Archive for the ‘SHIELD’ Category

Avengers Assemble #23

February 26, 2016

Avengers Assemble 23Kelly Sue DeConnick with Warren Ellis // Matteo Buffagni
March 2014
****

The Education of Anya Corazon continues with Wolverine’s classic girl-sidekick seminar. It helps immensely that Ellis & DeConnick have impressive chemistry as well. I also like KSDC’s depiction of the Avengers as a sort of super-NGO. And Buffagni’s showing issue-by-issue improvement!

last issue: Avengers Assemble #22
next issue: Avengers Assemble #24

Captain Marvel #13

February 16, 2016

Captain Marvel 2.13Kelly Sue DeConnick // Scott Hepburn with Gerardo Sandoval
August 2013
***

Marvel & her avenging friends fight a squadron of reactivated Kirbybots while deducing her attacker’s ID. The pacing’s a little slow (maybe this crossover didn’t need the opening one-shot) but otherwise the writing is tight—wonder how long DeCon will stay in comics before genre TV tempts her away?

continued from Avengers Assemble #16
continued from Avengers Assemble #18
last issue: Captain Marvel #12
next issue: Captain Marvel #14

also indexed for Aug. ’13
Avengers Assemble #16
Hawkeye #11

Avengers Assemble #11

February 7, 2016

Avengers Assemble 11Kelly Sue DeConnick // Stefano Caselli
March 2013
***

KSDC proves her knack for writing super-comics, both solo & team mags. This arc may be formulaic—a megalomaniac aims to conquer the world with mad science—but she injects just enough humor to make it a fun read & her dialogue doesn’t fall prey to Bendis-like vamping as it shows personality.

last issue: Avengers Assemble #10
next issue: Avengers Assemble #12

also indexed for Mar. ’13
Captain Marvel #9
Hawkeye #7
Winter Soldier #14

Hawkeye #20

January 23, 2016

Hawkeye 20Matt Fraction // David Aja
November 2014
*****

This arc has been a phenomenal backdoor pilot for Kate Bishop, Hawkeye—or a grand reward for her fans. Frac, as if acknowledging the character’s maturity, writes her finale in classic non-linear Hawkeye style. Try & put together the twists of this LA noir, or just marvel at Wu’s gangly teen heroine.

last issue: Hawkeye #19
next issue: Hawkeye #21

Hawkeye #6

January 8, 2016

Hawkeye 06Matt Fraction // David Aja
late February 2013
*****

This take on the Avenger (“Hawkguy” as one neighbor has it) is startlingly innovative. A helical time structure has Barton spend the week pre X-mas in turf war w/ the Russian bros. Aja’s grid runs 6×6, even 7×6, with negative space opening & minimalizing the Mazzuchelli style of scratchy cape comics.

last issue: Hawkeye #5
next issue: Hawkeye #7

also indexed for Feb. ’13
Hawkeye #5
Winter Soldier #13

Hawkeye #5

January 7, 2016

Hawkeye 05Matt Fraction // Javier Pulido
early February 2012
*****

Kid Hawkeye impersonates an Iron Man villain—the criminal mastermind w/ a gold mask—& earns an archenemy. She also learns that the video of her mentor sanctioning a terrorist was a fake, to protect the IDs of Navy Seals: a clever comics application of the Bin Laden op a few years ago.

last issue: Hawkeye #4
next issue: Hawkeye #6

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Hawkeye #6
Winter Soldier #13

Hawkeye #4

January 6, 2016

Hawkeye 04Matt Fraction // Javier Pulido
January 2013
*****

SHIELD’s lost a VCR tape of Barton assassinating a global terrorist for them—so it dispatches him to buy it at auction in an ersatz Asian megacity! As an international man of mystery, he’s a flop. Pulido, however, proves Aja’s near-equal, using minimalism & softer curves to strike a lighter comic tone.

last issue: Hawkeye #3
next issue: Hawkeye #5

also indexed for Jan. ’13
Winter Soldier #12

Secret Avengers #21

December 23, 2015

Secret Avengers 21Warren Ellis // Stuart Immonen
March 2012
****

Cap & co fight a horror beast in a skyscraper. Anyone hoping for a resolution to the mag’s Lovecraft conspiracy will be disappointed; so will Nextwave fans looking for a gonzo reunion for Ellis & Immonen. Still, the duo’s expertise makes for first-rate spy-fi & a fine capper to a fun, cynical run.

last issue: Secret Avengers #20
next issue: Secret Avengers #22

also indexed for Mar. ’12
Captain America #7
Captain America & Bucky #626
The Fantastic Four #602
FF #14

Secret Avengers #19

December 21, 2015

Secret Avengers 19Warren Ellis // Michael Lark
January 2012
*****

This brief run on a 2nd-tier Avengers mag may actually be the apex of the ’00s superspy revival. Each done-in-one mission has a different tone, thanks to the guest artists. Here Lark evokes horror & The Third Man; in E. Europe, the team raids a club whose owner gains powers up by smoking an Elder God’s ashes!

last issue: Secret Avengers #18
next issue: Secret Avengers #20

also indexed for Jan. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4
Captain America #4
Captain America & Bucky #624
The Fantastic Four #600
Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1
FF #12

Secret Avengers #18

December 20, 2015

Secret Avengers 18Warren Ellis // David Aja
December 2011
*****

Backed by a rotating crew of A-list artists, Ellis is distilling the modern superspy trend into a stiff shot of comics. For #18, Cap’s kooky quartet displays Shang-Chi to far better effect than Brubaker did. He gives Aja the chance to draw a kung fu fight in an Escher dimension. Gorgeous.

last issue: Secret Avengers #17
next issue: Secret Avengers #19

also indexed for Dec. ’11
Annihilators: Earthfall #2 of 4
Captain America & Bucky #623
FF #10
FF #11

Secret Avengers #17

December 19, 2015

Secret Avengers 17Warren Ellis // Kev Walker
November 2011
****

In the rural hills of Serbia, Cap & the team play Mad Max with a cyborg death-rig that’s abducting human parts! This reads like Nextwave but with competent heroes, or like Planetary with a gonzo foe. Pity Kev’s ugly-cool style can’t quite handle the cinematic action, but he draws great zom-borgs.

last issue: Secret Avengers #16
next issue: Secret Avengers #18

also indexed for Nov. ’11
Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
Captain America #3
Captain America & Bucky #622
FF #9

Winter Soldier #14

December 17, 2015

Winter Soldier 14Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
March 2013
***

A KGB superspy wipes love for Bucky from Black Widow’s memory. Brubaker erases this character’s past way too tidily (see also Agent 13’s pregnancy), and focuses on his hero’s wound. It’s the Widow who’s been attacked! That leaves a bad taste, but it’s not the first long run to end in mediocrity.

last issue: Winter Soldier #13
next issue: Winter Soldier #15

also indexed for Mar. ’13

Winter Soldier #13

December 16, 2015

Winter Soldier 13Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
February 2013
***

Ed B nods to his other major Marvel run, pitting brainwashed Bucky against his kidnapped GF’s ex, Daredevil. It’s no character piece, nor is it particularly well-staged; just a rainy nighttime NYC fight with Wolverine, Hawkeye, & Cap jumping in. At least they all chew Bucky out for his stupidity.

last issue: Winter Soldier #12
next issue: Winter Soldier #14

also indexed for Feb. ’13

Winter Soldier #12

December 15, 2015

Winter Soldier 12Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
January 2013
***

Bucky agrees to revert to his Soviet self and execute a mission for the superspy who’s kidnapped his GF. Our hero’s taken impulsive actions before, so at least it’s in character—but it’s astonishingly stupid. Brubaker has one foot out the door, and Guice, no longer inking himself, is looking ragged.

last issue: Winter Soldier #11
next issue: Winter Soldier #13

also indexed for Jan. ’13

Captain America #19

December 14, 2015

Captain America 5.19Ed Brubaker // Steve Epting
late December 2012
***

Seven years after #1, Epting returns to pencil Brubaker’s final issue of Cap (tho’ the run wraps in Winter Soldier). It’s a montage/monologue of the hero’s career, focusing again on Cap’s symbolic burden. More compelling is an reprise of the action sequence v. terrorists atop an outerboro subway.

also indexed for Dec. ’12
Captain America #18
The Fantastic Four #611
FF #23
Winter Soldier #11

Winter Soldier #11

December 13, 2015

Winter Soldier 11Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
December 2012
***

One drawback to Guice’s robust approach to superspy adventure is that it compunds one of Bru’s flaws. Their men have only a small range of emotion, mostly centered on machismo. It means that character dynamics are undercooked, even tho’ the point of #11 is to team Bucky up with fan fave Hawkeye.

last issue: Winter Soldier #11
next issue: Winter Soldier #13

also indexed for Dec. ’12
Captain America #18
Captain America #19
The Fantastic Four #611
FF #23

Captain America #18

December 12, 2015

Captain America 5.18Ed Brubaker with Cullen Bunn // Scot Eaton
early December 2012
**

A 3-pronged action climax set in a space base, a rioting city, & an airborne villain’s lair. Yet it’s dense w/ clichéd plots, skipped story beats & fudged explanations—it’s barely passable as super-comics. Eaton adds to the generic quality with 4-panel pages & a style 15 years out of date.

last issue: Captain America #17
next issue: Captain America #19

also indexed for Dec. ’12
Captain America #19
The Fantastic Four #611
FF #23
Winter Soldier #11

Captain America #17

December 11, 2015

Captain America 5.17Ed Brubaker with Cullen Bunn // Scot Eaton
November 2012
**

To attack Cap’s confidence, terrorists cause riots—the sort of cart-before-horse plotting that makes villains super-ridiculous. But Brubaker’s always cast his hero as a neurotic Atlas struggling w/ his symbolic burden. More interesting is the cover’s bout, which establishes a Zemo/Agent 13 rivalry.

last issue: Captain America #16
next issue: Captain America #18

also indexed for Nov. ’12
The Fantastic Four #610
FF #22
Winter Soldier #10

Winter Soldier #10

December 10, 2015

Winter Soldier 10Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
November 2012
****

Black Widow has been kidnapped & mind-raped; regressed to her Soviet self (well, a 21C version of it); killed a longtime SHIELD agent, & had all memory of her romance with Our Hero erased. It’s all to torture Bucky emotionally, natch. But Guice’s art looks retro & contemporary all at once.

last issue: Winter Soldier #9
next issue: Winter Soldier #11

also indexed for Nov. ’12
Captain America #17
The Fantastic Four #610
FF #22

Captain America #16

December 9, 2015

Captain America 5.16Ed Brubaker & Cullen Bunn // Scot Eaton
October 2012
***

People are rioting in DC, influenced by a brain-ray carried via right-wing cable-TV. The hypnosis pattern is groovy op-art! An old plot device gets updated with smartphone screens, & it fits Brubaker’s obsession w/ mind control well. Less convincing is this comic’s widescreen destruction.

last issue: Captain America #15
next issue: Captain America #17

also indexed for Oct. ’12
The Fantastic Four #609
FF #21
Winter Soldier #9

Winter Soldier #9

December 8, 2015

Winter Soldier 09Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
October 2012
****

Visually this arc matches the best of the run. Lark stages the SHIELD shutdown of a Lincoln Center ballet with urgency and clarity. Brubaker’s plot twist, however, doubles down on the Black Widow’s psychological violation. Brainwashed, she fakes lucidity till she’s on the helicarrier, then attacks.

last issue: Winter Soldier #8
next issue: Winter Soldier #10

also indexed for Oct. ’12
Captain America #16
The Fantastic Four #609
FF #21

Captain America #15

December 7, 2015

Captain America 5.15Ed Brubaker & Cullen Bunn // Scot Eaton
late September 2012
**

After evil supergoons devastate Times Sq, a Glenn Beck parody attacks Cap’s rep. Behind both plots is a villainous scheme to <yawn> emotionally wreck our hero. Eaton fills his page count, & Brubaker has one foot out the door, so who’s to blame for some terrible work in an opening battle scene?

last issue: Captain America #14
next issue: Captain America #16

also indexed for Sept. ’12
Captain America #14
The Fantastic Four #608
FF #20
Winter Soldier #8

Winter Soldier #8

December 6, 2015

Winter Soldier 08Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
September 2012
****

Brubaker has made Nat Romanov formidable in her own right, so why’s he casting her as the damsel-in-distress here? She’s made into a pawn in a duel btw Bucky & an ex-KGB sleeper agent. It’s perilously close to fridging: she’s not just another brainwashed character in the run, she’s a violated woman.

last issue: Winter Soldier #7
next issue: Winter Soldier #9

also indexed for Sept. ’12
Captain America #14
Captain America #15
The Fantastic Four #608
FF #20

Captain America #14

December 5, 2015

Captain America 5.14Ed Brubaker // Patrick Zircher
early September 2012
***

D-Man (a sidekick from Gruenwald’s long run) gets killed after his brainwashed turn as Scourge (a Gruenwald vigilante ID). This somehow ties into HYDRA’s claim that Cap’s lost the soul of America. But that’s the Achilles Heel of Bru’s run: his Steve R. is long on self-doubt but short on specifics.

last issue: Captain America #13
next issue: Captain America #15

also indexed for Sept. ’12
Captain America #15
The Fantastic Four #608
FF #20
Winter Soldier #8

Winter Soldier #7

December 4, 2015

Winter Soldier 07Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
late August 2012
*****

Lark stages an exceptional action sequence—a high-octane firefight on motorcycle & camper van—but also some narrative flashbacks that are artfully quiet. Note also how realistically Brubaker directs the action as a mission op, recalling the excellent indie Queen & Country as much as, say, Bourne.

last issue: Winter Soldier #6
next issue: Winter Soldier #8

also indexed for Aug. ’12
Captain America #13
The Fantastic Four #607
FF #19
Winter Soldier #6

Captain America #13

December 3, 2015

Captain America 5.13Ed Brubaker // Patrick Zircher
August 2012
***

More adventures in the post-9/11 era, with a firefight in LGA, a spy snagged in DC. It’s solid, but the status quo since Cap’s return lacks the apocalyptic momentum of the this run’s start. Plus I’d like to see it move from the Bush era to the Obama: drone strikes abroad, vigilante racism at home.

last issue: Captain America #12
next issue: Captain America #14

also indexed for Aug. ’12
The Fantastic Four #607
FF #19
Winter Soldier #6
Winter Soldier #7

Winter Soldier #6

December 2, 2015

Winter Soldier 06Ed Brubaker // Michael Lark
early August 2012
****

My favorite of Brubaker’s artists takes a curtain call with this late-run arc about a KGB cryo-tube agent, an obvious foil for the title hero (he even kills an ex-Bucky!). Bru’s brought back to his hard-boiled, realistic side; take a sec to note how smoothy he shifts from last arc’s Doom & Apes!

last issue: Winter Soldier #5
next issue: Winter Soldier #7

also indexed for Aug. ’12
Captain America #13
The Fantastic Four #607
FF #19
Winter Soldier #7

Captain America #12

December 1, 2015

Captain America 5.12Ed Brubaker // Patrick Zircher
late July 2012
***

HYDRA has added a brainwash case to this run’s long list: Henry Peter Gyrich, who’s aiming to expose SHIELD’s witness protection program while killing its beneficiaries. Cap v. 6 (?!) is what Secret Avs could’ve been: spyfi adventure, Steve Rogers & SHIELD v. terrorist cells & political superspies.

last issue: Captain America #11
next issue: Captain America #13

also indexed for Jul. ’12
Captain America #11
The Fantastic Four #605.1
The Fantastic Four #606
FF #18
Winter Soldier #5

Winter Soldier #5

November 30, 2015

Winter Soldier 05Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
July 2012
*****

A two-fisted showdown in a rocket silo! Dr. Doom vs. Super-Apes! Not only does this arc give great spyfi action, it turns the villainess into the kind of super-terrorist Latveria would spawn, & a foe worthy of Doom. Guice draws great hand-to-hand, w/ surprising angles & distances adding kineticism.

last issue: Winter Soldier #4
next issue: Winter Soldier #6

also indexed for Jul. ’12
Captain America #11
Captain America #12
The Fantastic Four #605.1
The Fantastic Four #606
FF #18

Winter Soldier #4

November 28, 2015

Winter Soldier 04Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
June 2012
****

An odd team-up of Kirby creations: Bucky Barnes & Dr. Doom prevent a terrorist bombing at the UN! Effectively Bucky Barnes, Agent of SHIELD, this mag is as good as Brubaker has been since Cap Reborn. It looks great too, as Guice has added Steranko layouts & Adams figures to his arsenal.

last issue: Winter Soldier #3
next issue: Winter Soldier #5

also indexed for Jun. ’12
Captain America #10
The Fantastic Four #605
FF #17

Captain America #10

November 27, 2015

Captain America 5.10Ed Brubaker // Alan Davis
June 2012
**

Riots in Harlem, stoked by terrorists & led by a mind-zapped Falcon. Is Brubaker taking up the old (white) American fear of race war? It’s an allusion to Kirby but still smells dodgy. Best to set that aside; enjoy Davis’ skill with facial expressions & the way Agent 13 outwits Machinesmith.

last issue: Captain America #9
next issue: Captain America #11

also indexed for Jun. ’12
The Fantastic Four #605
FF #17
Winter Soldier #4

Winter Soldier #3

November 25, 2015

Winter Soldier 03Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
May 2012
****

A great match-up: Widow & the Winter Soldier vs. Dr. Doom! Doom wins on his home turf, the Latverian Embassy in NYC. It’s all a sequel to Bendis’ misfire Secret War, a mini that helped pioneer the Marvel vogue for post-9/11 superheroic espionage, a subgenre that this run epitomizes.

last issue: Winter Soldier #2
next issue: Winter Soldier #4

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
Captain America #9
Captain America & Bucky #628
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #16

Captain America #9

November 24, 2015

Captain America 5.09Ed Brubaker // Alan Davis
May 2012
***

Agent 13 negotiates with Machinesmith, a devious AI w/ intel on her BF’s power loss, & she proves how badass she is. Davis pencils an acrobatic laser battle, tho’ SF isn’t his best mode. In fact, great as he is, tonally he’s a huge deviation from this 100+ issue run of hard, cinematic spy-fi.

last issue: Captain America #8
next issue: Captain America #10

also indexed for May ’12
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #9 of 9
Captain America & Bucky #628
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #16
Winter Soldier #3

Winter Soldier #2

November 22, 2015

Winter Soldier 02Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
late April 2012
****

Not content to continue the run’s Bourne-like action, this first arc pits our hero against a Commie gorilla with a jetpack & AK-47! It’s a ’60s Soviet hench-ape! But #2’s real story is Guice, adding maturity of layout to the Maleev photoref style. It’s gorgeous (except for his rubber-limbed Widow).

last issue: Winter Soldier #1
next issue: Winter Soldier #3

also indexed for Apr. ’12
Captain America #8
Captain America & Bucky #627
The Fantastic Four #603
FF #15
Winter Soldier #1

Captain America #8

November 21, 2015

Captain America 5.08Ed Brubaker // Alan Davis
April 2012
***

Cap’s super-physique keeps reverting to 98-lb. weakling. Behind the change is a murderer’s row of enemies: a HYDRA Queen of Dreams & her WW2 supersoldier flame (Bru’s recent creations), archenemy Baron Zemo, a late-Kirby WMD, Gruenwald’s Serpent Squad, even an AI created by Byrne/Stern!

last issue: Captain America #7
next issue: Captain America #9

also indexed for Apr. ’12
Captain America & Bucky #627
The Fantastic Four #603
FF #15
Winter Soldier #1
Winter Soldier #2

Winter Soldier #1

November 20, 2015

Winter Soldier 01Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice
early April 2012
****

Bucky finally gets his solo mag, hunting Soviet cryotube killers w/ GF Black Widow. I wouldn’t want to delete Buck’s tenure as Cap but this is what the character’s meant for: a throwback to Cold War superspy stuff rather than the watered-down War on Terror espionage of the concurrent Cap run.

continued from Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1
next issue: Winter Soldier #2

also indexed for Apr. ’12
Captain America #8
Captain America & Bucky #627
The Fantastic Four #604
FF #15
Winter Soldier #2

Captain America & Bucky #626

November 19, 2015

Captain America & Bucky 626Ed Brubaker with James Asmus // Francisco Francavilla
March 2012
***

A killer android, ‘brother’ to the 1940s Torch, reactivates to attack Cap. It reiterates this run’s theme of the living past & legacy, but the writing (Asmus gets co-credit) is formulaic. And oh, Francavilla! Shaky, hand-drawn lines & a unique aesthetic make him unlike any other artist on the run.

last issue: Captain America & Bucky #625
next issue: Captain America & Bucky #627

also indexed for Mar. ’12
Captain America #7
The Fantastic Four #602
FF #14

Captain America #7

November 18, 2015

Captain America 5.07Ed Brubaker // Alan Davis
March 2012
***

Brubaker has fashioned a new ongoing arc for his A-title, scotching the conspiracy plot of Secret Avs. Fans of Gruenwald’s era will love it; I’m happy to see a classic bit of Kirbytech that causes riots. But it’s all super-plot, less compelling than the political spy-fi of 7 (!) years ago.

last issue: Captain America #6
next issue: Captain America #8

also indexed for Mar. ’12
Captain America & Bucky #626
The Fantastic Four #602
FF #14

Captain America #6

November 17, 2015

Captain America 5.06Ed Brubaker // Alan Davis
late February 2012
***

Editorial trades up on artists, ditching McNiven for master Davis. His cartoon-like variation on Neal Adams fits the mag’s mission, which is to take a neo-classical (hackneyed?) approach. The continuing plot—a new HYDRA cell wants to depower Cap—develops as background to some costumed superheroics.

last issue: Captain America #5
next issue: Captain America #7

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
Captain America #5
Captain America & Bucky #625
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Captain America #5

November 15, 2015

Captain America 5.05Ed Brubaker // Steve McNiven & Guiseppe Camuncoli
early February 2012
***

There’s a good concept here (a revived New Dealer accuses Cap of failing their ideals) but the point gets obscured. Partly that’s McN’s fault—he turns the foe into a ranter. He can’t even go 5 issues without a delay & assist! But frankly this arc’s longer on 4-color action than ideas or craft.

last issue: Captain America #4
next issue: Captain America #6

also indexed for Feb. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #4 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #8 of 9
Captain
America #6
Captain America & Bucky #625
The Fantastic Four #601
FF #13

Captain America #4

November 14, 2015

Captain America 5.04Ed Brubaker // Steve McNiven
January 2012
***

Cap’s trapped in a dreamscape while his pals fight the terrorists who put him there. I do like the idealistic scheme of a fellow man-out-of-time to replace 21C America with the ’38 World’s Fair. Otherwise it’s standard stuff for both the run & the title generally, & McN’s art is pretty but plastic.

last issue: Captain America #3
next issue: Captain America #5

also indexed for Jan. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4
Captain America & Bucky #624
The Fantastic Four #600
Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1
FF #12

Fear Itself: Captain America #7.1

November 12, 2015

Fear Itself 7.1 Captain AmericaEd Brubaker // Jackson Guice
January 2012
****

EB got to conclude Civil War in his mag, & here’s the trade-off: another event mini, Fear Itself, hosts the fatal confrontation btw his creations Bucky & Sin. Fair? Maybe, but it’s bad storytelling. So Bru plays a trump: a dose of SHIELD’s secret serum revives Buck (again).

continued from Fear Itself #7 of 7
continued in Winter Soldier #1

also indexed for Jan. ’12
Annihilators: Earthfall #3 of 4
Captain America #4
Captain America & Bucky #624
Fantastic Four #600
FF #12

Captain America #3

November 9, 2015

Captain America 5.03Ed Brubaker // Steve McNiven
November 2011
***

One of my favorite facets of Brubaker’s run has been Cap & co Cap & co sparring with giant robots. Here he fights a house-sized double (AKA Ameridroid)! McNiven never quite gives readers the payoff shot (Steve Rogers as Fay Wray) but he’s adopted a cartoony note since CW, paralleling Marvel’s house style.

last issue: Captain America #2
next issue: Captain America #4

also indexed for Nov. ’11
Annihilators: Earthfall #1 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #7 of 9
Captain America & Bucky #622
FF #9

Captain America #2

November 7, 2015

Captain America 5.02Ed Brubaker // Steve McNiven
October 2011
****

A WW2 platoon, long MIA in dreamspace, resurfaces as a HYDRA terrorist cell! As a variation on Cap‘s man-out-of-time archetype it’s fairly mind-blowing. And it has the bonus of Bru’s theme of mind & neurosis. Unexpectedly, McNiv integrates the surrealism with his cinematic realism quite well.

last issue: Captain America #1
next issue: Captain America #3

also indexed for Oct. ’11
Captain America & Bucky #621
FF #8

Captain America #1

November 5, 2015

Captain America 5.01Ed Brubaker // Steve McNiven
September 2011
****

Marvel gives Cap a new #1 for his red-carpet rollout, & snaps his status quo back 5 years—pre-Civil War! Brubaker doesn’t break stride, writing an ish that could’ve been v. 5 #22. The funeral of Cap’s WW2 flame produces yet another retconned superspy from the Nazi era: Peggy Carter’s jilted lover.

continued from Captain America #619
next issue: Captain America #2

also indexed for Sept. ’11
Captain America & Bucky #620
FF #6
FF #7

Captain America #619

November 4, 2015

Captain America 619Ed Brubaker // Mitch Breitweiser, Jackson Guice, & Chris Samnee
August 2011
***

Proving a worse spymaster than Nick Fury, Cap edges back towards status quo ante. Bucky, however, gets a new mission, going rogue to catch KGB sleeper agents. And Black Widow brazenly rescues him from a gulag—behavior that finally proves (to me) that she’s a romantically plausible partner for Bucky.

continued in Captain America #1
continued in Fear Itself #1 of 7
last issue: Captain America #618
next issue: Captain America & Bucky #620

also indexed for Aug. ’11
Annihilators #4 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #6 of 9
FF #5

Captain America #618

November 3, 2015

Captain America 619Ed Brubaker // Jackson Guice & Chris Samnee
July 2011
****

Bucky continues to dominate this run, even as he’s shifted back to sidekick. Guilt-soaked dream montages delve into his Winter Soldier psyche & hint at KGB backstory. Samnee pencil-&-inks a dynamic spies-in-catsuits subplot. He’s in the retro school, w/ simple lines & expressive faces.

last issue: Captain America #617
next issue: Captain America #619

also indexed for Jul. ’11
Annihilators #3 of 4
FF #3
FF #4

Captain America #617

November 2, 2015

Captain America 617Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato, Jackson Guice, & Chris Samnee
June 2011
***

A triptych of plots to spring Bucky from a gulag, where he’s pitted against ex-Soviet super-agents in death matches. Guice gives his plot a superb sense of place & atmo, while Samnee’s pages look snazzy. In that, Steve Rogers works w/ DC pols in a realistic cloak’n’dagger plot—till robots attack!

also indexed for Jun. ’11
Annihilators #2 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade #5 of 9
FF #2
Secret Avengers #12

Captain America #616

October 31, 2015

Captain America 616A-story: Ed Brubaker // Ed McGuinness
B-story: Ed Brubaker // Mike Deodato
C-story: Howard Chaykin
D-story: Cullen Bunn // Jason Latour
E-story: Mike Benson // Paul Grist
F-story: Frank Tieri // Paul Azaceta
G-Story: Kyle Higgins & Alec Siegel // Pepe Larraz
May 2011
A-story: ***
B-story: ***
C-story: ****
D-story: ****
E-story: **
F-story: ***
G-Story: ***

Double-sized to celebrate Cap’s debut in May ’41. True Cap gets the A-plot, New Cap gets the B. Narrative gravity starts to pull Rogers back into action, Bru’s chance to indulge a Batman brood. The tone clashes w/ McGuinness’ helium style. Deodato’s noirish shadows fit Bucky’s tale better, tho’ his he-man physiques grate. The non-Brubaker back-ups are good too, esp. a Chaykin period piece!

last issue: Captain America #615.1
next issue: Captain America #617

also indexed for May ’11
Annihilators #1 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1
Captain America #615.1
FF #1
Secret Avengers #10

Captain America #615.1

October 30, 2015

Captain America 615.1Ed Brubaker // Mitch Breitweiser
May 2011
****

The strongest single issue of Steve Rogers, Director of SHIELD, delivering superspy adventure w/ high SF concepts. A rookie nearly dies trying to be Captain America; the twist is, he & the real Cap have been set up by Nick Fury. The plot echoes Englehart’s classic run, but its soul is ’60s cool.

last issue: Captain America #615
next issue: Captain America #616

also indexed for May ’11
Annihilators #1 of 4
Avengers: The Children’s Crusade: Young Avengers #1 of 1
Captain America #616
FF #1
Secret Avengers #10