Captain America #697
Writer: Mark Waid
Penciller: Chris Samnee
Colorist: Matthew Wilson
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Release Date: 01/03/18
Plot: Kraven the Hunter’s new target is Captain America. With his shield missing, Cap navigates Kraven’s hunting ground while protecting a civilian. The only mystery left is who hired Kraven in the first place.
Story: Mark Waid is doing an excellent job on this title. One thing I’ve enjoyed every issue is how Waid captures the nobility of the character. During this issue, Cap discovers Kraven has a hostage on his hunting ground. When Cap asks about the man’s identity, Kraven responds if it matters. This is enough for Cap to leap into action (literally). For me this sums up why Captain America is one of Marvel’s best heroes. Steve Rogers will help anyone in danger no matter who they are.
Kraven is an interesting choice for this issue’s antagonist. For one thing he is one of Spider-Man’s frequent enemies. Also it’s a little weird reading another hero’s villain fighting a different hero. However both Captain America and Kraven are a good physical match-up. Both men are at the peak of human strength. Plus Kraven took Cap’s shield so that levels the playing field. Nevertheless this was an entertaining match-up.
This issue is also a great set-up for the next arc. Toward the end of the story, we find out the group, Rampart, hired Kraven. Then they fire a freeze ray at Cap and trap him in ice once again. Solicitations for future issues showed that Cap would wake up in a future dystopia. Plus, this arc would lead to the title’s 700th issue. Also bringing back Rampart is a good decision because this makes their first appearance look less a one issue appearance.
Art: Chris Samnee has only drawn three issues but this issue shows some of his best work yet. Most of the issue is action sequences while Cap navigates the jungle. My favorite scene was Cap fighting a leopard. Plus Samnee nails the characters’ facial expressions, particularly when Cap asks Kraven about the civilian. Also check Kraven’s trophy wall for an easter egg from Waid and Samnee’s Daredevil run.
Matthew Wilson makes some excellent color choices. The sundown scene as Cap approaches the coast is breathtaking. The colors in the sky make it look like a real sunset. Plus I’ve enjoyed how the only real red and blue is in Cap’s suit which make the character jump out on each page.
Verdict: Mark Waid and Chris Samnee craft another excellent Captain America issue. Waid gives us an entertaining story with heart and an interesting set-up for the next arc. Samnee draws some stunning action scenes and facial expressions. Overall, Captain America is a must-have for any Marvel fan.
Rating: 5 out of 5