Delve inside the head of Hydra, or in this case Captain America.
While Secret Empire is telling the bigger story, Captain America: Steve Rogers has continued to get inside Cap’s head so the reader can see what he’s thinking. This issue is no different.
So what’s it about?
Why does this matter?
The best thing about tie-ins is how they can add to an event and make them more fleshed out, but only if you care to seek them out. I for one have loved Nick Spencer’s writing on Cap, in part because he’s made this complex character relatable and understandable even though he’s Hydra. That’s intriguing, because god forbid he was evil for evil’s sake.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
This issue is all about Cap’s anger after having lost Madame Hydra and it gets inside his head with well-written captions. The guy is clearly feeling the pressure of ruling while trying to convince friends what he wants is a greater good. That includes talking to a very drunk Thor (who is actually now just Odinson) and talking some sense into the character. Donny Cates and Spencer write this scene masterfully, at first tying Cap refusing to share a drink into a flashback with Elisa, which adds weight to his refusing to share a drink with Odinson. This scene does well to show how Odinson is quite messed up over what is going on with Earth but also shows how Cap has very little respect for the character. I see a redemption story in the works here and by god, the character deserves it at this point.
This issue also delves a bit into Sharon Carter and has her say exactly what every reader is thinking; namely, “Cap you’re a freaking fascist!” Seeing Cap’s reaction is compelling and should make readers think on what it means. I don’t want to say this issue proves Cap may be losing it, but it adds chips in that pile.
The art team of Javier Pina and Andres Guinaldo opens with some good panel work showing how we got here. The Odinson scenes steal the show though, with Odinson coming off as a wild drunk and a character who is certainly holding back his true feelings. There’s a great full page spread of Odinson holding a beer and simultaneously sliding a drink across a table that’s poster worthy too.
What’s so funny?
It can’t be perfect can it?
On the second page, there’s a panel of Cap up close that basically looks like he’s holding back a smile, but I think he’s supposed to be holding back tears. It threw me off and made me do a double take to figure it out. It was the only panel like that, but it’s an important one for sure.
Outside of this, while it’s fun to try to read Cap, the writing team is also not giving us a whole lot to go on. When Odinson or Sharon Carter drop some truths on the character he seemingly ignores them with little to let the reader know if what they said even matters. By the end of the issue, I wasn’t sure if anything actually progressed via character work and that’s in part due to Cap’s stubborn nature here. It makes the entire read more of a shrug and move on experience than one that adds all that much.
Is It Good?
Thor fans (or Odinson if you’re in the know) will want to read this just to get a handle on how this character is feeling these days, but overall this issue is an easy one to skip. While it does allow Sharon Carter to drop some truths the readers are thinking, nothing much comes from it.