The United States of Captain America offers two stories for the price of one. You get the Steve Rogers road trip story and a backup introducing a new local Captain America who Steve and Sam Wilson run into on their adventure. In the third issue, out today, Steve and Sam meet Joe Gomez, the Kickapoo Tribe’s own Captain America. Now that they know supervillains are involved in stealing Cap’s shield, can they survive the experience?
The chase is on at the start of The United States of Captain America #3, with Sam and Steve losing a speedster known as Speed Demon. He’s got the shield, but they can’t possibly chase him down on their motorcycles over the open desert. They soon find themselves in the company of Joe Gomez, who idolizes Captain America in a different way compared to the previous two Caps. Soon, he’s joining them in helping stop a terrorist attack and all three get into some tricky situations.
Joe serves as a reminder that Steve Rogers doesn’t represent America, or what people did in its name against indigenous people, but that Rogers fights for everyone. These quieter scenes help remind us of the impact Steve Rogers has had and will always have no matter what uniform he wears. Cantwell does a good job establishing this as well as the courage Joe Gomez has when the fight gets particularly chaotic. This issue also offers another Cap ally that is woven in fairly cleanly.
Dale Eaglesham draws the main story with color artist Matt Milla and he continues to draw Captain America in a big and beefy way. He’s still got a kind face, though it’s mostly covered with his mask in this issue, can throw down well. There’s one page where he seems to be doing Aikido which is a cool touch given the close-quarters fighting.
My only complaint with this issue is the slightly clunky plotting, which could be attributed to the page count. It opens with a chase, conveniently switches to meeting Joe, then rushes off to stop a terrorist plot with little transitional scenes to manage pace and flow. It then wraps up in a chaotic rush.
Between the main story and backup by Darcie Little Badger and David J. Cutler is a cool info breakdown of Joe Gomez. This guide helps establish the road trip Sam and Steve have been on as well as add a bit of humor. Props to Marvel for hiring Kickapoo consultants Keith Bluecloud and Mosiah Bluecloud.
The story itself plays a part in Joe Gomez’s decision to become a hero, which was referenced in the main story. Joe is a builder of things and of the community around him. There’s something pure about him that is lifted up, which helps remind us we all can be Captain America in our own ways. Cutler draws in a more cartoony way which suits the villain that’s used here.
This story hits on those beats well. Little Badger doesn’t pull his punches either, reminding us that someone like Joe Gomez would be wary of a man like Captain America who wears red, white, and blue and in the final moments of the story, he makes a case as to why Joe would don his own Cap costume. It doesn’t feel cheap and it suits the character that was introduced in this issue.
The United States of Captain America continues to be an interesting road trip story. It’s not even about who stole Captain America’s shield or who he fights along the way, but about the affirmation of what he does to help others that’s contagious. Hopefully, this comic series is self-affirming and does its part to enact a little change in America, because within its superhero stylings there’s a message of positivity and hope to help your fellow man.
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