Comic Book Review: Captain America #38

The Revolution always looks forward to the latest issue of Captain America. This title continues to be Marvel’s strongest title as Brubaker is giving us a run that is certain to be viewed as one of the more legendary runs that you will find on any title. It seems that Brubaker simply can do no wrong with Captain America. Last issue had an excellent hook ending and I am excited to see if the man at the end of the last issue really is the 1950’s Captain America. Let’s hit this review for Captain America #38.

Creative Team
Writer: Ed Brubaker
Pencils: Steve Epting
Inks: 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 the Steve Rogers look-a-like asking Sharon if she knows who he is. Sharon realizes that this is none other than the 1950’s Captain America. Jack Monroe served as his Bucky. That the 1950’s Captain America had surgery to make him look identical to Steve Rogers. That both the 1950’s Cap and Jack Monroe took a different version of the Super Soldier serum. Unfortunately, the serum was incomplete and ended up driving the 1950’s Captain America and Jack insane. They began seeing enemies and conspiracies where there were none.

The 1950’s Captain America became the Grand Director who was a generic white supremacist villain. Steve Rogers ended up stopping the Grand Director. Jack Monroe survived the experience and went on to become the Nomad.

Sharon is pissed that she stayed behind to rescue the Grand Director. She is angry that this abomination is still alive while Steve and Jack are both dead. Sharon pulls out her gun and is about to shoot the Grand Director, when she is suddenly zapped in the back and falls to the ground unconscious. Lukin and Faustus have entered the room.

Faustus puts the Grand Director back in his hospital bed. The Grand Director says that Sharon knew his name. Faustus responds that of course she did. That he is Captain America. Faustus and Lukin leave the room. Faustus comments that the Grand Director’s body healed well like he said it would. Faustus says that the Grand Director is just a bit disorientated since he has been in deep sleep for a long time. Lukin watches his guards carry Sharon’s unconscious body away and comments that Faustus had better do a better job with the Grand Director than he did with Sharon.

We cut to Captain America and the Falcon arriving at an AIM base. Redwing, Falcon’s pet falcon, does some recon for Falcon. Falcon can see through Redwing’s eyes and tells Captain America that the AIM base is being shutdown and cleared out. Also that Arnim Zola is overseeing the work.

We shift to Red Skull and Faustus watching a news report that new polls show that Senator Wright has 20% of the vote for the upcoming presidential election. The Red Skull comments that those are just the first numbers and they mean nothing. Faustus adds that Skull may be correct, but that it will take Faustus’ work to make it so. Faustus tells Skull to remember that Skull is not the only one in this.

Captain America and Falcon attack the AIM soldiers. Bucky thinks how the Falcon is certainly his own man, but that Bucky can see an influence from Steve in the Falcon. And that makes Bucky smile. Bucky realizes that he cares about not letting Falcon down and showing him that he can do the job as Captain America.

Captain America and Falcon operate as a good team as they tear through the AIM soldiers. Captain America thinks how despite how bad this sounds that the fact remains that he was born for combat and death. Captain America and Falcon close in on Arnim Zola. Arnim Zola proceeds to blast away at our heroes which causes a minor fire in the facility. Zola says that he will take everything important with him and that the heroes can have the victory of the scorched Earth. Zola proceeds to set off a bunch of bombs that had been set around the AIM facility.

We then see Arnim Zola hook himself into a machine and disappear from his robotic body. Falcon quickly grabs Captain America and flies them out of the AIM facility just before the bomb blows up the entire place. Captain America and Falcon watch the burning facility. Captain America says that he wonders what the Red Skull wants to hide this badly.

We slide back to Red Skull’s headquarters. We see the Grand Director in a room full of monitors that are playing footage of Steve as Captain America. Faustus calls the Grand Director “Steve.” Faustus tells the Grand Director that his country needs him. That his country needs a man of honor to be Captain America. Faustus asks the Grand Director if he is that man. The Grand Director answers yes he is.

We then see Arnim Zola’s consciousness suddenly appearing inside of one of his spare robotic bodies. Zola then marches off to inform the Red Skull about what just happened at the AIM facility.

We shift back to Faustus now showing the Grand Director footage of Bucky as Captain America. Faustus says that this man is a pretender to the title as Captain America. That Bucky is not worthy. And that Bucky is the man who murdered the Grand Director’s sidekick Jack Monroe. The Grand Director whispers “Bucky?” End of issue.

The Good: Captain America #38 was another excellent read. The Revolution might as well just stop posting reviews for Brubaker’s Captain America. All of the reviews are simply sounding like all the rest that we have done since The Revolution was founded. But, the fact remains that Brubaker simply crafts one of the most consistently good reads that you will find on the market.

Captain America #38 was another well paced issue. Brubaker delivers an enjoyable mix of action and drama. The story progresses in Brubaker’s typical steady fashion. To no surprise, Captain America #38 was a strongly plotted issue. The method in which Brubaker lets this story organically unfold is amazing. All the various plotlines interconnect and build off of each other in a logical and pleasing manner.

Since taking over the controls of Captain America, Brubaker has been weaving a tale that few comic books on the market can rival. The complexity of the story and the impressive attention to detail is a consistent aspect of this title. I love how Brubaker continually leaves the reader with more questions than answers with each new piece of information.

As always, Brubaker whips up plenty of his usual strong dialogue. All the characters have such nicely developed external voices. The dialogue has an enjoyable and realistic flow to it.

Brubaker treats the reader to a nice action scene when Bucky and Falcon team up to attack the AIM facility. It was pretty cool to see Bucky and the Falcon in action together. They make a pretty nice team and flash some good chemistry despite this being their first mission together.

Brubaker continues to do a wonderful job with Bucky’s character. Bucky displays an innate desire to please anyone who reminds him of Steve in any shape or form. We see that in how even though the Falcon is his own man, Bucky sees Steve’s impression on the Falcon. And that bit of Steve drives Bucky to show Falcon that Bucky can fill the role as Captain America.

Bucky is carrying a guilty conscious that he let Steve down for his actions as the Winter Soldier. And that Bucky never had a chance to reconcile with Steve before Steve was killed. This guilt that gnaws at Bucky’s heart combinesd with his ever present desire for Steve’s approval is leading him to want to receive that approval from those who were close to Steve.

I also dig how Brubaker continues to show the reader the difference between Bucky and Steve Rogers. Even though Bucky idolizes Steve and wishes he could be that man, Bucky is honest about who and what he is. Unlike Steve, Bucky is an engine of death. Bucky is a living weapon. Bucky lives for combat and death. I never got that impression from Steve. To be sure, Steve was a soldier and not shy about fighting for what he believed in. But, Steve was more of an embodiment of everything positive that America stood for. Combat and death is never what defined who and what Steve was like it does for Bucky.

Brubaker does a fine job handling the tension between Faustus and Red Skull. It appears that these two men may not be able to subordinate their egos in order to achieve their common goal. I am interested to see if this brisling between Faustus and Red Skull leads to a serious schism that threatens the success of the Skull’s elaborate plans.

I am thrilled with the return of the 1950’s Captain America. What an absolutely brilliant twist. Brubaker continues to amaze me as he continually reaches deep into Captain America’s mythos and keeps trotting out plenty of interesting characters. This move should create plenty of material for an exciting story.

Brubaker does a good job showing the 1950’s Captain America as a man who is living a complete lie and is totally unaware of that fact. It is actually sad that a man would be so totally and thoroughly stripped of his own identity and person. Nobody even knows this character’s real name. It is eerie how Faustus is molding his own Steve Rogers to unleash on an unsuspecting world. I cannot wait to see what happens when Bucky and the 1950’s Captain America cross paths. It is going to be fantastic.

Brubaker also makes the 1950’s Captain America plotline new reader friendly. Brubaker gives the reader enough back-story on the 1950’s Captain America without boring long-time readers. And I enjoyed the way that Brubaker seamlessly integrated the back-story into this issue without breaking the flow of the story.

We get plenty of the usual quality artwork from Epting and Perkins. These two gentlemen always deliver such a fine looking issue that is the perfect match to the mood and tone of Brubaker’s story.

The Bad: I have no complaints with this issue.

Overall: Captain America #38 was another wonderful read. If you still have not given this title a try then I urge you to do so. This is a comic book that is so well crafted that it should appeal to most comic book readers. If nothing else, give Brubaker’s Captain America a try when it comes out in trade paperback format. This title is worth the cover price and I don’t think you will be disappointed.


  1. I have nothing to add other than “amen” ! This is a 38 part (and growing) masterpiece! What a joy to read a book where the writer has such a profound handle on both the characters and the storyline and where the artists are able to create the perfect setting. Brubaker knows exactly where this is all leading to and each issue moves things along without feeling decompressed. Captain America truly demonstrates the beauty of the “ongoing storyline” and should be required reading for anyone on how to develop a story. JSA was my favorite read of the week but CAP deserve special note just for its consistently enjoyable and solid efforts every single month. And to think I laughed when I heard Brubaker was bringing back Bucky!

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