by Rick Remender (Writer), Carlos Pacheco, Mariano Taibo (Artists), Rachelle Rosenberg, Rain Beredo, Val Staples (Colorists)

The Story: After the capture of Nuke, Steve Rogers and Marcus Johnson tries to reason with him and understand why all of this happened. Unfortunately, the Iron Nail has other plans.

The Review: We never set out to buy bad comics. Unless someone has some clear enjoyment of really atrocious piece of sequential arts, enthusiasts of this specific art form are always on the lookout for something enjoyable, something a certain level of quality that is always subjective to every specific reader. Looking for familiarity, authors that have impressed us or subjects that interest us, there is always the search for quality and the hope that each subsequent issues in a series turns out to be a good.

It is with that general sentiment that I continued to read Captain America, despite the fact that the arc set after the pretty solid first 10 issues wasn’t nearly as good as the big sci-fi story that opened things up. Rick Remender is usually a writer that is able to bring quality to what he does and Carlos Pacheco is a solid artist, yet there was something missing. With the madness that was imprinted in the story now gone and not replaced, the story in general lost a bit of its luster, which made my patience become a bit thin after a while.

Fortunately, things began to get a bit better in the latest issue, with things staying consistent in terms of quality. With this issue, Remender provides for a couple of neat developments and explanations for some of the concepts he introduced, giving a bit more to his story and the potential direction of the title in doing so.

The first thing he does right here is deepen and actually cement his handle on characterization, with characters like Steve Rogers, Nuke and even the Iron Nail being a tad more defined and interesting in this issue. Giving a more nuanced approach to both Nuke and the Iron Nail, they become more interesting as not everything is as black and white around them, with the motivations and actions of the Iron Nail gaining a bit in credibility thanks to his manifesto, or the fact that Nuke tried to mimic Captain America in his own way in Viet-Nam makes their general action and reactions either a bit more tragic or much more understandable.

Of course, it’s his handle on Steve Rogers that seems to have cemented a bit with the hero and general symbol that Captain America is that is pushed forth in the various interactions he has with others. His view on soldiers and their difficulty to adapt to calmer environment shows a certain growth for the character, yet without delving too much into territory that is alien or redundant to the character in itself. The way he also tries to play the general spy game is also a nice little throwback to the Brubaker era of the title, which indicates that the character has not lost its root despite the general problems and new elements added by Rick Remender.

The art is also rather good this time around, with the Pacheco’s selling this story rather well for the most part. While there is a certain lack of action and a certain restraint in expressive motions for characters, the evocative poses makes up a bit for the somewhat limited range of emotions for some characters. While there are certain occasions where the emotions are subtly and nicely portrayed on the pages, there are other times where it’s either too subtle or simply non-existent, which doesn’t help in scenes that rely a bit more on character interactions and emotions. Still as it may, the general handle of Pacheco on scenery and composition is still very good, with characters and various elements posed in a way that evoke a great many things, with him playing aptly with depth and the like to sell the various environment on the pages.

What’s a bit more impressive, though, is the colorization on display here, with Rachelle Rosenberg assisted by Rain Beredo and Val Staples. The particularly sharp colorization at times evoke a bit of Steranko’s stylistic Nick Fury: Agent of S.H.I.E.L.D. trippy visuals, showing a great deal of primary and rather preeminent colors. Playing a lot with red, blue and a good deal of other minor colors on the side, the colorists here give a good number of apparent, yet effective contrasts, such as Captain America being cold and bright in a room with massive red hue, or the highly eclectic patterns of the Iron Nail being very visible in the more nuanced and realistic background he can be in. It’s a mix of overly obvious and subtle techniques that provides a good diversity to the visuals, which is what the issue does need with a high number of dialogue scenes.

The Conclusion: With some good handle on characters, a few surprises and some potential shown for the future of the book, Rick Remender shows a certain progress for the series that is welcome. With a rather good visual direction as well, this issue is one worth the time of those interested in the ongoing adventures of Steve Rogers.

Grade: B

-Hugo Robberts Larivière