Captain America #25

There’s been a huge amount of hype about Captain America #25, meaning that there has been a mainstream news story about it. Basically Cap gets shot in the issue and appears to be dying as the book closes. Marvel, trying to make a few bucks and generate some kind of Death of Superman hype, issued a press release alerting the world to Cap’s situation. Because there’s nothing else for the news to talk about, Cap’s latest peril got some air time.

As Mike Sterling points out artfully, superheroes often find themselves in dire straits, so I’m not worried about Cap in any long-term sense. Hell, the last page of the comic indicates its the first chapter of a 4-chapter arc. Cap’s too valuable to Marvel thematically and financially to be gone long.

I was afraid this was going to be some arbitrary Civil War crap that would hijack Ed Brubaker’s so-far excellent run on the title. I’m shocked and delighted to find that wasn’t the case. I mean it is a Civil War tie-in, but I didn’t buy Civil War and I enjoyed the story. Come to think of it, I enjoyed the other Brubaker Civil War tie-in with the Winter Soldier.

In fact the point of this whole post is to praise the excellent work that Brubaker and Epting are doing on the title. They’ve got a convincing Red Skull incarnated in a precarious situation (he’s assassinated in the first issue of the Brubaker/Epting run, without benefit of press release) but still going after Captain America with everything he has, a complex tone featuring everything from today’s fears of terrorism to the Cold War to WWII (can’t be Cap without WWII), and a fantastic grasp of Cap’s history. Better than just having a grasp of the history, they’ve got the guts to turn that history on its head in ways that hasn’t been done. Ever.

Throughout it all they’ve really breathed life into these folks. Because of their iconic nature, it’s really difficult to portray these characters as actual people, but Brubaker’s and Epting’s depiction has been sure-footed and revealing. Both the Civil War tie-ins have had moments of genuine resonance for me, and these are the tossed-off tie-ins. The main run has been even more consistently rewarding.

As I say, I was afraid that issue #25 was a stunt and I was going to be so disgusted I’d leave the book. I’m delighted that the creative team is continuing to keep their senses when all about them are losing theirs.

It’s a good book; give it a look.

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