Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates / Artist: Leinil Francis Yu / Marvel Comics
Alright, we had our fun. Ta-Nehisi Coates did what he had to in Captain America #3 by bringing together the titular characters from both of his series—Captain America and Black Panther. The partnership was enjoyable, but not so long that it took the story off track.
In issue #4, we get back to some of the best parts of Captain America stories: espionage, self-examination, and a veiled critique of the good ol’ U.S.A.
Issue #4 of Captain America picks up with Steve on the pursuit of Sharon Carter’s kidnappers. Fortunately, some Wakandan technology was able to help him do so. Now it’s just a matter of getting to her.
Meanwhile, Sharon, in the middle of an old James Bond movie and strapped to an operating table while her kidnapper monologue’s about how their shared history motivated all of this. After you get through these necessary steps of set-up, the story gets deeper. We learn that a Russian agency made a concerted attempt to win over the hearts of Middle America’s forgotten sons after the H.Y.D.R.A. takeover in order to gain power. In what was likely a surprise to them, their plan was more successful than planned once they found that the fractured federal government was vulnerable and practically there’s for the taking.
Any of this sounding familiar yet?
I was just talking to a friend the other day who’s been reading comics for more than 50 years. He took the time to put me on game that some of Cap’s best stories came back when he was used as the embodiment of the United States, only to then be forced to look at the flaws of the country the represented.
If issue #4 tells us anything, Captain America is back where he belongs.
Marvel’s highly unlikely to make their books reflect reality too closely, but if you read this series from a contemporary lens, it’s brilliant. And a nice poke in the ribs to the “leave politics out of my comics [that are actually about politics…]” crowd.
I’ve heard some say that Coates action scenes aren’t the best. In response to that, I say:
1.) Look at the fight from this issue and see if that changes your mind.
2.) Leinil Francis Yu makes every move, step, and expression look real.