Comic Book Review: Captain America #19

The Revolution has loved Brubaker’s run on Captain America. This is consistently one of the best comic books on the market. Last issue wasn’t fantastic since it unveiled a cheesy Nazi villain violating the Revolution’s Nazi Rule. However, I’m sure that Captain America #19 is going to be a pretty solid issue. Let’s find out.

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting

Art Rating: 8 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.

Synopsis: The issue starts with Lukin talking with the Red Skull. Lukin tells the Red Skull that he is going to blow up their ship in order to keep Captain America off their trial until they are ready to deal with them.

We then cut to Captain America and Union Jack brawling with Master Man and his posse. (I still can’t believe it is 2006 and I’m still reading about Nazi villains.) Union Jack sees the bomb and alerts Captain America. Captain America then radios Spitfire for help. Spitfire races back from a facility where the truck she was tailing ended up at. Spitfire gets back to the ship just in time to pull Captain America and Union Jack to safety moments before the bomb explodes. We see Master Man flying through the air from the force of the explosion.

We then cut to Bucky cleaning all of his weapons like a scene from Rambo. Bucky is watching the news about the explosion of a freighter and that security cameras showed that Captain America and Union Jack where at the scene at the time of the explosion.

We then shift over to Thames House, the headquarters of the British Secret Service. Union Jack’s commanding officer, Mr. Gavin, is totally chewing out both Union Jack and Captain America for conducting a mission without first notifying M1-5. Gavin continues that M1-5 has been fielding complaints from the shipping company and Kronas all morning. Suddenly, Sharon Carter enters the room and informs Gavin that pursuant to the Prime Minister’s orders that S.H.I.E.L.D. is now in charge of this mission and that both Union Jack and Spitfire are now work for S.H.I.E.L.D. for the next week.

We cut to that night where Sharon Carter and Union Jack sneaking on to Kronas property to look for clues. We then see Spitfire and Captain America in plain clothes paying a visit to Gerry who is an arms dealer in order to get information on the location of the Winder Soldier. At first Gerry refuses to talk to Spitfire and Captain America until with a burst of speed Spitfire takes out all of Gerry’s henchmen. Gerry then tells Captain America that he heard that the Winter Soldier was in town and making a few inquiries about supplies. Gerry gives Captain America of a name of a person who talked to the Winder Soldier, but that it won’t matter since the Winter Soldier is a ghost and they will never find him.

We then shift to Bucky in an underground tunnel. He hides as he sees Union Jack and Sharon Carter approaching down the tunnel. Sharon is mentioning how Kronas has built an underground network between their holdings in London. Sharon then gets contacted by M1-5 and told that they have just had a reported sighting of the Master Race. (It just makes me cringe every time I read such a cheesy name for a team of villains.) Sharon then radios Captain America and gives him the information about the Master Race and tells him that they will meet him at that location. Bucky watches as Sharon and Union Jack walk away from him.

We cut to 20 minutes later where Captain America and Sharon Carter are in her flying car above the location of the Master Race. (Uggh, really, can we get a better villain for this storyline?) Captain America then jumps out of Sharon’s car and plummets through the air and crashes through the skylight of the building. There Captain America sees two dead AIM scientists and a dead skinhead. Spitfire, Union Jack and Sharon then enter the building. Captain America says that it looks like a deal gone bad. Union Jack wonders what the Nazi supermen were doing meeting with AIM scientists. Spitfire then finds plans for an air assault on London.

We then shift back to Lukin wearing the Red Skull mask and talking with Master Man. Red Skull Lukin tells Master Man to calm down. Master Man rages that he wants to kill Captain America now. Red Skull Lukin tells Master Man that he will get his chance to kill Captain America in his next mission in a few days from now. End of issue.

The Good: Captain America #19 was another solid issue. I like Spitfire and her increased speed. She showed that she is a very useful person to have around after she saved Union Jack and Captain America in the beginning of this issue.

I like how we only see Bucky for quick moments and that he has no dialogue. I like that Brubaker is keeping the Winter Soldier a “ghost.” I don’t want to see a lot of Bucky nor do I want a lot of thought balloons or dialogue from him. I want to know he is there, but to not see or hear much from him. I like that the Winter Soldier operates in the shadows. Plus, it makes Bucky look like such a bad-ass that he can stay two steps ahead of S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America and that nobody can find him.

I loved how Brubaker had Captain America jump from Sharon’s car and fall through the air and then break through the skylight of the building where the Master Race was last seen. Brubaker is taking a page from Millar’s Ultimate Captain America by showing Captain America flashing super powered abilities. Plus, it shows Captain America with a more impatient attitude and a bad-assed side that his character has not always had.

The scene with the dead RAID scientists and the dead skinhead establishes a connection between RAID and the Master Race. It should be interesting to see where Brubaker goes with this. And it appears that this air assault on London is going to be the tap to lure Captain America out so that Red Skull can turn the Master Man loose on him.

Captain America #19 was well written and has good dialogue. I like how Brubaker is handling Bucky. The longer Brubaker keeps the Winter Soldier a “ghost” the better. I also like this relationship between Lukin and Red Skull. Even though these two men hate each other they certainly do make quite a formidable team.

There are so many anticipated occurrences in this comic book. First, the inevitable conflict between Red Skull and Lukin. Second, the inevitable meeting between Bucky and Lukin. Third, the inevitable meeting between Captain America and Bucky. All of these should highly interesting and definitely very violent.

As always, Steve Epting’s artwork is excellent. Epting’s style isn’t normally my favorite style, but for Captain America Epting’s art is perfect. I love the dark, gritty and realistic look of Epting’s artwork. The art compliments Brubaker’s storyline and makes Captain America an enjoyable comic book to read.

The Bad: Again, I just don’t dig Nazi villains. Master Man not only has a ridiculously lame codename, but he is also a boring and stereotypical villain. Unfortunately, a storyline is only as strong as the villain. Since I find Master Man to be a terribly uninteresting villain, it is making this storyline a bit uninteresting as well.

In general, I have liked Brubaker’s pacing. However, I felt that Captain America #19 wandered a bit too much. The pacing just feels a bit too slow. This storyline also doesn’t not seem as tight or as complex as Brubaker’s previous issues. This issue seems to lack the usual focus and direction that Brubaker’s previous issues of Captain America have had.

Hopefully, this is just a temporary bump in the road. However, with Brubaker continually adding Marvel titles to his plate, I worry about the quality of his writing in Captain America. When writers take on too many titles, they end up mailing it in on at least one of their titles.

Overall: Captain America #19 was a good issue, but nothing great. I think this was probably the weakest issue so far in Brubaker’s run on this title. I thought it was ok, but usually I am blown away by Brubaker’s Captain America. I don’t know if Brubaker is hitting a bit of a slump or is losing some of his focus, but this issue just was not as entertaining as the rest of his run on this title. I still would recommend Captain America to new readers because I think that overall Brubaker’s run has been great. It is normal for a title to have a couple of weaker issues.