Captain America is still “dead” and that is allowing Brubaker to place the various supporting characters like Bucky, Sharon and the Falcon into the spotlight. The last issue was a solid read and I fully expect Brubaker to deliver another dependable read in Captain America #27. It appears that we are in store for plenty of butt kicking courtesy of the Winter Soldier. Let’s do this review.
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Steve Epting & Mike Perkins
Art Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Story Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Overall Rating: 7 Night Girls out of 10.
Synopsis: We begin with a news conference by Tony Stark. Tony announces the roster for the new Mighty Avengers. Tony states that there will be no new Captain America. That Steve Rogers was the only man worthy of that honor. That Steve’s costume and shield are on display at the permanent Captain America exhibit at the Smithsonian.
We cut to Bucky entering the Smithsonian. Security is pretty tight to get into the Captain America exhibit. Bucky notices at least six ways to get in and out of the exhibit room with the shield. That means that the Shield has to be a fake. That in a year or two, Tony is going to trot out a new Captain America. Bucky thinks how no one isn’t worthy to carry Steve’s shield. Bucky then thinks that he was looking for a way to make his first move and that it might as well start with his.
We shift to Sharon Carter in her bathroom with a gun to her head. Sharon wants to pull the trigger, but she can’t bring herself to do it. Sharon sees an image of Dr. Faustus in the bathroom mirror mocking her that she can’t pull the trigger. Sharon smashes the mirror in anger.
The Falcon then arrives at Sharon’s apartment. The Falcon tells Sharon that the Winter Soldier has gone off the grid yesterday. Evidently, Bucky has already compromised some of Fury’s assets. The Falcon says that Nick Fury wants them to track Bucky down and stop him from killing Tony Stark.
We cut to a SHIELD scientist examining the Nick Fury LMD that Fury was using to spy on SHIELD. The scientist tells Tony Stark that the LMD is no longer broadcasting. The scientist says that it is safe to assume that SHIELD’s security is compromised. That anyone from the Red Skull to Doctor Doom to Nick Fury could be behind this. Tony orders red alert status until he can decide what to do next.
We shift to Bucky watching SHIELD move Captain America’s shield due to the security breach found with the Nicky Fury LMD. Four different armored trucks leave in four different directions. Bucky keeps waiting and then sees a single car leave the facility. Bucky knows that is where the shield is. The SHIELD car begins to fly and Bucky uses his metal arm to wound the car enough that it can’t fly. Bucky then wonders who Tony entrusted the mission to move Steve’s shield.
Out of the car steps the Black Widow. Bucky is stunned. Karpov’s Department X and Red Room experiments were all connected. Bucky helped train Black Widow. That a long time ago the two of them made each other feel human and then were punished for it. Having to fight Black Widow makes Bucky torn up inside. Bucky takes down Black Widow and grabs Steve’s shield and leaves the scene. We see Sharon and Falcon arriving on the scene after Bucky has already left.
We cut to Black Widow asking Tony Stark why she didn’t tell her that the Winter Soldier was involved in this mess. Tony said that only Steve believed that Bucky was alive and Steve wanted to keep it quiet so Tony respected that wish.
Tony comments that he didn’t know Black Widow and Bucky had a history. Black Widow tells Tony that Bucky isn’t working for anyone on this mission. That it is personal and that Bucky doesn’t trust Tony with Steve’s shield. Natasha tells Tony that she believes that the Winter Soldier blames Tony for Steve’s death and that Bucky is going to come after Tony. End of issue.
The Good: Captain America #27 was a good read. Brubaker moves the story along at his trademark measured pace. Brubaker is steadily placing the various pieces into place with LMD being discovered, Bucky falling off the grid and the insertion of the Black Widow into the storyline. Brubaker knows how to let a story unfold organically and even though Brubaker isn’t a fast paced writer, his stories are never slow or dull. I love that Brubaker is taking his time with this storyline. Captain America will be back soon enough. Until then, I want to enjoy watching what his supporting characters do in his absence.
Brubaker serves up plenty of his always well done dialogue. Brubaker has an excellent feel for each character and knows what type of external voice to give them. Brubaker also engages in his usual excellent character work. Part of what makes Brubaker such an excellent writer is his belief that strong character work should be the foundation for any story arc.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that Brubaker doesn’t know that you always need some action to keep an issue from being terminally slow. The fight between Bucky and Black Widow was well timed and necessary to pick up the intensity of this slow issue. And it is always great to see the Winter Soldier kicking some ass.
Brubaker continues to do a great job with Sharon Carter. The scene with Sharon in her bathroom was excellent. Brubaker is able to convey the trauma, shame and pain that is overwhelming Sharon. And to make matter worse, Dr. Faustus has taken steps to insure that Sharon cannot end her own misery and kill herself. Payback is going to be a bitch if Sharon can ever get her hands on Faustus.
I love Brubaker’s Bucky. I totally dig Brubaker’s vision of the Winter Soldier. Brubaker gives the reader a wonderful insight to Bucky’s mind and how he feels that he is on a mission of honor. It makes perfect sense that Bucky would believe that no man will ever be worthy enough of carrying Steve’s shield. And yeah, you know that at some point in the future, the government won’t be able to help themselves from creating a new Captain America.
Brubaker’s Bucky is an enjoyably complex and tormented character. What I dig the most about Bucky is that he readily acknowledges what a mess he is. How he is nothing like the man Steve Rogers was. And despite Bucky knowing that he is unstable and out of control, he still can’t help himself from engaging in a mission that he knows will only serve to place Nick Fury and his allies in trouble.
I liked the twist of Bucky and Natasha having a history together. This should provide for another level of drama and tension to this story arc. Will Black Widow be able to stay loyal to SHIELD and the Mighty Avengers and do her job of taking down the Winter Soldier? Or will she waver at the moment of truth and betray Tony Stark in order to help her former lover?
Of course, the appearance of the Black Widow in this issue begs the question of just who has Black Widow NOT slept with in the 616 Universe? Daredevil, Iron Man, and Bucky all have a history with Natasha. Hasn’t Hawkeye also slept with her? Seriously, this ho gets around the Marvel Universe. If it moves and has a dick, Natasha will probably sleep with it.
Epting and Perkins provide plenty of quality artwork. Normally, I dislike art by committee on a single issue. However, Epting and Perkins’ styles of art compliment each other nicely.
The Bad: Brubaker’s Tony Stark pretty stiff and generic. Brubaker doesn’t have a good feel for Tony’s character and it shows in the fact that we get basically the same one-dimensional dick that we have gotten on every title outside of Iron Man and the World War Hulk issues.
Overall: Captain America #27 was a solid read. Brubaker is delivering an interesting story involving all of Captain America’s supporting characters. We are certainly in store for a wild ride as we loom toward the inevitable conflict of the Winter Soldier and Iron Man. Mix in the Black Widow, Sharon Carter and the Falcon as wildcards and we have all the makings for an interesting story.