unthinkable to bring back (like Uncle Ben.) That these issues succeed in doing the unthinkable says more about there worth than I likely can. The reason is all in here. The how and the why are all in here and even the where has he been. Brubaker gives us all this information in an effective and engaging manner. The more I read the more I want to read and see more more strings form on the expanding over-plot.
Oh, and the reveal that the Red Skull is still around? Hot damn. Is it the cube that is turning Lukin more brutal or is it the influence of the skull. Must read more!
The art continues to be perfect when supplied by Epting and Lark. I keep thinking of it as muddy, but in a way that fits the spy nature of the story. As for the John Paul Leon issue (#7) I’m trying to figure out my feelings. It is very capable with strong storytelling, but there is something about it that doesn’t excite me. Perhaps it is less the art itself and more that it is stylistically similar to the Lark and Epting art without being as satisfying.
Wrap Up: The Brubaker run is easily the best Captain America work down in the past two decades. Maybe longer. These opening arcs are also where Brubaker is at his strongest. Put simply, this is the comic you give to people are aren’t sure if they would like Captain America.