When Captain America first hit stands he was unapologetically political, the product of two Jewish men speaking out against their hatred of Nazis and talking about what’s right. Over the years, the hard political edge of Captain America has softened (with notable exceptions like Steve becoming Nomad after the Nixon scandal) — that is, until Ta-Nehsi Coates’ run. In many ways, Coates’ run is the most political the character has been in years, and the way the book challenges readers to reflect on present-day America is thoughtful and important.
SPOILERS AHEAD for Captain America #27!
Captain America #27 is a thoughtful political commentary, with Coates using the Man Out of Time to give readers some food for thought. When Steve is in the car with Sharon, he’s listening to a Fox News clone that seems to hate him, putting words into his mouth to form a bad-faith reading of everything he says. Sharon tells him not to listen; Steve says he has to hear what all sides of the country think of him, even the ones he doesn’t agree with. This scene also works very well as an analysis of Steve and Sharon’s characters, the realist and the optimist, the cynic and the hopeful.
A really interesting sequence happens when Steve and Sharon are discussing the country. Steve says back when he first became Captain America there were Nazis, but the whole country knew they were evil. The fact that the current state of the country can disagree on this ideal leaves him feeling like it’s a whole new country entirely. Sharon says it’s always been like this, but now he can just see it. It’s an interesting way to examine Steve’s own blindness and romanticization of the past while making a commentary on today’s political climate. This is one area Coates’ run excels at.
The return of Lukin and Sin’s characters brings a weird relationship to the forefront, with Lukin calling Sin his daughter while Sin refuses that notion. In a very Brubaker-esque plot, Lukin is posing as the Red Skull, putting on the mask and wreaking havoc from his own little corner. By the issue’s end, he’s responsible for a great deal of chaos, horrifying Steve as he and Sharon run to pick up the pieces.
Captain America #27 is a good character piece and a thoughtful political commentary. If you’ve been enjoying Coates’ run so far, this is another solid entry in the series.
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