Written By: Nick Spencer
Artwork By: Daniel Acuña
Lettered By: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Cover By: Daniel Acuña
Plot: Sam Wilson continues to fight the Americops on the streets, while financial backer of the Americops take Sam Wilson’s actions into their own hands. U.S. Agent, John Walker, isn’t a big fan of how Sam Wilson has been wearing the shield, but tries to remain out of the fight. Sam’s run in with Rage and the Americops, a no win situation for Sam’s social image, changes U.S. Agents mind, and the standoff starts.
Story: Issue 12 greatly benefits from the lack of CIVIL WAR II in it’s plot. Contrary to what the cover will have you believe, CIVIL WAR II is only mentioned in a few passing sentences and panels. The strong focus on social media, and how it can be manipulated for persuasion, is expertly used here. Nick Spencer weaves the manipulative dialogue to persuade John Walker, but have the reader still understand his side of the story. He was Captain America once for a reason, so his ideals need to be partially in line with that of Steve or Sam. Occasionally the dialogue is a bit on the nose with shoving political opinions down our throat, but they never read as something we couldn’t see on Twitter already.
This issue’s overall plot doesn’t move much though. Sam’s fight with the Americops barely progresses beyond a punch thrown, and seems to stall just to make the arc an issue longer. While the issue is overall enjoyable, it makes it a forgettable. There is an unnecessary series recap for John Walker that feels a bit unnecessary. We already understand why John Walker doesn’t agree with Sam, so reiterating what Walker already knows feels is a bit pointless. Recapping who John Walker is, and his sordid past, would have done a better job of engaging audiences in why we should care about John Walker fighting Sam Wilson. The inclusion of Walker shows how well Spencer has adapted to the various Captain Americas across these books. He makes it seem effortless to insert a new Captain America and bring their history and voice to the forefront and make it flow with the issue.
Art: Daniel Acuña continues to do a fantastic job on artwork. The low lighting mixed with the shine of the Americops’ visors creates a visually engaging book that is some of Acuña’s best work. The updated U.S. Agent costume is a nice mixture of classic and modern, mimicking the costume Captain America wore during Rick Remender’s run on CAPTAIN AMERICA. I wish he would give Rage a redesign, as the luchador style mask and costume is hard to take seriously. While you may not agree with U.S. Agents political stance, Acuña gives his monologue a sincerity that lets you respect his decisions. Acuña’s colors set the tone perfectly early on, having the bolder colors pop in the past, while they become subdued in the present.
Verdict: CAPTAIN AMERICA: SAM WILSON #12 is a fine issue, but ultimate feels like it’s spinning it’s wheels a bit. The lack of CIVIL WAR II tie-in ends ups helping this month’s outing, and Daniel Acuña continues to be a fantastic artist for this politically driven series.