Captain America #15
“THE LEGEND OF STEVE” CONTINUES! Steve Rogers’ mission to clear his reputation and to re-establish the good name of Captain America continues, as he and Jessica Drew, Spider-Woman, tackle a familiar old foe who is contaminating the water supply of a large rust-belt city!
After an opening salvo that questioned everything the icon of Captain America stands for in his first year, Coates has slammed on the gas in year two of his exceptional run on Captain America. This arc has already touched on immigration policies, xenophobia, and toxic masculinity, three of the biggest hot-button issues in the nation. Now it would appear the topic of corruption in law enforcement (and potentially the discussions of white privilege that often accompany it) are entering Coates’ narrative.
There are a number of questions surrounding this issue that are dangerous to speculate on and will certainly have a bearing on what form this current discussion takes. We see Angel Larimore, a supposed clean cop, gunned down, which serves as the catalyst to the story. A passing connection to Steve leads Cap to search for information on the slaying which leads him (and the team, through through a separate mission) to the discovery of a shocking compilation of film depicting apparent police brutality. At the end of the film, Coates digs deep into Cap lore and reintroduces The Scourge of the Underworld, a Mark Gruenwald creation from the 1980s.
Scourge for short has had an interesting history with the Marvel Universe in general and with Cap in particular. Historically, Scourge is not a single person necessarily and was designed to thin out the sprawling criminal underworld of the Marvel Universe– a villain killer (or network of villain killers) taking out criminals with the catchphrase “Justice is served!” If indeed we are delving into corruption within law enforcement agencies, a number of questions arise, particularly regarding the status of Angel Larimore. The underlying commentary here will be something to watch as it develops as will the mystery of who this current incarnation of Scourge may be.
As Coates deftly juxtaposes these weighty contemporary topics with a surprising mastery of Cap’s long publication history, so too does Jason Masters couple the story with tonally perfect artwork for the tale. Because this narrative is so strikingly familiar, the less detailed figures deployed by Masters is a counter-intuitive hit here, allowing the reader to subconsciously occupy the page. The backgrounds, by contrast, are highly detailed where the figures are vague, in a sense setting a trap for the reader to become invested in a form of escapism only to be hoodwinked into being forced face to face with uncomfortable topics. Intentional or not, the artwork does an excellent job in that regard.
An old foe returns as Captain America and the Daughters of Liberty investigate a cop killer on the loose as this exceptional run on Cap continues to accelerate in Captain America #15 (Coates, Masters, Milla, Caramagna).
Captain America #15: Justice is Served
Writing - 10/10
Storyline - 9.5/10
Art - 9/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 9.5/10
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