Thus far, Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty has felt like a breath of fresh air, taking Steve back to his hometown to connect with the people in it. It’s something so quintessentially Captain America that reading it feels like a warm slice of homemade apple pie. This issue, however, takes a sharp turn from the familiar feeling of the old ones, introducing a really unique element to this series (and Captain America comics as a whole) — and surprisingly, it does it pretty damn good.
When the series had first started, initially it read as another “Steve questions the government” plot, a really poignant sentiment that Cap comics have come to be known by. The whole idea of Steve wanting to hack to his roots and really connect with the people in it feels like the kind of “hero to the people, not the institutions” themes Mark Waid’s runs were very in line with. The series veered away from that when they started to explain just what he Outer Circle really was, a concept that quite frankly sounds like something you would have found in the Silver Age.
Recent Captain America books have been good and handled their mostly realistic approach quite well — Brubaker’s tenure on the book is beloved for a reason. But you didn’t really get things like “Mad Bomb” or any of the other on-the-nose-isms of early Cap books. The entire concept of the Outer Circle being a bunch of entities who essentially determine fates almost feels like a Silver Age concept, which adds an additional layer of charm to this series overall. It balances a love for Cap stories of all decades it feels like, and i would almost challenge anyone to read this series and claim Lanzing and Kelly don’t love Captain America.
Steve and Bucky are essentially facing off against fate itself because the overarching theme is that nothing is written in stone, it’s up to people ourselves to make the changes we want to see and be the people we want to be. It’s so Silver Age-y in a charming way in that sense.
The Bucky reveal will either be something fans hate or love, but it was a really interesting choice for the character, I think. Since the Winter Soldier program, Bucky has lived so much of his life controlled by others, and to find out fate had been playing cards for all the events in his life to happen anyway, it’s pretty easy to see why he’s snapping at the thought of being someone’s pawn on the chessboard again.
Steve inspiring the good in others even against all odds just feels so Captain America in the best way possible, embodying what this character should be about. The ending leaves you on the edge of your seat, promising you that another great issue in an already amazing series is on its way.
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