Comic Book Review: Captain America #29

Brubaker continues to deliver gem after gem on this title. It is amazing that Brubaker could “kill” off Steve Rogers and still make Captain America an incredible read. Personally, I hope that Brubaker holds off bringing Captain America back to life for as long as possible. I’m simply having too much fun watching all the supporting characters carry this title for a while. I’m confident that Captain America #29 will be a great read. Let’s do this review.

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artists: Steve Epting & Mike Perkins

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: We begin with Tony and Mariah Hill watching the video footage of Sin and the new Serpent Squad tearing their way through a SHIELD subcarrier and free Crossbones. Maria says they don’t know how Sin and the Serpent Squad got inside. That it appears that Agent Stansfield simply opened the door and let them in. Maria then tells Tony that the dozen SHIELD agents who were supposed to pickup Crossbones to take him to the Helicarrier are all missing. Tony responds that there is a mole inside of SHIELD and they need to find it and trap it.

We cut to Black Widow cracking skulls in various sleazy bars in her search for Bucky. Black Widow thinks how Bucky has gone underground and she has found nothing but dead ends everywhere she goes. That Bucky is waiting for his chance to attack Tony Stark. Black Widow thinks how else will he get his vengeance now?

We shift to Bucky arriving at Kronas’ office building. Bucky is pissed that SHIELD let Crossbones escape. Bucky busts into the Kronas building and thinks it is time to find out what the connection is between Lukin and Red Skull.

We hop to Red Skull and Lukin having a conversation inside of Lukin’s mind. The two men trade barbs about the collapse of the Soviet Union and the downfall of the Third Reich. (Oh, you just can’t put a Socialist with a Fascist. It always ruins a party.) Lukin tells Red Skull that Lukin will crush him if Red Skull tries to take over Lukin’s mind. That this is Lukin’s territory. Red Skull comments that he has discovered all of Lukin’s secret thoughts and knows that Lukin’s part in this means to much for Lukin to throw it all away. Lukin curses Red Skull for having so totally permeated every part of Lukin’s mind.

We zip over to Sharon Carter and the Falcon taking out an AIM cell. During the brawl, one of the AIM scientists begs Sharon not to kill him. Sharon then has a flashback to her killing Captain America. Sharon starts puking. Falcon takes out the AIM scientist and then asks Sharon if she is okay. Sharon says she is fine and the two heroes fly away from the building.

We see Black Widow on a nearby rooftop watching Sharon and the Falcon flying away. Black Widow thinks how Tony is going to want to know that Sharon and the Falcon are also looking for Bucky.

We cut back to the Kronas building. We see Lukin entering his office where he is immediately attacked by Bucky. Bucky tells Lukin to tell him where the Red Skull is located. Lukin smiles and says that Bucky has no idea what he is doing. Crossbones and Sin walk into the office and Crossbones tells Bucky to let go of the boss man. Lukin asks Bucky “Do you see know?” Bucky curses himself. End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Captain America #29 was another fine read. Brubaker continues to deliver consistently good reads on this title in the wake of Captain America’s “death.” Captain America #29 was excellently plotted and paced. Brubaker is constructing a wonderfully complex storyline that weaves together several deep and detailed plotlines.

Brubaker also employs his trademark measured and steady pacing on this issue. The reader can feel the tension slowly, but steadily building as we anxiously await the inevitable surprise or “holy shit!” moment that Brubaker is going to launch on us.
Great character work. Great dialogue. Great chemistry.

I’m curious to find out just how Sin and the Serpent Squad were able to infiltrated SHIELD and spring Crossbones. Evidently, there is a mole within SHIELD. It should be fun watching Tony try and figure out that Dr. Faustus is the mole and if Tony can find him in time to stop any further damage to SHIELD.

And speaking of Tony, Brubaker does a nice job with Tony’s character. Brubaker shows the reader a brilliant man who is trying to do what he truly feels is right. But, even geniuses have their limits. And Brubaker portrays Tony as weary and worn down from the weight of all the responsibilities that have been heaped upon his shoulders since the end of Civil War.

I dig the competing searches for Bucky with Black Widow on one side and Sharon and the Falcon on the other side. And now Black Widow is aware that she has competition in her quest to find Bucky.

I liked the scene where Sharon is paralyzed by her flashback to when she killed Steve Rogers and begins to puke. Brubaker has continued to do an excellent job handling Sharon’s guilt and trauma over having been controlled into killing Steve Rogers. I continue to enjoy Sharon more and more. This is a character that I never thought much of before Brubaker took control of this title. And my interest in Sharon has dramatically increased with the current storyline of Sharon being the tool used to kill Captain America.

As everyone knows, I am a huge fan of the Winter Soldier. So, obviously, I love that we are getting more scenes with Bucky during this current story arc. Brubaker is doing a great job tapping into Bucky’s rage and anger. This really re-enforces to the reader that Bucky really isn’t what he used to be back when he was Captain America’s teenage sidekick. Bucky is now the Winter Soldier. He is a damaged and warped man who already had so much rage in his soul and Steve Rogers’ death has only served to further push Bucky over the edge and into the abyss of anger.

I dig Bucky as a broken man. And I hope that Brubaker keeps this theme going for quite some time. A well adjusted Bucky who is at peace with himself just doesn’t interest me. A violent and flawed Bucky serves as a wonderful foil for the paragon of virtue that is Captain America.

I loved the scene between Lukin and Red Skull inside of Lukin’s mind. That was very cool. Brubaker has created such a fascinating and complex relationship between these two villains. I am absolutely mesmerized by this relationship between Red Skull and Lukin. These two men combined make for one of the most intriguing villains you will see in any comic book.

Both men are detestable and yet the reader actually begins to feel bad for a scumbag like Lukin. Having the Red Skull inside of his mind is akin to be haunted by a horribly sinister spirit. The reader can tell the toll that the Red Skull has had on Lukin’s sanity. I’m definitely interested in learning more about the secret reasons that Lukin has for working with the Red Skull.

Brubaker serves up one fantastic hook ending with Bucky finally realizing the connection between Lukin and Red Skull and suddenly being terribly outnumbered with Crossbones and Sin arriving on the scene. Next issue should certainly be an exciting read.

Epting and Perkins continue to make for an excellent art team. They provide the necessary dark and gritty look that fits Brubaker’s mood on this title perfectly.

The Bad: No complaints with this issue.

Overall: Captain America continues to be one of Marvel’s best reads on the market. And amazingly enough, this title is just as good without Captain America as it was with him. That is a real testament to Brubaker’s writing prowess. Not too many other titles could survive without the main character and rely solely on a cast of supporting characters. If you still haven’t tried this title then definitely do so. It is well worth the money.

4 Comments

  1. Oh, you just can’t put a Socialist with a Fascist. It always ruins a party.

    Yeah, those ultra-left wing totalitarian dictators can never get along with those ultra-right wing totalitarian dictators. By the end of the night, they’ve all had too much to drink, and they’re arguing over who killed more people, Stalin or Hitler :p

    Anyway, I agree that the Skull/Lukin two-for-one bit makes him/them a really great, dangerous, and powerful villain. I’d like to see them pop up in some other Marvel books. Iron Fist would be a good idea, since Brubaker also writes that. Kronos could try to stage a hostile takeover of Rand-Meacham.

    As for the mole in SHIELD, we already know his identity: it’s Doctor Faustus, who is posing as that psychiatrist, and is hypnotizing SHIELD agents to do stuff like let Sin into the cell where Crossbones was held. That’s how the Skull got Sharon Carter to shoot Cap.

  2. I’m a little disappointed in Marvel for the whole death of Captain America thing. They’re not even trying to make an effort to pretend he’s really dead. At least at DC, they come up with some sucky new replacement character and made have it referenced for a few years. We all know it wouldn’t last, but at least DC makes the effort to lie to us. I appreciate the effort.

    Lately whenever a death occurs in the MU, people seem pretty none affected by it. Over in X-men, you have them openly waiting for Jean to come back, with full knowledge that she will. In Deadly Genesis, Siren didn’t even get upset at her dad’s death, because she knew, as we readers do, that it would never stick. In the MU, it seems like you just rent graves.

    Big Kudos to Brubaker at least getting a story line out of it and having people actually care about Steve’s death. Most writers to their credit do. I just wish the editors fell in line a little bit. It’s like”

    Editor one: Let’s have Strom marry Luke Cage next, and Cap will be the best man.
    Editor two Cap’s dead.
    Editor one: ya, but it’s a month away, he’ll be fine by then.

    Also, I really like the art for this issue. My only real complaint is that they make Sin look too darn cute. Someone named Sin should not have red hair and freckles. Look at her in the last panel of the last page and tell me if you want to run from her or if you want to give her a big hug and a hair tussle.

  3. I’d have to disagree on the idea that Marvel isn’t doing anything to suggest Cap is dead; pretty much everything they’ve done has tried to scream it. Heck, they did a five-issue miniseries that was all about people reacting to his death, and people stop and contemplate it in random comics every so often. Sure, people may not believe it, but that can’t be helped (my own position is that, since Brubaker has said he’s got two years of Cap-less stories planned out, by the end of that time, we’ll either get Steve back, or have Bucky or Sam as the new Captain America; I’d prefer Sam, myself, but Bucky preserves the “man out of time” aspect that’s always been the character’s niche).

    The Lukin/Skull dynamic is great (that kind of surreal mindscape isn’t something we usually see in this book).

    One thing I appreciate about Brubaker’s storytelling is that he takes his time to build suspense, while at the same time keeping the story from dragging; with all due respect to old “done-in-one” stories, it’s very difficult to tell a good mystery in only 22 pages (even Dini in Detective Comics often doesn’t quite manage it; as clever and fun as his stories are, he doesn’t have much time for the red herrings, plot twists, etc., that make those stories really great; usually, you just get the villain, his MO, and how Batman solves the case; not as much fun as letting the mystery develop over a span).

    On a minor note, I don’t think the SHIELD agent Tony’s talking with is supposed to be Maria Hill; she has a ponytail.

  4. I’d prefer Bucky to stay the Winter Soldier as well.

    As for Sam as Cap, I just think he’s a great fit for the role; in terms of actual published comics, he’s got years on Bucky as Cap’s main partner, and he’s got the same optimism and heroic outlook that Cap has (his funeral oration in Fallen Son: Iron Man was excellent). Sure, a black Captain America might seem a bit gimmicky, but I think Sam Wilson would be the right choice for successor.

    All the same, I suspect Steve will be back (but I think he is actually dead, and will be resurrected).

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