In the wake of Secret Empire, Steve Rogers is trying to get back to the people.
CAPTAIN AMERICA #696
Writer: Mark Waid & Chris Samnee
Artist: Matthew Wilson
Cover Artist: Chris Samnee & Matthew Wilson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
What You Need to Know:
Steve Rogers is attempting to rebuild his life and start fresh after the events of Secret Empire. After stopping an evil Captain America, Steve is looking to make the symbol of Captain America mean something again. And to begin with, he’s trying to connect back with the people he means to protect.
What You’ll Find Out:
On the road and looking for a new place to settle down. Steve Rogers finds himself in a small town called Sauga River. Some place a little north of Atlanta. Steve stops by a diner and asks if he can do a little work in order to buy a meal. Instead, being who Steve Rodgers is, is immediately recognized by the owner and told he eats for free. Everyone in the restaurant recognizes Captain America and rushes to meet him and get a picture. Being a small town that Sauga River is, this immediately makes news and Steve Rodgers is all over television.
Oddly enough, a new Swordsman is also in that town and uses the opportunity to challenge Captain America. This Swordsman has rigged the damn to open and flood the entire town if Captain America doesn’t stop him. With a vibranium sword, he proves to be a tougher challenge then Captain America anticipates. While Rogers eventually defeats and subdues Swordsman. The floodgate on the dam opens and Captain America is forced to attempt to shut it manually. Using the Swordsman’s own sword as a lever and fulcrum, Cap closes the floodgates and saves the town.
What Just Happened?
Waid and Samnee are not just set on getting Steve Rogers reconnected with the people. This issue is a back to basics approach to comic book storytelling. Hero shows up, bad guy happens to be there. They throw down and the hero wins. It’s a by the numbers issue and it would work if it didn’t feel like Steve Rogers really isn’t suffering any backlash from Secret Empire. The people love him and even after saving the town, the restaurant owner tells Steve he should leave before they throw him a parade. So for my part, I’m asking “what just happened?” Not over what transpired in the comic itself. It’s a simple issue like I said. But what exactly is the overlaying meaning behind it? That an evil Steve Rogers can’t do anything to tarnish the name of Captain America?
As for the art, Samnee and Wilson give just as back to basic panels as anything I’ve seen since the 70’s. This might fit other people’s taste on comic book art but it’s too simple to me. But perhaps that’s what Captain America needs to be right now after all the convoluted storytelling that was Secret Empire.
Final Thoughts: As a story it’s fine, there’s nothing particularly wrong with it. Except, if the intent is to take Captain America in a different direction…then the point of this story means nothing. Steve Rodgers didn’t suffer anything. He’s still loved and admired and people want to give him free lunch and parades. This isn’t exactly a fresh new beginning or a different road for Captain America. Nothing has changed. And that’s a real disappointment as they really have the opportunity to tread new ground with this hero. Steve Rodgers could have finally felt what it was like to be Spider-Man or the X-Men as they are hated no matter how good they do. As a reader, this is just a letdown.