Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #9
AIM has take over New York, so it's up to Steve Rogers and his newly formed Invaders to retake the city from Beekeeper control. But there's a menace lurking in the back of their minds - with the revelations from the last issue, what will the villainous MODOC have planned for the Steve and his friends, find out in this issue of Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty!
Steve Rogers is rarely one to share his feelings.
One of the main themes that this current Captain America run has been exploring is the inner turmoil that Cap faces between his identity as Captain America, the soldier that the world looks up to, and Steve Rogers, the artist who hadn’t had a normal life since before he took the super soldier serum in 1943. Luckily, he has many friends willing to talk to him and get the complex answers that he doesn’t even want to acknowledge in himself. In this issue, he gets a grilling from Peggy Carter about his inability to recognize his emotions in regards to Bucky essentially turning on him to join the Outer Circle – claiming that he’s running towards this battle with AIM in an attempt to disregard how hurt he is.
It’s an interesting analysis of how Steve deals with his issues and highlights how much Jackson Lanzing and Collin Kelly want to explore what Rogers and the people around him think and feel. Some of this is expressed with a bit of banter between Steve’s newly formed Invaders as they’re split off into teams to take down the many AIM Scientists that have taken over the city. Redacted the Robot is paired with Nick Fury as they rescue civilians, while Sharon Carter teams up with the elderly Roger Aubrey, the third Destroyer. Because readers are expected to know who Fury and Carter are, Lanzing and Kelly use them to help give voice to Redacted, who’s fighting to live up to Steve’s example and discover who he is, and Destroyer, who aims to keep destroying fascism wherever it may find root.
Carmen Carnero’s art is some of the best that it’s been in this entire series through this very action-packed issue. Everything is intensely dynamic, from the opening double splash page of the heroes exploding into battle with their awesome poses to the many fight scenes in which she uses the fore and backgrounds to capture the broad scope of the battle on every single page. Her lines are crisp and thick, capturing so many details on the page, from debris to the background elements like the honeycomb forcefield that AIM has set up to isolate the city. This also helps to give characters well-defined borders and shading where needed.
Her panel work is astounding as many of them are circular, fitting the thematic nature of the new Invaders fighting the Outer Circle, and others sort of fade in and out of each other, showing the cooperation of Steve’s team to accomplish their tasks. There’s also great use of panel space as every character moment, from punches and kicks to Sharon Carter jumping through a window, is given an excellent angle to capture action and room to breathe while showcasing the fantastic use of dynamic posing. Carnero also does a great job of alluding to what’s going on in the story, as many pages have an inner circle panel of MODOC’s face in the middle of them, indicating that he has something to do with the events of the issue.
Nolan Woodard’s colors help to make the book look even more beautiful than it already is. Because there’s a giant yellow light source in the sky in the form of the forcefield, Woodard has to work with that as the primary background color for most of the issue, giving the book a very tense and fearful tone. Thankfully, this doesn’t negatively affect the colors of the main characters themselves, with Steve’s hopeful mid-tone blues shining through the heat of the battle, Redacted and Fury’s darker greys and blacks indicating their subterfuge, and Sharon Carter’s bright white uniform that twinges with the yellow, but still pops against the bright color.
Though one of the best uses of color in the book has to be when MODOC shows up with a red filter all over his panels, indicating a hostility and rage that Woodard spills out through the gutters connecting MODOC’s panels to the rest of them, it’s a sight to behold and elevates the quality of this book and the art throughout.
Joe Caramagna’s letters shine in their ability to tell the issue’s story. His word balloons float excellently in the few empty spaces in the panels and never cover up the art in a distracting way. He also does a great job of emphasizing the screams of terror of the defeated AIM Beekepers as a few scream with a big, red AYEE as they’re tossed out of a window or have their letters fly out of their bubble as they’re tazed.
This is yet another amazing chapter in the Outer Circle saga, full of action, drama and all of the emotional story beats that anyone who loves Captain America could ask for. Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly, Carmen Carnero, Nolan Woodard and Joe Carmagna are killing it with this series and I can’t wait to see what they come up with next!
Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #9 – Invasion of New York
- Writing - 8.5/108.5/10
- Storyline - 9/109/10
- Art - 9/109/10
- Color - 9/109/10
- Cover Art - 8.5/108.5/10