Comic Book Review: Captain America #20

This week was a nice one since we were treated to a double shot of Brubaker. Even though I think that Daredevil is now the stronger read, Captain America is still a great title. Brubaker is delivering is trademark wild ride and I have a feeling that it is only going to get more interesting. It is a Monday and I’ve needed a few extra mugs of Café Bustelo just to get through this morning.

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Steve Epting

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

Synopsis: This issue starts with Sin and Crossbones loading up a Cessna airplane with tons of explosives. Their plane is to fly the small plane into Kronas’ new building in London during their grand opening.

We then shift over to Captain America and Sharon. Captain America is confident that the plans of an air attack that they discovered are going to take place during Kronas’ grand opening gala. Captain America wonders why Lukin was sneaking into the London underground. That he must be up to something.

We then cut to the Winter Soldier in the London underground snooping around where Lukin was in the earlier issues. Bucky finds something and questions how Lukin could not about this. The Winter Solider gets an angry expression and curses Lukin as he heads out of the underground.

We then slip over to later that night where Spitfire asks Steve if he and Sharon are a serious item. Steve says that she seems more serious than he would have thought and that he keeps expecting her to break it off at any moment.

We then zip to the next day at the new Kronas building and their grand opening gala. Sharon and Captain America are patrolling the air in their S.H.I.E.L.D. flying car. (It is a Porsche, by the way. I would think that an American spy agency would probably have a flying Crown Victoria or Impala. That would be more fitting. A big ugly flying cop car.) Captain America suddenly spies a blimp and says that the blimp must be what Lukin is going to use for his attack.

We then shift to inside a bathroom in the Kronas building. Lukin is talking with the Red Skull in the bathroom mirror. Lukin comments that he is the better tactician; after all he killed the Red Skull. The Red Skull retorts that maybe it was all part of his plan to get inside of Lukin’s head. Red Skull tells Lukin to go back to the party and learn how things are done the Red Skull’s way.

We then cut to the cockpit of the blimp. Master Man is choking the blimp’s pilot telling him to turn the blimp toward the House of Parliament. Captain America crashes through one of the cockpit’s windows. And with that we have a fracas! Spitfire then grabs Union Jack and performs a super speed jump into the blimp’s cockpit. The two then join the fight against Master Man and his henchmen. Spitfire took out one of the henchmen handling the explosives, but her super speed move set the blimp on fire.

We then shift to Lukin at the party standing on a balcony. We see the Winter Soldier with his sniper rifle with Lukin dead in the middle of his crosshairs. Lukin smiles. The Winter Solider is startled and wonders why Lukin is smiling. Bucky then sees the burning blimp crashing to the ground. Bucky yells out for Captain America.

Captain America tells Spitfire and Union Jack to take the blimp’s crew and abandon the blimp. Captain America stays behind to make sure the blimp crashes the Thames so no one gets hurt. Captain America guides the blimp toward the river and then he and Master man tussle and fall out of the cockpit of the blimp.

Captain America grabs onto a ledge of a building. The blimp crashes into the river. Suddenly, Sin and Crossbones come flying onto the scene in their Cessna full of explosives. Sin and Crossbones grab their parachutes and jump out of the Cessna as it heads toward the Kronas building. We then see Lukin being told by Red Skull to “push the button.” Lukin responds that he already did.

Suddenly, we see a massive robot burst through the street next to the Kronas building. Red Skull calls the robot “the Sleeper.” The robot blasts the Cessna into pieces before it can hit the Kronas building. Captain America and Bucky both react in horror upon sight of the robot. The Red Skull then tells the robot to let them know that the Red Skull has returned! End of issue.

The Good: Captain America #20 was packed full of action and excitement! Brubaker continues to do a wonderful job on this title. Brubaker had slowed the pace up on this title for the past couple of issues. This is vintage Brubaker. Brubaker likes to take his time to set the table, lay a solid foundation and get all of the players into place before he unleashes all chaos. He did that in Daredevil and is now doing it here on Captain America.

Everything that has taken place in the past couple of issues has been leading up to this volatile conflict that came to a boil in this issue and is going to boil over in the next issue. Brubaker has me on the edge of my seat and I cannot wait for the next issue.

We have so many different players with different motivations. Crossbones and Sin in their plot to get revenge on Lukin for killing Red Skull. And the irony is that Lukin is actually combined with the Red Skull, so Crossbones and Sin would be technically killing the Red Skull. You have Lukin with his plans and competition with the Red Skull. You have the Red Skull and his competition with Lukin. You have Captain America, Spitfire and Union Jack trying to take down Lukin. You have Bucky trying to kill Lukin. And now, we have a giant robot being unleashed on the streets of London! C’mon, what more do you need? Brubaker is a master at weaving a complex and multi-layered storyline full of excitement and surprises. It is a rollercoaster ride full of unexpected turns and twists.

Brubaker also serves up some nice dialogue. Brubaker has a great feel for each character and the dialogue comes across in a nice natural style. Brubaker is excellent at character development and I am enjoying Spitfire and Union Jack more and more with each issue.

I am also liking the relationship between Sharon and Steve. I’m curious to see how long Brubaker is going to keep these two together. Personally, I’m glad Steve has a relationship with someone. He has so much pressure and responsibility on his shoulders that he needs someone that he can turn to for support and love.

Crossbones and Sin are a match made in heaven. They are a nice wildcard couple designed to spice up any storyline.

Of course, I love how Brubaker is handling the Winter Solider. We see more dialogue and panel time for Bucky than usual. Brubaker has been keeping Bucky in the shadows with minimal dialogue. I think that is perfect. The longer that Brubaker keeps Bucky separate from Captain America, the better. Personally, I never want these two to ever work as a team again.

But, the best dynamic in this title has to be Lukin and Red Skull. Brubaker is doing a masterful job with these two rivals. The scene in the bathroom was vintage Red Skull. The Skull messing with Lukin making him think that he allowed Lukin to kill him just so he could get into his mind and pull off the rest of his master plan while using Lukin as his tool. Brubaker is making the Red Skull such an incredibly diabolical villain.

Epting’s artwork was excellent as always. Epting’s art is perfect for Brubaker’s dark tone for this storyline. Brubaker and Epting make a fantastic team for Captain America.

The Bad: No complaints at all.

Overall: Captain America #20 was another fantastic issue. Brubaker and Epting are cranking out an excellent read. Captain America, Daredevil and X-Factor are probably the three best comics being published by Marvel right now. And it is no surprise that Brubaker writes two of those top three comics. Captain America #20 ended on a real high note and I cannot wait for the next issue.