Captain America #21
While Steve, Snap and Bucky continue to investigate and infiltrate Selene's operation at Adamsville, the Power Elite prepares to undergo something of a change in leadership as Alexander Lukin grapples with the monster within.
Captain America #21– the first issue back after the COVID-19 related delays in comics publishing– is an interesting return to Coates’ now two-year-old run. On the one hand, we see a poignant and timely metacommentary on the role foreign governments and powers are playing on the US population in terms of national divide. The Adamsville, Ohio operation that Selene is overseeing uses toxic discourse and weaponized rhetoic to facilate the literal theft of souls. The writing in these portions of the issue is hands down some of the best writing in comics today. Bob Quinn’s art, in particular in these sequences, does beautiful work in storytelling alongside Coates and in particular captures the beauty often surrounding ugliness in America.
On the other hand, however, the book suffers at the hands of a problem faced by a great number of books on the stands today– solicitations and spoilers. Before sitting down to read this issue, I had seen the cover for #25 circulating and the obvious events tied to that cover (I’ll see if I can spare you if you have somehow managed to avoid spoilers) and while it isn’t that the events portrayed here were difficult to anticipate but all the potential of the reveal was stripped of its excitement. As a side result, the actual circumstances surrounding the reveal seemed incredibly vague and underexplored. I would posit this trend as becoming more and more common as a direct result of the spoiler culture we find ourselves in as a fandom. How hard can we expect a writer or artist to work on a surprise reveal that was spoiled– in many cases by the publisher– months in advance? There comes a point where the commercial element overtakes the artistic and when that happens, everybody loses.
Steve Rogers is back on the stands with Captain America #21(Coates, Quinn) as Coates' run begins to build towards a crescendo following the COVID-19 delays.
Captain America #21: Soul Doubt
Writing - 9.5/109.5/10
Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
Art - 8.5/108.5/10
Color - 9/109/10
Cover Art - 10/1010/10
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