Friday, October 26, 2012

Comics Review: Captain America #19

Captain America #19
Written by: Ed Brubaker
Drawn by: Steve Epting

Where to start with this book? Lets try November 2004. Brubaker took on this book being a true life long fan. Knowing the stories he enjoyed as a child and knowing what the fans wanted to read, he brought a new, much needed, breath into this title. A book being put out just for the name, after all you can't just stop putting out Cap! Right off the bat bringing back Bucky from the dead, turned into a villain, turned good guy, turned temp Cap, and I'm rambling. You see how much he's done! Anyway, I digress. This issue has us sitting in on a monologue spoken by Steve Rogers. He's talking to William Burnside who filled Caps shield in the 50's while Rogers was presumed dead. Rogers is still trying to understand why he's held up as this icon. He sees it as only serving his country. Over the years seeing what the symbol on that shield has represented and how it's changed over the years, he wants to open up to Burnside on some things that made HIM want to strap on the shield. Steve opens up about his younger days, the scrawny Steve, the death of his father, and the gripping fear that he'd come home to an empty home. Failed enlist after failed enlist, Rogers never had any intention of actually being on the front lines of the war, punching Hitler, he only wanted to help his country. To feel like he was worth something, anything. Then blowing up to becoming a symbol worth a lot, to a lot of people. It became more than short films and war posters, it got real. Becoming a beacon of hope for soldiers everywhere and to everyone back home, Rogers was sent to war. Took him down a peg or two on the inside, again not knowing he'd be the only one of his kind at the time. He ate it and stood up to the challenge, proving more and more why he deserves that star on his chest. He then goes on to tell Burnside that the shield became more of a job, a "burden" as he puts it. Like people HAVE to wear the shield. To protect and serve. And none like Burnside who had lost everything he was trying to be Captain America. This twisted image of what Cap should be forced Rogers to walk away from the shield for a bit. This leading to the death of a civilian wielding the shield. It shows Steve that if HE'S not going to be Cap, someone else will. He feels responsible, like he needs to be Cap. I guess you can call it his own Ben Parker Complex (Trademarking that). He ends the one sided convo by assuring Burnside he's going to have a better life with his new name at his new home when he's better. Tells him that William Burnside was laid to rest beautifully and deservingly and that his mission is over, he longer has to be Cap. The art in the book is as beautiful as Epting's first issue with Brubaker. Huge panels, intense action. Strong colors by Frank D'Armata, just like the first run. Great writing, as Brubaker's been doing for 8 long years. In short (after this long one!) what I'm saying is, if you only buy one issue of Cap in your entire life, make it this one. It's first time reader friendly, it's long time fan friendly, Joe Simon'd be proud.

Matt Milanes

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