When Captain America first launched, it was unapologetically a political commentary, featuring a hero who was unafraid to stand up to the villains we face in our world. In 2022, with the state of the political landscape as grim as it is, Captain America positions itself as the perfect comic book to tackle those feelings of disillusionment with the US government. The book sets up a really interesting premise and forces Steve to ask himself a tough question: “Is the symbol I wear for the people? Or for the government?”
Isn’t questioning the goodwill of the government what all of us are doing right now? Steve’s question is ours and it makes this book have quite the poignant finish.
This title is a love letter to Captain America in a lot of ways, placing Steve back to his roots (literally) in the town he grew up in and also getting Captain America back to his favorite pastime: punching Nazis. The antifascism and anti-Nazi sentiments in this book are strong (as they should be) and the book doesn’t hold back from having Steve insult them every chance he gets. It’s quintessentially Captain America.
The bits of Steve returning home are made even better by the fact that we see him interact with the people in it so much. Whether he’s having drinks with some students or teaching a young child how to defend himself from bullies, this comic understands the foundation of Steve’s character so sincerely. Steve is a hero for the people, that’s why we like seeing him with them so much. It’s sweet, it’s heartwarming, and the message is hit even harder when Steve questions if he’s lived up to his promise to be an agent for the people or if he’s been a tool manipulated by outside forces for so long.
The only downside to this comic? Peggy Carter is in it. Ever since the MCU started shoving her character down our throats, the comics have tried to follow suit to capitalize on that popularity. I don’t know who lied to Marvel Comics and told them people (especially comic readers) care about Peggy Carter at all, but I’m going to assume it’s a mandate from higher up encouraging them to add her for marketing purposes. Either way, I wish they’d stop trying to make Peggy Carter an important character in Cap lore and instead focus on characters Captain America readers actually care about like Sam or Sharon or Bernie. Literally anyone else.
But to dislike this comic solely because of its unfortunate Peggy cameo would be incredibly unfair. The comic sets itself up to have a really good political commentary about the global rise of fascism and how the government isn’t actually working in good faith. Kelly and Lanzing have set up quite the plot to honor the core of Steve’s character, delving into his past in new and exciting ways. Carnero has long been one of the best artists currently at Marvel and this book is another case to prove why.
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