writer: Rick Remender / artist: Stuart Immonen / Marvel Comics
Issue #5 of Marvel’s All-New Captain America continues the well-established trend of the series, which is exceptional pacing and powerfully insightful monologues delivered by Sam Wilson, a.k.a. Captain America, b.k.a. Falcon. But this glimpse into the Marvel Universe shows how it continues to pull tricks out of its sleeves.
In this month’s issue of All-New Captain America, we see another of Steve Rogers’s former adversaries underestimating Sam’s ability to fulfill his new role and presenting an obstacle for him to overcome to prove himself. Picking up where we left off, Baron Zemo has his steel sword mere inches away from breaking through Sam’s chest and puncturing some vital organs. Proving that, although he’s new to the red, white and blue spandex, he’s no wet-behind-the-ears rookie, Sam sacrifices short-term pain for his long-term survival. Sam shows amazing mental fortitude and, once again, pushes on when everyone counted him out.
To continue his rally, he shows how he brings another facet to Captain America that no one else could. Sam summons all of the birds within range in the Florida Everglades to swarm and eat the millions of fleas that were just released with the intent of infecting the world’s population. On top of that, they took down the ship that was carrying the source of the infection who shot Sam a few issues back at point-blank range. To make matters ever better, we see the return of Nomad. How, do you ask? Through great writing tools that show that no one in comic books stays dead (unless you’re the parents of someone important). The issue leaves us with Red Wing’s uncertain future (vampire-falcon..??) while Cap fights to stop the new-Hydra’s contingency plan.
One of the best things about this issue, however, was the opening scene. The opening scenes in this series appear to be reserved for contextual flashbacks, and in this month’s issue we see a flashback of a civilian-dressed Sam Wilson overhearing how the world really feels about him. A disgruntled father complains to his daughter about how Sam Wilson isn’t his idea of “the embodiment of this great nation” and how he feels that the only reason Sam was given the shield was because society has gone soft with it’s overly liberal, affirmative action influenced tactics. Of course, the daughter challenges this way of thinking. But the best thing about this scene was that it flirts with breaking the fourth wall by showing how self-aware it is given that the entire page was a printed metaphor for how people in the real world feel about the decision to make Sam the new Captain America.