By Nick Spencer, Javier Pina, Miguel Sepulveda and Rachelle Rosenberg
There have been few titles lately that have created as much of a stir as Captain America: Steve Rogers. In the first re-launched issue it was revealed that Steve worked for Hydra and readers and many non-readers, lost their collective minds. Nick Spencer got hate and even some death threats via social media. Things have cooled down a bit since that first issue, but this story arc remains a hot topic in the comics community. This week we get a supposed Civil War II tie-in, but don’t be mislead by the cover, it’s a very loose tie-in.
There are a lot of things Nick Spencer does well in this issue, and first and foremost, it should be stated that this is one of the freshest Captain America stories told in a while. Spencer writes Steve as a much-needed conflicted character. Even though he is a full-fledged member of Hydra, we can tell he still has some of his humanity. This was clearly illustrated when he decided not to kill Dr. Selvig. Maria Hill also comes across really likable here. She’s a character that can be too much business and dry sometimes, but Spencer gives her a fun voice. She cracks Julius Caesar jokes at random S.H.I.E.L.D. members and makes fun of holographic conferencing; it’s nice to see her with a little more personality. The flashback to Steve’s youth are effective in showing why and how Cap got sucked into Hydra in the first place. The only gripe is that this is an oversized issue, and at some points it feels like it’s too congested, or that there are too many storylines going on at once.
The pencils this issue are handled by Javier Pina and Miguel Sepulveda with colors by Rachelle Rosenberg. This actually ends up being a pretty graphic issue, and Sepulveda and Pina draw it very well. As Cap fights a villain and his minions he busts skulls, complete with dark panels of splattering blood and loss of limbs. Panels where Sharon Carter is in front of the Senate standout in this issue. It seems like a fairly ordinary set of panels, but what Pina and Sepulveda get right is that they make the older people actually look old and distinguished. There have been some comics where older characters have had no definition on their faces to seem old, but these two make it a point to show the age of characters. Pina and Sepulveda draw Taskmaster eerily as he looks for the remains of Baron Zemo and Dr. Selvig; maybe it’s the way they draw him smiling so creepily, but he looks more menacing than normal. The star of this issue art-wise is absolutely Rachelle Rosenberg. Her colors are phenomenal and really make the art come together as a whole. The flashback panels have an aged look to them because of the grays she uses. This gives you a sense of the time period and it is absolutely effective. Her use of reds as Steve every time Steve is about to kill a villain is wonderful. The blood on the page is black as it spatters all over the place. The art this issue was wonderful, but Rachelle Rosenberg was amazing on colors.
Captain America: Steve Rogers has been a heck of a ride. For a book that is surrounded in controversy, Nick Spencer is turning out an amazing story that will have lasting consequences for Steve Rogers in the future. The pencils and colors absolutely rock this issue and you’d be hard pressed to find better art in any other book this week. If you’re not reading this series, you’re missing out on all kinds of awesome.