Captain America #6
With Aleksander Lukin returned from the grave, the newly reunited Lukin's play catch up on what Aleksander has missed. From Alexa's recruitment of Grigori Rasputin and Selene through the Power Elite's silent ascension during Secret Empire, much is revealed in this issue.
By the issue's end, we see Alexa's carefully constructed plan to strike down not only Steve Rogers but the very iconography of Captain America itself begin to unfold as Steve finds himself framed for a crime and sought out for questioning by Fury and Bucky.
In a world full of bright colors and ostentatious power sets, Coates and Yu set out to examine power dynamics that directly oppose the easily seen. When one thinks of the power of Captain America in the Marvel Universe, his speed, strength, reflexes, healing, etc. typically spring to mind. Here, Coates highlights the true power of Captain America as a Nationalist icon– a beacon of hope to his country, beyond those arbitrary borders and geo-political landscapes, what are the full extents of this power? The loss of trust of the United States masses built in the previous installments begins to come to a head here as Alexa Lukin examines how fragile Nationalism-based power truly can be and acts upon that fragility.
In her quest to destroy the vision of Captain America, Lukin has turned to another national icon in the figure of the historical Grigori Rasputin. Rasputin was a holy man, a wandering monk and alleged sorcerer in Russian history, having served as something of a cleric to Tsar Nicholas II’s son and wife, Alexi and Alexandra respectively. In a somewhat obscure comic, links to the X-Men Colossus and Magik (Piotr and Illyana Rasputin, as well as their lesser known brother Mikhail) are established between these Rasputin’s and Grigori, marking him as their paternal great-grandfather, but I believe outside of that minor reference, this issue marks his first appearance in Marvel’s 616 universe. Rasputin, too, held a tenuous grasp on power in his lifetime, a life extended in his comics form in service to the “justice of history”.
So too, the previously odd recruitment of Selene, an immortal mutant with vampiric psychic powers, finds itself falling in line with notions of the immortality of icons and ideology. It would appear that Coates is gesturing towards a notion that power– true power– comes with a implicit notion of sustainability (immortality) and if power dynamics are to be altered, that sustainability must be struck down.
Stunning art and intelligent writing combine to make "Winter in America" one of the most power and relevant arcs of 2018. The conclusion to the first arc of Coates/Yu era delivers on all fronts.
Captain America #6: Who Wants to Live Forever?
Writing - 10/10
Storyline - 9.5/10
Art - 9.5/10
Color - 9/10
Cover Art - 9.5/10
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