By Ed Brubaker (writer), Butch Guice & Mike Perkins (pencils), Frank D’Armata (colors)

Wow at Ed Brubaker. I’m disbelief right now. I honestly thought we had seen the pinnacle of surprises with Brubaker’s run on Captain America, but I was wrong! With Captain America #36, he drops a huge bomb on the last page that may just turn out to be the biggest twist yet. With this writer upping the ante every two to three issues, you’d think something has got to give. Yet, from what I’ve seen, that’s not going to be happening any time soon.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not just the ending that’ll blow you away, this whole issue is solid all around. Its only handicap is Butch Guice and Mike Perkin’s art, which can be a bit confusing at times when the action gets heated. Their art is well adapted to (regular Captain America artist) Steve Epting’s style, and because of this, the continuity between issues is kept consistent (excellent accomplishment, guys). It’s also because of these two artists that the book is on schedule too! But make no mistake, these two just aren’t Steve Epting at the end of the day, and consequently, a few panels left me squinting, trying to figure out what the heck was going on.

Small quibbles aside, the action portrayed in this issue is glorious. We finally get to see Bucky kick some serious butt (and also get his butt kicked, too). He’s definitely not the super human Steve Rogers was, but  here’s where the treat comes in: he makes up for this deficiency with dirty play and un-Captain America-like tactics. For instance, one scene has him throwing his shield at a pack of bad guys and then whipping out his pistol to shoot them while they’re distracted. Brilliant.

On the story side, things continue to move along with Red Skull and company finally getting a tad nervous about a new Captain America floating around, while Sharon Carter’s disappearance compounds their problems even more. And Tony Stark? He’s come a long way since Civil War. Seeing him cover for Bucky will restore a lot of people’s faith in SHIELD’s director. Fantastic issue. (Grade: A+)

– J. Montes