Sam Wilson and Joaquín Torres take to the skies in Captain America: Symbol of Truth #1 by Tochi Onyebuchi and R.B. Silva. “Homeland Part I” explores Sam and his world and what it means to be Captain America. But the particularities of the approach are where the issue shines.
Onyebuchi completely does away with examining anxieties of the #NotMyCaptainAmerica crowd, or any of Sam’s own anxieties about the legacy of Captain America, instead allowing Sam to inhabit the role as any good man ought to. This is clear from the opening pages — an explosive action sequence in which Sam and Joaquín chasing down a hi-tech train that is supposedly carrying super-soldier serum. As Misty Knight calls it, ”typical Captain America #%!$”
R.B. Silva and Jesus Aburtov shine throughout the book. The opening action sequence is dynamic and thrilling, and Onyebuchi wisely minimizes the dialogue to get out of Silva’s way. Aburtov is one of the best color artists in the industry, and the vivid oranges that fade into reds and purples make the images scream off the page.
When the issue does quiet down, it focuses on Sam’s relationship with Misty Knight, Harlem, and Wakanda. Tochi Onyebuchi purposefully shows a group of Black Americans idealizing Wakanda and then brings that back to Sam, who says ”They can’t stand this country. Wanna act like paradise is just an ocean away.”
It’s this characterization that makes Onyebuchi’s writing much stronger here than his previous work in Black Panther: Legends, which frankly completely missed the mark in retelling Black Panther’s origin story. With Sam, Onyebuchi recognizes and expands on the idea that a man who takes on the mantle of Captain America isn’t someone who runs from the nation that raised him. He makes it better. In doing so, he also sets up a conflict between Captain America and Wakanda that has a refreshing edge to it.
If R.B. Silva and Jesus Aburtov brought the heat when it came to the action sequences, their work on these quieter scenes is just as visually compelling. Silva’s ability to capture nuance in facial expressions is nice, but Aburtov really shines handling a rooftop ”not-a-date” between Sam and Misty. The lighting achieved by Aburtov’s colors sets the scene perfectly.
Captain America: Symbol of Truth #1 has just about everything readers could want in a debut issue of a superhero book. There’s action, humor, a touch of romance, and a setup for a conflict that has stakes both on a personal level and an international one.
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