Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #12
The Cold War continues on as Steve, Sam, Misty and Sharon continue their journey to rescue Ian Rogers and stop Bucky Barnes and White Wolf’s nefarious plans. With all of them experiencing different personal issues, can they coexist long enough to defeat their villains or will they self-destruct?
Sometimes the love for a child is more powerful than any threat.
That’s the lesson Steve Rogers faces as he and his friends – Sam Wilson, Misty Knight, and Sharon Carter- race to rescue Steve and Sharon’s adopted son, Ian Rogers, from the clutches of Bucky Barnes and The White Wolf. With Bucky making his grand move as The New Revolution, he needs to take Sam and Steve off the board to win the Century Game and finally beat The Outer Circle. This book pays homage to that particular run while also laying the stage for a climactic battle between each of the men who have prominently wielded the shield as each of their motivations begins to collide.
In Rick Remender’s fun, sci-fi-centered Captain America from 2013, Steve and Sharon were trapped in Arnim Zola’s dimension of mutates and monsters. During this time, they carved out something of a life for themselves, becoming one with the normal humans living there and adopting the child that would become the new Nomad and later Sam Wilson’s partner. Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing do an excellent job of weaving that story into the narrative of their and Tochi Oneyebuchi’s Captain America books. It shows a bit of a flipped characterization between them, with Sam usually being the hothead and Steve taking a measured approach to things. Steve’s steadfastness and need to rush into danger are offset by Sam’s more cautious nature, hinting at a slight tension between the two friends. This helps sell how dire the situation is and how much Ian and Bucky mean to Steve.
On the flip side of the coin, Misty and Sharon get relatively little time to themselves in the story, with a few snippets of Sharon’s anger over the death of Roger Aubrey in the last issue of Sentinel of Liberty. While her own story seems to hint towards her becoming the new Destroyer, I would have liked to have seen Sharon a bit more driven towards Ian as she was as much his mother as Steve was his father. There is also a small moment where Black Widow appears to confront Bucky over his actions, furthering their on-and-off relationship as he asks Natasha to be the person who balances him, ensuring he doesn’t become a supervillain. Interactions between these characters are always significant, and Lanzing and Kelly make sure to make every page and panel between them count.
Taking over art duties for this book after Carmen Carnero, Alina Erofeeva matches the high-intensity action and detail that made Carnero’s run with the book unique while injecting her sense of style and flair into these 23 pages. Erofeeva’s art is fun and energetic, making great use of wide angles to give the book a cinematic feel where it’s needed and a variety of angles to match the tones of every moment of the book. In the more conversational pages, Erofeeva utilizes a lot of close-ups to capture the emotions on the character’s faces, from disappointment to concern; all of them feel palpable and heartfelt.
Her linework in these instances is fantastic, and the same can be said for the action scenes with a ton of broad movements, dynamic posing, and a sense of speed and impact throughout. One of the best examples of this is the fight scene in the book’s final third, where Steve and Co. fight the monsters while trying to make their way toward the portal to Dimension Z. These panels are intercut with other boards of a conversation between Steve and Ian back when Steve first arrived. Through this, Erofeeva gives us a more violent Steve as his shield slams have a little more force and spew blood from the monsters; they have lines indicating how fast he’s moving between enemies, with Sam in the background looking at Steve with uncertainty. One of the best panels in the book is when Sharon is rushing towards one of the monsters in a big panel, club cocked back, face full of raw fury hair and pelt flowing as she sprints and pays off with a furious upwards strike. It’s perfect.
Nolan Woodard’s colors further elevate the art with their tonal match to the story and flickers of vibrancy! Most of this issue occurs in the snow or drab corridors, so unfortunately, there isn’t much in the way of variety that Woodard can use, but he makes the most out of what he has. The whites of the snow aren’t overpowering and are contrasted well by the blues of the Captain’s costumes and the black and reds of the Knight’s attire; they also do an excellent job of complimenting the white of Sharon Carter’s uniform as well without exactly blending in. The same can be said for the beige he uses for the flashback panels between Steve and Ian, as they look incredibly washed out while fitting their nature of reminiscence as Steve remembers these short but tender times with Ian.
However, for the colors that stand out very well, a special mention has to be made to Sharon’s club as it charges and crackles with this black lightning with a red outer glow. It makes for one of the best panels in the book with just how beautiful the coloring is and how impactful the strike was, as I mentioned earlier when describing Carter’s attack. The same can be said for the variety of colors used in the meeting between The Power and The Money as they argue with The Love and The Machine over their losses to the Captains. These panels use bright reds, yellows, and light blues to set their cold, aangrytone.
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty continues the upward trajectory of Cold War and might be one of the best action events of the summer. Collin Kelly and Jackson Lanzing’s writing is fantastic, Alina Erofeeva and Nolan Woodard’s art and colors are amazing and Joe Caramagna’s letters are stellar, and this event is absolutely worth checking out!
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #12 – Return to Dimension Z
- Writing - 8/108/10
- Storyline - 8.5/108.5/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 8.5/108.5/10
- Cover Art - 9/109/10
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