10/10 Captain America continues his fight against the army of Nuke soldiers, but does the government even want Steve’s help? Does anybody still trust Captain America?
CAPTAIN AMERICA (2018) #2 “Winter in America: Part 2”
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Leinil Francis Yu
Inker: Gerry Alanguilan & Leinil Francis Yu
Letters: Joe Caramanga
Cover Artist: Alex Ross; variant covers by: Travis Charest; Ron Garney & Matt Milla; Jack Kirby, John Romita, & Dean White
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Publisher: MARVEL COMICS
As Cap continues fight back against the army of Nuke-bots that still blame him for the events of Secret Empire, Steve is brought face to face with just how much trust he’s lost with the public and the government alike. Following a pep talk from Sharon, Steve talks about bargains for power (this may link back to Secret Empire, which I am in the process of reading now) before he enters a holographic VTC with T’Challa and a delegation from Wakanda to discuss the current Nuke problem and presumably the link to the Power Elite.
The majority of this issue is read through Steve’s inner monologue as he works through his feelings on the current state of affairs. In the first two pages, Coates presents an interesting discussion on masculinity, a topic not unfamiliar to those who have read Coates’ non-comics work. Coates has typically discussed masculinity in connection to black bodies, particularly in the ways that the US social structure imposes a sense of masculinity on black men for a variety of reasons (see “Manhood Among the Ruins” for one example). Here, we see Coates tackle a very different notion of masculinity—one that unhinges time and looks at man’s relationship to war and violence.
Men “doing what men do” seems to be a central theme that Coates intends to explore in this series. With the clear and unavoidable connections to our current political climate in the United States, there almost seems to be a connection to the “Make America Great Again” notion, not in a necessarily negative manner, but in a thoughtful and complex way that recalls “The Greatest Generation”, of which Steve is a member. We see the continuation of this struggle with his own development as Steve trains in his holographic boxing ring, fighting against himself. It could be read that he is wrestling with the problem of having had his face be the face of the Hydra invasion, but at a deeper level, perhaps Steve is sparring with his very nature and the differences in the generation he was raised versus the generation which he occupies.
The depth of the narrative is met beautiful with the striking artistic brilliance from Yu, Alanguilan, and Gho. The page layouts vary from a very traditional, almost Kirby-esque structure to moments in which Cap seems uncontainable by mere frames. The Alex Ross cover, which features Captain America holding a flag that is on the ground, has sparked enough internet “discussion” that Alex Ross had to come out and state that Steve is picking the flag up. The fact that he had to make such an announcement is unfortunate, but in either instance, the cover is as fitting as it is gorgeous. Is Steve lifting the flag up, symbolic of an attempt to raise the nation back up after a national tragedy? Or is Steve, in his use by Hydra, the reason the flag is on the ground? Perhaps both or neither. Art should be open to interpretation, not critiqued into a static meaning by pedants.
Final Thought: A masterful first two issues that reminds readers from all walks of life what power can be held in the magic of comics narrative.
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