By Ed Brubaker (writer), Steve McNiven (pencils), Jay Listen (inks), Justin Ponsor (colors), VC’s Joe Caramagna (letters & production)

The Story: Ameridroid (!) draws Cap out for a battle, while Sharon must contend with Baron Zemo.

What’s Good: We as readers are very lucky that Steve McNiven is penciling this issue. Extended fight scenes (which is essentially what this issue is) can become dull and repetitive very quickly, but thanks to McNiven’s pencils, this ends up being quite a lot of fun. There’s not a whole lot to sink your teeth into in terms of character development (although Steve Rogers does have one very nice moment towards the end, contemplating Ameridroid’s nature), but what this book does provide is the sort of fast and fun action that comics do better than any other medium out there. Brubaker does an excellent job of using the tools at his disposal to create an excellent series of action set pieces that are well paced and a great deal of fun to sit back and take in. The action gives McNiven an excuse to really let lose for the first time in the series as well, which is a pleasure to watch unfold.

What’s Not So Good: There’s not a whole lot to objectively complain about here–the issue is what it is, and succeeds in its mission quite well. Personally, issue-long fight scenes aren’t my thing, especially coming from Ed Brubaker; I read Brubaker books for the writing and intricate plot-weaving, not the action. (That’s one of the reasons I enjoyed his initial Captain Americaq run so much.) I can’t fault him for branching out and delivering a different sort of Cap story here though, especially when it seems that the espionage and intrigue will be carried on in Captain America and Bucky. So while this may not be my particular cup of tea, if this is what you ARE looking for, it’s a fine example.

Conclusion: Action-packed, with a lot of big exciting fight sequences, but not a whole lot in terms of character or plot development. Still, the fights are very well done, and its hard to complain when a book does what it sets out to do so well.

Grade: B-