Captain America has been on a roll with its latest story arc that has seen Steve Rogers forced to put down the shield and be placed in a special prison. This has been a very different challenge for Steve, who continues to figure out what his position in the current world is. At the same time, this new story arc has challenged Sharon Carter to play a much more active role by creating the group known as the Daughters of Liberty. With the last issue of Captain America positioning Steve to lead a prison riot how will Sharon and her Daughters of Liberty use this as part of their long-term plan? Let’s find out with Captain America #11.
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colorist: Matt Milla
Story Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Overall Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10
Synopsis: At the Daughters of Liberty headquarters Sharon Carter has Toni Ho help her get information to the Dryad, Mockingbird and Spider-Woman, who are each ready in different positions.
Inside the Myrmidon prison the guards try their best to quell a riot that has begun. Steve Rogers is part of the riot and finds himself teaming up with the villains to take down Wolfgang Von Strucker’s special guard.
Steve gives Wrecker, Thunderball and Jack O’Lantern specific orders to try to make their escape easier. They don’t take kindly to Steve giving them orders. Noticing a guard about to fire on them, Steve quickly takes the guard out with a lid, much to everyone’s shock. Wrecker tells everyone to do as ordered while Steve watches their backs.
Elsewhere, Dryad contacts Sharon that she has found the Foreigner and that she moving in on him.
Dryad wastes no time in taking out the Foreigners guards. She then begins a fight with the Foreigner.
Back in the prison Steve continues to lead the prison riot successfully through all the prison’s guards.
Sharon watches this go on from security cameras and spots that Strucker has gotten back up and is at the control room.
In the control room Strucker kicks out the guys in there. Before he can do anything Invisible Woman and Misty Knight appear to quickly knock Strucker out.
Invisible Woman looks at what Strucker was trying to do and figures out he was activating an AI protocol.
Suddenly inside the prison special guards named Americops appear. The Americops quickly start capturing the villains that are taking part in the riot.
Elsewhere Dryad is having a difficult time getting the upper hand on the Foreigner. As their fight goes on Crossbones and Sin show up. Crossobones fires a rocket at the area Dryad and the Foreigner are fighting in.
The explosion sends both fighters flying. Dryad is able to quickly recover but tells Sharon she lost the asset.
Invisible Woman contacts Sharon to tell her they were able to capture Strucker. Misty Knight then uses her arm to disrupt the Americops AI programing.
In the middle of the riot as Steve continues to fight he is knocked out by one of Jack O’Lantern’s pumpkin bombs.
The remaining prisoners then use the subs to escape from the prison while Steve is still knocked out.
Invisible Woman and Misty Knight are able to find Steve and get him, along with Strucker, into their jet.
Steve asks what reason Misty Knight and Invisible Woman have for showing up at the prison. Misty Knight responds by saying he wouldn’t believe it if they told him. End of issue.
The Good: Ta-Nehisi Coates keeps things simple by continuing the prison riot that was started in the last issue and have it carry the majority of the story in Captain America #11. There was a beautiful chaos in keeping the story simple for this issue as the focus became on one giant prison riot. That is not to say there weren’t some intricate plot details woven into the chaos. Just that sometimes keeping things simple is best and Coates understands the strength in going that route.
When it comes to a prison riot it would’ve been easy to just have Steve Rogers easily break out on his own. If Steve just focused on himself than he would’ve likely gotten out a lot faster. But that is not who Steve is. Steve fully understood that he was partially responsible for the chaos going on in the prison with this riot.
Seeing the leader in Steve kick in was a good reminder of one of the traits that makes him such a great character. Coates highlights how Steve can come up with the right plan to maximize his allies no matter how chaotic the situation is. How he got all the villains to work with him by showing them that he easily took out one of the guards with a random lid he found was a great character moment. It was a pure badass moment that was just a natural thing for Steve to do in this situation.
That is were Coates shines most throughout Captain America #11. There is a natural flow to everything that is happening in this issue. Everything made sense in what has been established for each character that Coates has used up to this point. It helps strengthen the character development in earlier issues, making the entire story arc have greater re-readability thanks to the payoff.
This especially helps show how effective the Daughters of Liberty team that Sharon Carter created. Even though you would never think these characters would all work so efficiently with each other they did. And that is thanks to Sharon’s leadership. Sharon is the driving force behind the Daughters of Liberty. Even when things don’t go as plan Coates shows that Sharon, like Steve, understands the team must continue pushing forward. They can worry about all the unexpected players that entered the game after the mission is accomplished.
Invisible Woman and Misty Knight in particular stood out in all this chaos. They turned out to be the perfect counters for all of Wolfgang Von Strucker’s plans as without either one of their powers Steve would’ve stayed in prison. In the process Coates was able to show how Invisible Woman’s powers can be used in a spy setting, as they are actually perfect for this type of role. Similarly, Misty Knight was able to quickly decipher how to quickly take down the Americops that Strucker tried to use.
With how well the Daughters of Liberty’s plan went it elevated how Crossbones and Sin were introduced as wild card players in everything that is going on. This pair works best when they are hired guns who don’t have any allegiances. They add to the chaos going on and are that third party that can help add to the tension of the main plot Coates. Their quick role in Captain America #11 showed that exactly without having them suddenly take over what the story was about.
Now with how Coates ended Captain America #11 he set up several subplots to go along with why Steve Rogers is no longer Captain America. That was already a major moment in this series that Coates is going to be continuing as Steve is now an escaped prisoner in the eyes of the world. There is nowhere for Steve to run that he can stay safe.
This sets up the Daughters of Liberty group that Sharon is leading to play an even bigger role moving forward. Even though they helped Steve get out of the Myrmidon prison their overall mission is not over. What exactly Sharon and the Daughters of Liberty plan to do with Strucker as their prisoner is going to be interesting to find out. And the fact that the mission to get the Foreigner failed there is also the question of how much that threw off the plan Sharon had for when they broke Steve out of Myrmidon.
While they are minor villains Coates was able to create interest in seeing Wrecker, Thunderball and Jack O’Lantern pop back up during his run. He actually gave these and other villains in Myrmidon some dialogue that would add to their characters. That is more character development than any one of those villains has had in years. As Coates progresses in his Captain America run he set these villains up to be part of the bigger story going on. Whether that is becoming part of the Power Elite or a separate group, they have the opportunity to have impactful future appearances.
Adam Kubert added to the chaos of the prison riot with some great artwork throughout Captain America #11. Kubert has continued to adapt his style to fit the type of street-level storytelling that Coates is implementing. He did a good job in showing how there were fights going on all around Myrmidon even as our attention was on Steve. Captain America #11 being heavy on the action just made Kubert be able to show how great his art is when drawing characters in motion.
The Bad: With each appearance The Dryad character is losing steam. This is largely because she continues to come across as a placeholder character until Coates figures out who he wants her to turn out to be. It is a case where the mystery of who she actually is beneath the hood is working against making her a compelling character. Until Coates actually reveals her identity Dryad’s character development will be at a standstill.
It was also disappointing that Spider-Woman and Mockingbird did not serve any sort of key role in this story. They were just pilots used to extract Steve, Invisible Woman and Misty Knight. They never did anything that was key to moving the plot forward. Spider-Woman and Mockingbird are great characters that deserve better than having them stand around twiddling their fingers until everyone else is done with their mission. Hopefully if the Daughters of Liberty continue to work together Coates finds a way to have everyone play a role in each mission.
Overall: With Captain America #11 Ta-Nehisi Coates and Adam Kubert created a fun, chaotic prison break story. The issue moved at a brisk pace and never slowed down even when our focus was split between Steve Rogers, the Daughters of Liberty and other characters. Everything that happened worked in sync with each other and moved the overall plot in “Captain Of Nothing” forward.
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