Comic Book Review: Captain America #37

Captain America is arguably the best title that Marvel publishes. The Revolution has continually trumpeted Brubaker’s impressive work on this title. It defies any and all common sense that titles like New Avengers, Amazing Spider-Man and the Ultimates 3 that aren’t a tenth of the quality of Captain America still post larger sales numbers. At any rate, I am confident that Captain America #37 will be another superlative issue.

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: We begin with a flashback scene to August of 1944 when the victorious American army rolled through Paris, France freshly liberated from the Nazis. The Red Skull is disgusted by the smugness of the Americans. Red Skull burns this vision into his mind so he will never forget it. Red Skull swears to bring down the American Empire at some point no matter how long it takes.

We cut back to the present and see a news report where Senator Gordon Wright, Red Skull’s politician, is announcing that he is starting a third party called the Third Wing and is declaring his candidacy for President. Senator Wright praises the work of the Kane-Meyer security forces for saving him from the Serpent Squad. The news report states that Senator Wright has negotiated with Kronas energy to lower the price of oil back to pre-crisis levels and to halt the foreclosure of thousands of homes around the country.

We shift to Red Skull and Faustus watching the news report. Red Skull is pleased that the Serpent’s Squad attack on Senator Wright has squashed any accusations that Wright is in league with the Red Skull or that Red Skull is secretly running Kronas. Red Skull says that he is enjoying destroying America from the inside out. Red Skull says that Wright will become President and show the people that a police state is the only answer to the chaos of democracy. That Wright will institute Kane-Meyer Securities as the police force for the country.

Dr. Faustus then asks Red Skull if Arnim Zola has figured out how to awaken their new patient. Red Skull says that their new patient will be conscious soon and then there will be more than one Captain America for America to deal with.

We cut to the SHIELD Helicarrier where the Falcon is upset with Tony for making Bucky the new Captain America. Tony retorts that he is simply honoring Steve’s wishes to carry on the Captain America tradition and to help save Bucky. Tony then suggests that the Falcon go help Bucky with his new role as Captain America. Falcon says that he will work with Bucky.

We slide over to Bucky at his warehouse flat practicing his moves with the shield. Suddenly, Hawkeye walks into the room. Hawkeye takes a swing at Bucky. The two have a brief fight. Bucky then tells Hawkeye that he will talk to him, but he isn’t going to waste time fighting him. Bucky tells Hawkeye that he is going to do whatever he needs to do with being the new Captain America and if Hawkeye doesn’t like it then too bad. Hawkeye replies that he is going to be watching Bucky to see if he doesn’t tarnish what Steve stood for.

We cut to Sharon Carter deciding that she will pretend to still be under Dr. Faustus’ mind control until she can figure out how to break both her and Steve out of the facility. That once Steve is awake and mobile then they will make their escape.

We zip to Bucky dreaming about fighting alongside Steve in World War II. During the fight Bucky tells Steve to look out that he is standing in Bucky’s shadow. Steve replies that he knows. Steve says that he is Bucky’s shadow. Bucky then transforms from his Bucky outfit into his Captain America outfit. Bucky is holding the shield. Steve tells Bucky to not lose the shield because he is going to want it back. Bucky says okay. Steve then tells Bucky to say it in Russian. Bucky exclaims that it wasn’t his fault. That it wasn’t him.

Bucky then wakes up from his dream. Bucky goes to the kitchen and finds the Falcon standing there. The Falcon tells Bucky that he isn’t happy with Bucky being Captain America. But, Bucky needs someone with him to make sure Bucky doesn’t get killed. Falcon says that he has a lead on Sharon’s location. The Falcon asks Bucky if he wants to come help him rescue Sharon. Bucky agrees to do so.

We hop back to Sharon deciding now is the time to go save Steve. She breaks into the lab where Steve is being held. She walks over to Steve lying on a table. Steve wakes up. Sharon then steps back and says that he is not Steve. The man replies that Steve Rogers was his name. The man then looks at Sharon and asks “Who are you?” End of issue.

Comments
The Good: Captain America #37 was another great issue. This was a well paced issue as Brubaker eases off the gas pedal and slips back to his traditional slow burn method of storytelling. Of course, unlike most writers, Brubaker doesn’t need to deliver a story at a frenzied pace with tons of action in order to get the reader’s interest. Brubaker’s slow burn story in Captain America is a gripping read and the tension is thick throughout this issue.

The reader eagerly turns each page while sitting on the edge of their seat and wondering just what in the world is going to happen next. And that is certainly one of the strengths of Brubaker’s writing on Captain America. Brubaker has created a sense in the reader that anything can happen at any moment.

Captain America #37 is another strongly plotted issue as all the different complex plotlines continue to slide into place neatly and form a sound foundation for even more interesting new plotlines. Brubaker serves up plenty of his usual wonderfully crafted dialogue. The character work continues to be impressive as Brubaker presents some of the most well developed characters that you will find on any comic book.

I found the Falcon’s reaction to Bucky being the new Captain America to be a perfectly understandable. I dig that even though the Falcon is unhappy about the current situation, the Falcon is fair with Tony and his decision to tap Bucky as the new Captain America in order to fulfill Steve’s two requests in carrying on the Captain America tradition and saving Bucky. The Falcon understands why Tony is doing what he is doing but still isn’t convinced that it was the right move to make.

I also liked the scene between the Falcon and Bucky. The Falcon is also fair with Bucky even though the Falcon is clearly not happy that Bucky is the new Captain America. The Falcon offering Bucky to team up with him was clearly an honor for Bucky. The Falcon’s long standing history and relationship with Steve makes him a man that Bucky has great respect for. Hopefully, working together will allow Falcon to realize that Bucky is worthy to carry Captain America’s shield.

Personally, the scene between Hawkeye and Bucky didn’t work all that well for me. However, Brubaker gave us this scene in order to balance the Falcon’s reaction to Bucky being the new Captain America. Brubaker shows the reader how the various people close to Steve Rogers are going to react to Bucky being the new Captain America. Clearly, Hawkeye is less than thrilled. And this hotheaded reaction by Hawkeye is in keeping with his personality. I did find it humorous that Hawkeye calls Bucky “kid” even though Bucky is technically much older than Hawkeye.

Brubaker continues to impress me with his phenomenal work with Bucky’s character. I have become a huge fan of Bucky. So much that I could care less if Steve Rogers ever returns. I find Bucky to be a much more complex and intriguing character than Steve. I like that Brubaker shows the reader how Bucky is committed to training hard due to his burning desire to get better and to not shame the legacy of Captain America.

The dream scene was finely crafted as Brubaker displays that despite Bucky’s more positive outlook over the past couple of issues, he is still dogged by the horrors of his past. Bucky is still obviously consumed by feelings of guilt for his actions as the Winter Soldier. And despite Bucky’s strong showing on his first mission as Captain America, Bucky still clearly views himself as not worthy to carry Steve’s shield. The reader also gets a nice sense of the presence and influence that Steve has played in Bucky’s life.

I dig Brubaker’s impressive handling of Red Skull’s character. Brubaker managed to give the reader such a marvelous sense of Red Skull’s visceral and raw hatred for America. The World War II flashback scene does an excellent job giving context and motivation for Red Skull’s undying hatred for America.

I absolutely love Red Skull’s plan to destroy America from within. Brubaker has done a masterful job weaving this intricate web. I like the methodical fashion that Brubaker is constructing Red Skull’s plans. I dig how Brubaker builds off the attack on Senator Wright in order to catapult the Senator into the Presidential race. Senator Wright’s “negotiating” with Kronas to return oil prices back to normal and to pass on foreclosing on any more properties allows him to gain the inside track to win the Presidency. The idea of using the Kane-Meyer security forces as a national police force is a logical progression of this plan.

I am glad that Sharon has broken free from Dr. Faustus’ control. Personally, I didn’t mind having her play the role of the helpless victim for a while. Brubaker can only juggle but so many characters and plotlines at one time. However, this plotline had run its course and Brubaker was wise to end it and allow Sharon to play a more active role in this story.

Brubaker ends Captain America #37 with a fantastic hook ending as Sharon realizes that the man in Arnim Zola’s lab may look and sound like Steve Rogers, but he is clearly not Steve Rogers. I imagine that this is the Grand Director who was the 1950’s Captain America who had his name legally changed to Steve Rogers and had surgery so he looked like Steve and had the same voice as Steve.

As always, Steve Epting provides plenty of great artwork.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: Captain America #37 was another strong read. Brubaker continues to make this title an absolute gem and certainly one of the best reads on the market from either Marvel or DC. I don’t know what else I can say to encourage people to give this title a try. You absolutely do not have to be a Captain America fan to enjoy this title. I am perfect proof of that. I have never for a moment ever found Captain America to be an interesting character. Then along came Brubaker and now I a rabid Captain America fan.

If it is a matter of money that has prevented you from buying Captain America, then I have an idea. Next month, don’t buy the latest issue of that title that you purchase out of habit. You know what I’m talking about. I do it, too. That title that you have collected for a long time and have a deep connection to even though you haven’t enjoyed it in years. That title that you compulsively purchase out of sheer force of habit. Well, don’t buy that title next month. Instead, pick up a copy of the latest issue of Captain America. You won’t be disappointed.

2 Comments

  1. The Bucky/Clint scene was brief, but I enjoyed Clint acknowledging that he wasn’t strictly surprised at him being alive (Clint himself was dead for a while).

    Sharon was able to recognize on visual evidence alone that it isn’t Steve, but what exactly caused her to clue in to this isn’t clear to me; it looks like ‘Steve’ is scarred on the left side of his body (covered in shadow). It definitely looks like the Grand Director (Faustus commenting that he was responsible for the patient being there (Faustus having corrupted the Evil 50s Cap even more, and then driven him to self-immolation), his at first not recognizing himself as Steve Rogers before saying that was his name).

    I’ll be interested to see how the new Captain America and Falcon team works.

  2. I have to say, the progression of bucky as a character has been awesome, and i cant wait for secret invasion 3 the solicit reads:
    The world has turned upside down! The Skrulls have taken the Earth as part of their empire, the Avengers and Initiative are scattered…but there are two people who want some answers. One has a hammer and one has a shield.
    i cant wait for bucky to be included into the universe at large, same with thor. It should be a sweet issue. By the way, am i the only one who thinks that bendis would write an awesome nick fury solo title?
    -hobosk8er

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