REVIEW: Captain America #2 – “The Man Behind the Shield”

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Captain America #2
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Penciller: Leinil Francis Yu
Colorist: Sunny Gho
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Price: $3.99
Release Date: 08/01/18
Rating: T+

Captain America

Plot: Captain America continues to fight the numerous Nuke clones. However the U.S. government does not sanction his actions, so they ask Cap to back off. Also, Steve Rogers continues to repair his relationship with Sharon Carter.

Story:  Ta-Nehisi Coates continues to do an impressive job writing Cap’s thoughts. Coates’s writing makes Cap’s doubts and uncertainty clear to the reader. Also this issue has Captain America fighting clones of another super soldier, Nuke. Coates uses this to explore how Cap feels whenever he fights a rogue off-brand super soldier. There’s a brilliant line where Cap says that he sees them as darker versions of himself.

This issue also gives some attention to Steve’s relationship with Sharon Carter. During the previous issue, Steve and Sharon were in a rough patch that’s gotten a little worse since Sharon’s working with the government to stop the Nuke attacks. Also Sharon isn’t sharing any of the information with Steve. However, this issue showed Steve and Sharon making progress. Previous Captain America titles haven’t given this much focus to Steve and Sharon’s relationship, so these scenes really help this title stand-out among the other Captain America stories.

While this issue has excellent character development, it does not move the plot of the story. This issue doesn’t tell us who’s controlling the Nuke clones or give us any new information about the Power Elite. While most arcs do have an issue devoted to character development, it’s odd choice for the second issue. But we do get some panels to imply that Cap made a bargain with Kobik (the sentient Cosmic Cube) so he could return. This feels like a last minute addition so readers would think something happened.

Art: The artwork is stunning. The scenes of Cap in action are awesome and dynamic. Also they have a fast-paced feeling which helps the story flow. The facial expressions were excellent. However, there was one scene between Cap and General Ross where their faces became difficult to read. Plus Sunny Gho makes a great color choice where the only time we see blue and red are with Cap’s uniform. This really helps readers focus on the titular character.

Verdict: Ta-Nehisi Coates does an impressive job showing Captain America’s state of mind post-Secret Empire. However his attention on Cap’s character halts progress on the overall story. Also adding the  deal with Kobik comes off as a cheap attempt for shock value. Fortunately the issue’s artwork manages to keep it entertaining. Ultimately, this second issue of Captain America is average at best.

Rating: 3 out of 5

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