Continuing my re-read of the Brubaker run on Captain America. This covers the Civil War period which, while a neat idea, never quite crossed over into being a good story. Rereading this I had a worry that the big event would completely disrupt the strength of the comics. Does it?
Captain America v5 #22-25
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Mike Perkins, Steve Epting
Quick Review: So Steve Rogers is hip deep in Civil War. What do you do to keep this comic interesting while promoting the spy feel of the preceding 21 issues? You turn that attention towards Sharon Carter and the rest of the supporting cast. Every page here is tense and moody and full of depth. It builds up the importance of Cap while never detracting from the supporting cast. Basically, it is awesome.
Spoilers Lurk Below
Analyses: These comics came out about 10 years ago. Who knew that they would fill me with nostalgia? But look how much the Marvel universe has changed in those 10 years. These issues make me realize how much I miss having the actual Nick Fury in this world and how much he added to it just be being a secretive force for good that you were never sure if you could trust.
It’s also hard not to read these comics and not compare them to the comics of today. This story is setting the grounds for the coming of Bucky Cap. Of course you could argue that this whole volume was working towards that purpose. In today’s realm of transitions happening either over the course of a scant few issues or effectively happening off panel (as with the case of Thor) this feels so much more organic. They are laying the groundwork in a way that suits the plot without it just being a quick “and this happens!”
But how can I praise this story without praising the art? Whether it is Perkins or Epting you are getting some fantastic art and storytelling. Everything is drenched in shadows that makes our little government world feel composed of intrigue. (Or course Brubaker’s plots make sure that is true.)
I have to love how the flow of Drums of War (issues 22-24) take turns showcasing Sharon, Bucky, and then Captain America himself. It highlight these important characters will giving us an issue that celebrates Cap and what he stands for will not shying away from the hero versus hero angle of Civil War. It reminds us that Cap is a hero and a legend.
And then comes issue 25.
The opening of 25 reminds us of the origin of Cap and the arrest over in Civil War. It gives us his history in a way that never feels like a simple info dump. It all feels important and is expertly paced. They make his last action a heroic one. Saving a life of an officer taking him into the courthouse. They make us feel the loss of Cap by giving us personal stories of his friendship.
Cap dies. I forgot how quickly we learn that Sharon Carter was the shooter. It isn’t a long drawn out mystery, we learn in the very same issue that she is responsible for, or at least a part of, Steve Rogers’ death. What a brilliant move in the chess game that is plotting. Rather than waiting for a reveal that could be anybody, we are thrust into caring how Carter is going to deal with the repercussions of what she did. Rather than going for vague, we move to personal. It’s brilliant.
Wrap Up: As you can tell, I really like these comics. I mean a lot. Brubaker guides the ship through the minefield of an company wide event and still furthers his plot and furthers our interest. There were a few areas where I was a little confused as I’m not rereading Civil War, but all the important elements were covered in the story. I hate to say it, but I’m having so much more fun with Brubaker’s Cap than I am with the current run headed by Spencer.