What Ed Brubaker is doing with Captain America, in this new story arc, is great stuff and don’t let anyone tell you different. As a casual observer, my big question as I became familiar with the title was whether or not Steve Rogers was really interesting. What would make someone want to care about him? The big one, Issue 25, doesn’t really tell you. And this last event, Cap Reborn and all, doesn’t tell you either. But, if you start at the beginning of the Brubaker run, “The Winter Soldier” story provides the hook. It’s way cool. Who will wield the shield indeed. Between Brubaker’s script and Steve Epting’s art, Steve Rogers and that shield fly! And then those first interactions between Steve and Sharon let you know there’s chemistry. Steve comes across as a tough but vulnerable guy. He’s stubborn, brash and likable. He does have a story to tell on a large and not so large stage.
Getting back to the new story, “Two Americas,” this is set on a smaller stage. We go from the grand and sweeping events of “Reborn” where we get a lot of big things going on for brief bursts to something more specific that can be rolled out and examined more closely. Allowing this story to unfold, I’m sure you’ll find something very worthwhile. A story that brings in the crazy version of Captain America from the ’50s to confront today’s Cap sounds good already. What an opportunity to speak to what’s going on in America today. How far have we come and how far do we still have to go?
To think of America as predominantly one beautiful landscape made up of white picket fences surrounding one gorgeous home after another, with two cars in the garage, a chicken in every pot and a joyful nuclear family dwelling in each is pure fantasy. It’s an American dream but not a reality. No, reality is far more complex and even scary for some. It’s scary for William Burnside, once a pudgy little boy from Boise, Idaho, transformed by the US government into an alternate Captain America in the ’50s. Things didn’t go quite as planned and William grew unstable, finally running away. He finds comfort among other outsiders, one of Marvel’s band of domestic terrorists going back to the ’80s, The Watchdogs.
It’s not long before Bucky and Sam travel to Idaho in response to the violence crazy Cap and his new friends have already wrought. Of course, we’ve got a loaded situation here made worse with Sam, a black man from New York, dropped into a primarily white community of people who appear isolated and hostile to anything or anyone different from themselves. It looks like a powder keg ready to blow up.
And that’s the set up for what we can feel confident will be a compelling four issue story. Will Sam experience more hostility among people who seem to only see him as an Other instead of a person? Or is there room here for Sam and the natives to communicate? We hear so much in the media about America being divided but how often do we hear from those who are truly disenfranchised? What is real and what is fabricated? You know, something tells me that our friend, Ed Brubaker, will have some answers for us and he’ll keep knocking the ball out of the park with Captain America.