Since Captain America‘s inception, the character has been unabashedly political in ways that few other characters will ever be. As a character, he was created by Jewish men to stand up against Naziism, something that’s been integral to his roots for years. During the Nixon scandal, Steve abandoned the flag, declaring he had no country and becoming Nomad due to his disappointment in the government. Steve isn’t a government pawn, he’s just a guy who stands against corruption — and that’s exactly the kind of character Ta-Nehisi Coates is interested in writing right now.
Coates’ Captain America is doing everything a modern Cap book should, using this story as a political commentary on things like the rise of bigotry and hatred in the country. Coates isn’t subtle about it, either — right in the early pages, Steve corrects a cop who makes a jab about terrorism, saying America has made a ton of their own domestic terrorists. In an age of mass shootings and the kind of violence brought on at the US Capital on January 6, it’s clear what Coates is talking about here.
Many alt-right circles have found the internet to be a powerful recruitment tool for them — there are countless stories like this anonymous woman’s account to the Washingtonian of her son becoming enthralled by alt-right groups because of his online activity. “I counseled patience, naively unprepared for what came next: when he found people to talk to on Reddit and 4chan,” the mother writes. This is exactly what Coates tackles in Captain America #28. He doesn’t pull his punches addressing it either — he has the Red Skull recruiting from online forums.
The Skull uses some intense language about women and toxic masculinity, making Coates’ point even less subtle. This conversation doesn’t just make Captain America feel timely, it makes it feel necessary. It’s almost like it’s been plucked from the headlines and Coates does a fantastic job of making this book feel truly current. His Captain America is a title that actually has something to say.
Undoubtedly, Captain America #28 will have its detractors because of its political nature, but that’s what makes the book work so well. Captain America has always been political — it’s the perfect title to make a statement like this, and Coates was the perfect writer to do it. The lesson here isn’t just important, it’s necessary and incredibly timely.
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