One reason I keep gravitating to Nick Spencer’s books as of late is because they’re more often than not infused with social commentary. It makes their narratives feel more realistic and gives them additional purpose. I check out the latest issue of Sam Wilson, which delves into illegal immigration–is it good?
Captain America: Sam Wilson #17 (Marvel Comics)
So what’s it about? Check out our full preview and summary.
Why does this book matter?
Artist Paul Renaud and Nick Spencer are back at it, this time with a focus on another falcon-centric hero calling himself the High-Flying Falcon. This issue takes a look at the issue of immigration, the power of a TV pundit, and the possibly misguided point of view of millennials in politics.
Fine, you have my attention. What’s good about it?
It gets a bit serious.
Let’s start with the millennials (I assume they’re millennials given their age and how they speak) who call themselves the Bombshells and practically take over the comic about halfway through. Spencer completely flips the narrative at this point as he opens showcasing the anti-immigrant policies of the TV pundit to start, but then quickly flips to the Bombshells who refuse to act peacefully when it comes to the pundit. It’s a group of three college kids who cry out with #millennial terms like “safe space” and “trigger warning.” I for one found them hilarious in some respect, but also a nice example of how a writer can show both sides of a political argument. They’re radicals, angry, and clearly misguided. Does Spencer lay it on thick? Oh yeah, but the message is loud and clear and the caricature nature is fun. This book is quite serious, but the Bombshells add a bit of out there fun that serves as social commentary.
This leads to a meaningful conversation between Falcon and Rage to end the book. Spencer does a good job making the point that patience and compromise are all well and good, but you must keep pushing back against the establishment if you want change. It’s a fine way to end the message of this issue particularly because it opens with a TV interview that showcases the manipulative language you see from pundits who have a way of rationalizing anything. There’s a war of ideas afoot, and Falcon understands it’s a complex game even though both sides resort to violence if need be.
The art by Renaud keeps the action clear and the heavier moments of dialogue interesting. The color by Renaud and John Rauch is certainly darker in tone. You won’t be seeing a pop of color in this, which is good as it captures a more realistic depiction of the characters and their surroundings. The book overall has a darker tone–possibly too dark at times–which helps the reader feel the gravity of what is said or seen. The opening pages quickly reveal High-Flying Falcon’s origin and show how good Renaud can be at telling a story quickly.
It can’t be perfect can it?
The Bombshells are wickedly over the top, so much so it’s hard to take their inclusion seriously. Maybe that’s the point; their mere presence is enough to allow the reader to see what Spencer is saying about society, but I found myself laughing at their one liners and purpose more than anything. If Spencer is trying to show both sides of the argument, the TV pundit who hates immigrants vs. the millennial heroes who want to enact change via violence, the Bombshells probably shouldn’t have been so silly. For a comic expressing some serious points, the characters sometimes come across as too comedic for their own good.
On the flip side, I found the social commentary interesting, though a pacing nightmare. Spencer stuffs the dialogue balloons which brings the pace down to a crawl. He clearly has a lot to say and a lot of ideas, but he does so in dumps of information which can come off as preachy.
Though not a terrible issue, it’s a bit sad to see how little Falcon was used in this issue. For the most part this is High-Flying Falcon’s book, and with Misty Knight taking over last issue I found myself wishing Sam would get more attention. This series has been somewhat of a loose ensemble though, so it’s not that big of a deal.
Sweet origin page. He kinda looks like Machine Man though, doesn’t he?
Is It Good?
Nick Spencer lays down the political commentary that will assuredly fire up its readers. If you don’t want that in your comics, well it doesn’t really matter at this point as you probably aren’t reading this anyway. That said, Spencer manages to keep this book relevant and fun.