Writer – Ta-Nehisi Coates; Art – Jason Masters; Color Artist – Matt Milla; Letters – VC’s Cory Petit; Graphic Designer – Carlos Lao; Assistant Editor – Shannon Andrews Ballesteros; Associate Editor – Alanna Smith; Editor – Tom Brevoort; Editor In Chief – C.B. Cebulski
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ run of Captain America continues to charge forward this week, as Cap and his team try to defuse a tough situation with even tougher circumstances.
This volume really focuses on the symbolism and responsibilities that go along with being Captain America. That is to say, what Captain America means in this day and age and what America itself means, especially after Steve’s turn to hydra in Secret War and with all of the tension in the real world. Issue #18 hits hard on those recurring themes.
The main story in the issue focuses on Rogers and his team going to calm a riot taking place at a halfway house. There isn’t any action vis-a-vis violence here, but he gives a speech about duty and community and calms everybody down, a different sort of action, with the help of Spiderwoman’s pheromones. Now I could certainly be reading too much into this, but it is an interesting message; the role of a hero in the modern age isn’t to solve problems with violence, but discourse and reason. A noble message for a medium aimed at younger, more malleable audiences.
That’s not to say that the book has no action, though. After calming the riot, Steve and the team find out the location of Scourge, through pretty convenient means, and go to apprehend him, leading to more of the comic book action an audience needs in such stories.
Finally, the issue begins and ends with Steve getting closer to discovering the Sharon’s secrets, a reveal that will hopefully pay off soon!
Masters’ and Miller’s art in this book is complex. There are certain aspects that are truly great and others that stand out as somewhat uncanny.
The stealth effect on the vehicle in the first panel is well realized, being visible to the reader but drawn with translucent effects (e.g. buildings behind/through it) enough to indicate transparency. Further, what is Captain America without his shield? This book has him using the shield made of light again. It is well designed, takes advantage of the same transparent drawing skills mentioned above, and is easily the best color choice in the book. It is so bright, with such a strong contrast to the book’s more reserved color pallet, that is really pops!
The character models have a very unique style that didn’t quite click for my tastes. The people seem a little 2 dimensional, the faces and poses seem off, and some of the proportions and facial details look odd. I can’t quite put my finger on it, but it’s uncanny. That’s certainly not to say it’s bad however, and for fans of this style or other less conventional comic book art, it’s worth picking up.
Captain America #18 continues Coates’ unique, modern take on Captain America. In this issue, more of the plot is resolved, leading to new mysteries.