Ed Brubaker, (Writer) Rob De La Torre,(Artist) and Frank D’Armata (Color Art)
First off, Ed Brubaker’s run on Captain America has been nothing short of fantastic and if you aren’t reading it, then you should be. While last issue’s continuity heavy twist could have easily confused readers that were unfamiliar with Cap’s history, Brubaker handled it extremely well and it came across as a very natural part of the story. With Captain America #39, the story takes a bit of a breather as all the pieces begin to fall neatly into place as the final act of the Death of Captain America arc nears its conclusion. While this issue is fairly slow, it does a fantastic job ratcheting up the tension another few notches and is an absolute must read for those that have been following Brubaker’s epic story.
Captain America #39 gives almost all the main players a chance to contribute to the story. Bucky and the Falcon work to put the pieces together as Gordon Wright, the Red Skull’s political puppet, continues to rise in popularity (as the Third Wing presidential candidate). The “fake” Captain America makes a public appearance that rocks the media and excites the public. Sharon Carter tries to come to her senses as she lies drugged up in a hospital bed next to the Red Skull’s daughter, Sin. The only characters missing are the Red Skull, Dr. Faustus, and Arnim Zola, but I’m sure they will be back in full force next issue.
As usual, Brubaker’s writing is really the star of the show. The inner monologues that drive this issue are fantastic. The setting of the story, the political climate that has been created, reflects reality without feeling as though it is trying to drive home a message. It really feels as though this world Brubaker writes about is driving forward whether or not the characters are present and everything feels a bit more realistic than most superhero books because of it. Brubaker is masterfully juggling characters, a story, and a political setting to make Captain America one of the most compelling reads each and every month.
The artwork in this issue is strong, but not perfect and I will explain why. I really enjoy the style and tone of this book because it really compliments the story being told. Rob De La Torre’s pencils, while not quite at the level of Steve Epting, help give the story more realism and depth, while D’Armata’s colors create a mood that matches the tension of the story. The problem I have is that faces appear inconsistent and some expressions tend to draw me out of the story. Also, some of the action can be confusing because of the dark colors used throughout the issue. These really are fairly minor complaints considering that this is still one of the better looking books every month, but worth mentioning nonetheless.
Captain America #39 does nearly everything right and now the stage is set for an explosive conclusion to the epic Death of Captain America arc. I honestly can’t wait to see where this goes from here. This book really is a prime example of how the medium has the potential tell a work of fiction that rivals some of the best novels out there. (Grade A-)
– Kyle Posluszny
A Second Opinion
I’m gonna keep this short because I agree with most of Kyle’s sentiments. My main issue is that while I understand the need for the set up, I’m beginning to get fatigued from the expository dialogue and what I feel is a story that’s being dragged out a bit too long. At this point, the current story arc feels like it’s being written more for a trade paperback than a concise story. What we’ve been given over the last two issues could have easily have fit into one.
Believe me, I’m enjoying this story as much as anyone else, but the lack of reaction from the super hero community when this “new” Captain America appears is something I find annoying. Tony Stark, SHIELD, hell, everyone would be all over this. So where are they, Brubaker? Because everyone in their right mind knows that Captain America would *never* endorse a single candidate. It’s not his place.
Lastly, the cover art, while stark and beautiful is one of the biggest pieces of false advertising I’ve seen in a long time. I mean, come on, if these two are gonna rumble, show it in the comic! (Grade: C+)
– J. Montes