Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #8
Captain America's symbol was never his. He and Bucky Barnes have been pawns in someone else's plot since World War II and they never knew. After uncovering a centuries long conspiracy in the form of the Outer Circle, can Steve Rogers and his friends take down the shadowy organization or will their machinations continue to affect the lives of the entire world without recourse?
AIM has taken over New York and the Avengers are unable to intervene. So it’s going to take Invaders to get the job done.
One of the most interesting things about Kelly and Lanzing’s Captain America story so far is their focus on Steve’s relationship with his closest friends and allies. For decades, Steve Rogers has been supported by the people around him; from Falcon or Diamondback to Sharon Carter, Bucky himself, and of course The Avengers. But there has always been one element that has always been lurking in the background, the one thing that’s been a part of his character most predominantly in the movies and seldom touched upon in the mainline Marvel Universe: Steve’s loneliness and his need for connection and companionship. Throughout this run, Kelly and Lanzing have given Steve Rogers a regular life with civilian friends while also acknowledging his long history of superheroes and weaved them together into this burgeoning epic where Steve has to fight an underworld that he didn’t know existed, but doesn’t have to shoulder the weight of the fight alone.
Over the last few issues, Kelly and Lanzing have had Steve deal with losing his best friend for the second time as Bucky becomes the new Revolution in the game played by the mysterious Outer Circle, choosing Steve as his new Star Point. The writing pair have had Steve assemble a crew of friends to stop the Outer Circle’s game, but the deck is still stacked against him. Kelly And Lanzing establish that The Power, The Money, The Machine, and The Love have had their hands in world affairs for at least a century – so the threat that they’re capable of when they back an organization like AIM not only elevates the Beekeepers but shows the strength of their positioning and the challenge that Bucky and Steve are facing.
This issue in particular shows how effective AIM has become with the right push as Steve and his allies have had their secrets extracted and partial memories erased by a new form of MODOC before they put up a barrier around Manhattan to keep anyone from stopping their nefarious plans. This does an excellent job of showing that Steve and his allies can’t become complacent dealing with an organization that had mostly become a joke in recent years, including their portrayal in The Avengers game, because they managed a complete takeover of the city in only five days.
Carmen Carnero’s art and Nolan Woodard’s coloring in this book are an absolute treat to enjoy.
Carmen Carnero has a style that is uniquely suited to this kind of Captain America story in that she has an eye for awesome establishing shots and montage moments that capture the scope of the story. She balances the fine line of calm, character-driven moments and action-heavy set pieces in a way that helps the story flow excellently, giving each scene time to settle and breathe before moving on to the next. One of the best examples occurs when Steve, The Carters, Fury, and a few others regroup to figure out how they lost a week’s worth of time and they sit along the outskirts of Kansas with Aaron Fischer, the Cap of the Railways. Carnero shows the beautiful vistas and open plains of the American Midwest and these characters contemplating their next move amidst the chaos shown to readers in the previous pages.
Said previous pages show off the totalitarian state of the moment with AIM taking the citizens of Manhattan hostage with their hexagonal barriers blockading the city. Carnero expertly captures the chaos of scientific militarism with the beekeepers torching Steve’s apartment while his civilian friends try to get in contact with him and have to contend with the terror of the villains. Carnero shows their concern and fear while also showcasing their cunning as they do their best to escape the complex through fire escapes. There’s a large feeling of tension in these pages as they generally appear helpless in the face of lightning guns and flame throwers.
Woodard’s colors help to amplify the tension in the aforementioned scenes through the use of dark yellow and orange colors to sell the fear that AIM is able to create in the city and the danger that they’re capable of as well. Later scenes make use of brighter yellow and greens to imply that while Steve is afraid for the people of the city; his grounded nature is going to keep him going in the fight against The Outer Circle and their current tool of destruction. Though I would say that his best use of color occurs when Steve seeks the help of Emma Frost to help him and his allies regain their memories.
Woodard places Emma’s mindscape in a deep red coloring with Steve and the others colored in a light blue – this helps to convey the torture that MODOC put them through and the idea that their spirits were initially broken during it. It serves as an excellent contrast to the nature of both sides. Steve and the others are trying to do good and blue is usually a color that indicates freedom and inspiration, something that Captain America creates in spades, while the dark red elicits a feeling of pain or rage. This helps to show that this new version of MODOC is even more terrifying than the normal one that they’re used to encountering and that they’ll need to plan extensively to defeat him as well.
This is certainly gearing up to be a Captain America story for the ages. Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Carmen Carnero, and Nolan Woodard and building an epic that could be on par or greater than the last few Captain America runs. The storytelling and mystery is fantastic, the art is amazing and the complete package is well worth the read!
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #8 – Designed only for Control
- Writing - 9/109/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9.5/109.5/10
- Color - 9.5/109.5/10
- Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10