In the last issue of Captain America, Lukin shoved Peggy out of a plane in a cliffhanger ending, leaving the reader to wonder if the eldest Carter had died yet again. In a great fakeout, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates and artist Leonard Kirk open up this issue with a flashback to Peggy’s first funeral among other important interactions in recent years. Just as the flashbacks stop, Peggy is saved by Sam Wilson mid-air, revealing that she’s gonna be just fine.
The entire issue is narrated from Steve’s point of view, giving Coates a chance to flex his novelist writing muscles. There are some standout moments, such as Steve reflecting on the types of burdens he bears just for being Captain America. Even though certain things (like Hydra’s influence over America as seen in Secret Empire) aren’t necessarily Steve’s fault, he still feels them as his own responsibility. It’s a great look into Steve’s character and the types of crosses he bears just for being who he is.
As Captain America, Steve has many accomplishments under his belt, but he considers his friendships his greatest achievement. With such an iconic supporting cast, it’s nice to have Steve reflect on his friends and how much they mean to him, once again providing an insight into Steve Rogers’ character. He’s many things: honorable, loyal, duty-driven, and a man with a very big heart.
Thunderbolt Ross’s dilemma is finally addressed, but Coates once again pulls the rug out under his readers. As Crossbones begins to beat Ross senselessly, Red Hulk is awakened. By the issue’s end, Red Hulk smashes onto the scene, appearing as though he’s about to fight Captain America until he does something surprising: he salutes Steve instead.
Coates’ run thus far has been about digging into the Captain America cast, finding out what makes them tick and exploring relationships. This issue keeps that trend up, giving Steve the narrative focus as Kirk’s pencils tell a story of their own. All in all, Captain America #26 is another solid entry in the series and for fans who have enjoyed it thus far, this one will certainly resonate as well.
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