Captain America #3
Frozen out by the government he has served for decades, Steve Rogers finds himself once again hunting for answers to the source of the Nuke-bots and what powers are truly pulling the strings in the post-Hyrda United States. Seeking answers in Small Town America, Steve finds evidence of a new player, calling themselves Power Enterprises, filling the void that the fall of Hyrda left behind. With Wakanda backing him, Steve makes a move on a Nuke-bot factory run by Zeke Stane hoping for answers to the larger power behind the domestic attacks and finds out that there is an unidentified, high-level US government official feeding the organization. Meanwhile, Sharon finds herself hijacked and face to face with the psychic vampire, Selene!
Over thirteen years ago now, Captain America found himself embroiled in the debate between Security and Liberty in the United States, a debate sparked by the tragic events that occurred on September 11th, 2001. The verse has changed, but the song remains the same, and in 2018, Steve Rogers once more finds himself in a nation torn apart by differing philosophies, and once more an outcast in such a world. Joe Evers speaks a story so familiar to many of us the lines between his world and ours become blurred. A small town, built on industry, abandoned as industry leaves the United States in the ever-spreading march of globalization. Along comes hope in the form of new industry but at a price. Hydra revitalizes Small Town, America with promises of a new industry, a return to greatness borne on the back of the military industrial complex, but what place do ethics hold in a battle for survival? This decision to embrace Hydra is not an ethical one. The Joe Evers’ of the nation is desperate for change—a chance to reclaim what was once a promising future full of hope—no matter the cost.
The underlying conspiracy in which forces in Washington have turned on one another is also not an unfamiliar tale. Again, the narrative reads in service to questions we all too often fail to ask: Who benefits and what is the cost? For those who would read Coates’ work (or perhaps more often not read it) as another platform for social justice propaganda, I would urge you to look closer at the pages of Captain America, for what is at work here is the truest power of the medium. Coates provides a sympathetic narrative not to the extremes of the political spectrum, but towards the center, towards the vast majority of the public who are just trying to live from one day to the next. “How could somebody vote Trump for President?” has become a battle cry, but for the Joe Everses of the nation, this story is the response. Safety or Liberty? Never are both offered and rarely are both had.
Here, we see Cap struggle with the same questions. The exploitation of US Soldiers into Nuke-bots and the necessity to shut down the operation at any cost could be among the most defining moments of eighty years of Captain America comics. Steve is afforded the choice between security and liberty in a way that these Soldiers were not. That the town was not. Now, Steve has stripped that town of the means of prosperity in the name of the moral high ground, but at what cost to his own soul?
Coates and his stellar team of creators are grappling with all these issues and more in this current run and handling each harrowing moment with grace and aplomb. It leaves one to wonder if there can be a decided winner in this war, or if in the end, when we fight amongst ourselves, we all lose?
Another excellent entry in what is sure to be a historic run for the Sentinel of Liberty.
Captain America #3: It’s a Gutcheck of What You Believe
Writing - 10/10
Storyline - 10/10
Art - 10/10
Color - 10/10
Cover Art - 10/10
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