The former Falcon and the teen hero grown up have very different ideas on how best to illustrate what really goes on in the U.S. In Captain America: Sam Wilson #19, Rage’s plan comes to judicial fruition. Will it achieve what he desires, and is it good?
Captain America: Sam Wilson #19 (Marvel Comics)
Well, that public defender certainly is inept. Typical. No, really, it is. But Rage has a point to prove, even if he’s sent up the river to do so. Cap has other ideas, though, and is willing to use questionable methods to scuttle the experiment.
Even a more reasonable recourse won’t be enough, though, as the outcome was never really in doubt. What the verdict inspires, and what the heroes will do about it, is the real story.
Is It Good?
If you’re already 18 issues into Captain America: Sam Wilson, you know that writer Nick Spencer will infuse as many real-life, American social issues into 20 pages as he’s able to. While this can often be humorous, as with the Sons of the Serpent or the Bombshells, #19 turns much more serious, with topics like police brutality and government surveillance. What good is recording a cop if it’s inadmissible in court? And should Cap have even had that power in the first place?
While those questions are presented with attendant complexities, Sam Wilson‘s main discussion, on the proportionate over-incarceration of black men, isn’t quite as nuanced. The statistic is a sad truth, but the understanding of why is probably not as cut and dry as Spencer writes it. While prejudice certainly exists and plays its part, socioeconomic issues shouldn’t be absent from the discussion. A villain’s allusion that only black men are ever wrongfully convicted doesn’t stand to reason. Again, while it’s probably the case that blacks are more often victims of injustice, to exaggerate when making that point actually hurts the argument. The facts are upsetting enough on their own without the extra boost.
The art by Angel Unzueta can seem static at times, so an issue full of courtroom scenes suits him just fine. The few action sequences in Captain America: Sam Wilson #19 come off a little stiff, but colorist Arif Prianto swoops in for the rescue with varied bursts of hues for different events.
The events of Captain America: Sam Wilson #19 and the attempts by both Sam and Rage to make a difference lead to potentially even worse, unintended outcomes–pretty much just like in real life. It can be frustrating to rarely see the protagonist get a solid win, but maybe the fact the good guys can be brought down through no fault of their own is a painful lesson we need to learn. It’s certainly something Sam Wilson readers should be used to by now, even if’s a little more heavy-handed in this issue.