Captain America #25
By Al Kratina
March 12, 2007 - 13:36
Well, they’ve done it. In one fell swoop, with the mere flip of a page, millions of comic book fans around the world felt their hearts sink and the tears well up in their eyes, as Marvel did the unthinkable and killed Superman. I mean, Jean Grey. No, crap, I meant Colossus. Whatever. Someone’s dead, and as I quickly glance up to the top of the page and read the title of this article, I see that it is, indeed, Captain America, one of Marvel’s oldest and most iconic characters.
Of course, Captain America can’t really be dead. Nobody stays dead in comics, especially those killed by writer Ed Brubaker, who just ‘killed’ and revived Foggy Nelson in Daredevil and did the very same thing with The Red Skull in Captain America #1. The body is going to turn out to be a clone, or a robot, or someone infected with the hypnogerm from that Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode where the Mexican jumping beans put on a play in Master Shake’s brain. But, there’s a great deal of suspension of disbelief required to enjoy comic books, especially ones involving superheroes, as evidenced by the fact that Wolverine is meant to be the frightening epitome of bad-boy cool, despite initially dressing like a bumblebee with horns, and imposing world-eating destroyer Galactus wears a skirt. So, it’s best to approach stories like this with an open mind, which I think a talented writer like Ed Brubaker deserves.
In the context of ‘death issues’, Captain America #25 is particularly powerful one. Brubaker plots and paces it masterfully, never lapsing into sentimentality or abandoning the dark and mature feel he’s brought to the book since its re-launch. While climbing the steps to the courthouse for the start of his trial for resisting the Superhuman Registration Act, Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, a Marvel hero since 1941, is shot as part of an elaborate plot by the Red Skull and Dr. Faustus. Brubaker and regular series artist Steve Epting capture the chaos of the shooting and its aftermath perfectly, but despite the flurry of confused panel layouts and head-spinning action, the final few pages, in which the true scope of the conspiracy is revealed and Cap is shown to be dead, are understated, deliberate, and crushing. Brubaker’s themes and dialogue, Epting’s realistic artwork, and Frank D’Armata’s coloring, with its dark tones and splotchy, splattered blood, have given Cap a harder edge than he’s ever had over the last 25 issues. This is a remarkable achievement, considering that Rogers dressed up in red gloves and an American flag that appeared to be made of fish scales in some parts. A suitably grim end to a gloomy, hard-boiled series, this issue may not be the ultimate end of Captain America, but even as a chapter break in his endless story, it’s got a lot of punch, something that the character’s been lacking for some time. What remains to be seen, however, is if that punch keeps him down for the count.
Rating: 9 /10
Last Updated: June 23, 2021 - 00:45
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