By: Ed Brubaker (Writer), Steve Epting (Pencils)

It’s no secret that Captain America is one of the best comics being published today. In Captain America #34, Ed Brubaker cleverly finds a way to incorporate America’s faltering economy into his Red Skull storyline while Cap finally makes his triumphant return. Yes, people have had some reservations on this new Cap and his brandishing of firearms, but Brubaker gives us a very logical explanation for it. And it’s honestly, it makes perfect sense when you consider the person behind the suit.

Steve Epting’s art continues to get better with each issue. The darker overtones of the story are conveyed by the mood he brings with his use of shadows. It adds a lot of grittiness and realism to the story. My only qualm is the inconsistencies I’ve seen with Black Widow. Now, I’m not sure who’s fault it is, but in the Avengers books she has very short hair, while this book has always featured her with longer hair down to her shoulders. Marvel editors: I’m looking at you. There’s also a “Lost” easter egg in the book. Did you catch it? I know it’s advertising, and I’ll admit I was distracted by it, but it was actually kind of cool to see.

This issue is phenomenal. Everything we’ve been reading since Captain America’s death has been leading up to this issue and it pays off in a big way. And while it’s Cap’s turn to shine once again, this is probably one of the darkest days of the Marvel Universe since Steve Roger’s death last year. (Grade: A+)

– J. Montes