Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Captain America: Steve Rogers #2 - Marvel Comics

CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS No. 2, August 2016
Whilst a meteoric drop in sales and numerous death threats via social media were undoubtedly not influential upon the narrative for Issue Two of “Captain America: Steve Rogers”, arguably the vast majority of this book’s 66,416 strong audience must surely have felt that Nick Spencer’s storyline concerning the sentient Cosmic Cube Kobik being responsible for recently transforming the titular character into an agent of Hydra, something of a dramatic U-turn as to what the former politician was postulating before its publication. Indeed, the very presence of the one-time cube-shaped entity, a character who according to the “Marvel Database” didn’t make her first full appearance until April 2016, makes much of the “Superior Foes of Spider-Man” writer’s rhetoric concerning the star-spangled symbol of mortality always being one of the Marvel Universe’s “most insidious villains” rather questionable; especially when “the most hated man in America” has openly admitted he “designed” his ‘outrageous’ storyline simply to “upset people and shock people and worry people.”

Concerns as to just how long (or even real) Steve Rogers’ allegiance to the secret criminal organisation are aside however, this twenty-page periodical’s script seems horrifically contrived at best considering that it is based upon the premise that of all the people who the na├»ve child-like cube-fragmented form could turn to and befriend, she chooses the Sentinel of Liberty’s greatest adversary, the Red Skull. It certainly seems a convolutedly convenient way for Johann Schmidt to suddenly obtain the power to reimagine the entity’s handler, Doctor Erik Selvig and readily recruit him to “immortal Hydra!”; “My entire life I have served your cause. I have worked tirelessly to promote your vision. A more perfect world -- through Hydra!"

Disconcertingly, Spencer’s script doesn’t unfortunately stop there either, and proves increasingly illogical by having the one-time “confidant of Adolf Hitler” manufacture the entire prisoner breakout from S.H.I.E.L.D.’s heavily-disguised Pleasant Hill super-villain incarceration centre, simply to manipulate Kobik into rejuvenating the elderly Cappy before Brock Rumlow beats him to death with his own shield. Bizarrely, so overly-complicated a plot thread even apparently requires the facially disfigured war-criminal to don the apparel of an aging “compassionate” church minister in order to ensure the First Avenger isn’t bested by the likes of Dirk Garthwaite and his Wrecking Crew before he faces Crossbones.

Considering just how dissatisfying this revelation as to the ‘Secret History of Steve Rogers” arguably is, Jesus Saiz's artwork throughout the comic at least proves a gratifying experience. Admittedly the book’s breakdowns are luckily devoid of any panels depicting Daniel Acuna’s unimaginative redesign of Wing-head’s modern-day costume. But that still leaves the Spanish artist needing to do an incredible job of imbuing characters such as the Red Skull and his daughter Sin, with plenty of energy and emotion, when the vast majority of the comic comprises of little more than sedentary, dialogue-heavy conversations.
The variant cover art of "CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS" No. 2 by Mark Bagley

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