Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates / Artist: Leinil Francis Yu / Marvel Comics

Captain America’s best adventures mostly fall into one of two buckets—a thinly veiled criticism of U.S. politics or a spy-movie where he gets to investigate and beat up foreign threats. The first few issues of Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run with the character blends both.

Issue #5 picks up in what would essentially be the climax of a James Bond movie. The only thing keeping the hero from saving the girl who’s strapped down to a table is a foe who’s got him in the corner. In this instance, “the girl” is Peggy Carter and the foe is Taskmaster.

The first few pages of the issue are devoted to a fight between Cap and Taskmaster and it handled masterfully. It shows Cap’s wealth of combat knowledge against a capable opponent and lays out just how unlikely is it that he always finds a way to win while still making it understood that he will.

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After handling Taskmaster, Steve makes his way to the lab where he rescues Peggy. This is when the story appears to zoom out and go back to a wider lens by focusing on the context surrounding the latest events. The smear campaign against Captain America is full effect and an ill-intentioned foreign power has managed to get its claws deep into the minds of both the most vulnerable and most powerful of citizens.

We’ve gotten to see Steve get his hands dirty—literally, he was in a cave—but it appears that the future is ripe for a political thriller. If you’re a fan of Coates’ previous work, in or out of comics, this should give you a smile as you’re fully aware of the depth of knowledge and specificity of speculation he can bring to the arena.

It’s also appreciated that this issue got the story moving. A new arc should be on the horizon soon and it’ll be a good opportunity to reset the game board and introduce some big pieces to shake things up.

8.2 out of 10

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