|CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS No. 3, September 2016|
Disconcertingly focussing upon a mission debrief between a kneeling, bare-chested titular character and his holographic master, the Red Skull, it is genuinely hard not to see the narrative for Issue Three of “Captain America: Steve Rogers” as yet another attempt by “Marvel Worldwide” to ‘quickly backtrack’ on their “initial choice” that the Sentinel of Liberty has always been a Hydra agent. Indeed, considering Nick Spencer’s pre-publication interview with “Entertainment Weekly” in which he “unequivocally” stated that “this is not a clone, not an imposter, not mind control, not someone else acting through Steve. This really is Steve Rogers, Captain America himself”, the plot to this twenty-two periodical not only reinforces that the super-soldier was actually brainwashed “because he had false memories implanted by Kobrik, the sentient Cosmic Cube who became a girl.” But depicts the ‘sleeper agent’ actually fighting against his mental programming by disobeying the order to murder Doctor Erik Selvig, and seemingly having genuine feelings for S.H.I.E.L.D. Commander Sharon Carter; “You. Don’t. Ever. Touch. Her. Again!”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, such ‘misdirection’ from the comic’s writer arguably proves somewhat detrimental to the smooth flow of its narrative, and whilst Nicky Fury’s old International Espionage Agency landing a ship in “a city primarily populated by super villains” certainly creates plenty of suspense and action, courtesy of both Crossfire and “Sheriff” Taskmasker taking umbrage at their sovereign island nation being “invaded by S.H.I.E.L.D.”, any such drama is completely overshadowed by the America author’s inconsistent and erratic portrayal of Rogers. In fact it’s genuinely hard to fathom out just what the World War Two veteran is going to do from one panel to next, especially when he appears murderously determined to kill Jack Harrison, angrily incensed by Tony Masters stabbing Carter through her hand with his sword, and genuinely troubled by failing to “save the [Hydra] pawn in the train bombing” all within the same storyline.
Sadly Spencer’s solution to the trials and tribulations of this book’s supporting cast is just as ludicrous as his portrayal of Captain America’s mercurial behaviour. Surrounded and trapped within a country “ruled by criminals and populated by the Masters Of Evil”, and clearly outnumbered a hundred to one, things do not look good for Sharon, Free Spirit and Rick Jones, even when the Sentinel of Liberty arrives at the last minute in order to dissuade Taskmaster from skewering his beloved. Yet “the most hated man in America today” would have his audience believe that by simply threatening to “empty every last (casino) account” on the Bagalia Strip, “all (the) bad guys” would just stop “finally getting back at that mean old Captain America --”? As the S.H.I.E.L.D. Commander herself states “that is the stupidest plan I have ever heard.”