Friday, 2 September 2016

All-New Captain America #4 - Marvel Comics

Featuring brutal brawls between the titular character, Armadillo, Cobra and Baron Zemo, Rick Remender’s narrative for Issue Four of “All-New Captain America” certainly doesn’t lack for pulse-pounding action. But whilst these dynamic sequences, enthusiastically illustrated by Stuart Immonen, provide Steve Rogers’ “long-time friend and colleague” with plenty of opportunities to demonstrate just how different an incarnation of the Sentinel of Liberty Sam Wilson is, doubtless many of this comic’s 41,222 readers also thought the former’s Falcon’s battles with Hydra’s more exotic henchmen equally proved how frustratingly inferior a fighter the Harlem minister’s son was as well.

Indeed, despite being an Avenger, the supposedly “skilled martial artist and gymnast” actually fails quite miserably to best any of his foes, and instead has to rely entirely upon a change of heart by Antonio Rodriguez in order to thwart Klaus Voorhees from snapping his neck and ‘eating the bird for breakfast.’ Such pugilistic inadequacies and superhuman shortcomings hardly suit a comic book figure supposedly destined to succeed the superhero “IGN Entertainment Inc.” voted as its publisher’s ‘second best’ of all-time in 2014.

Unfortunately, Cappy’s heavy reliance upon a man “bonded with that suit in order to save your dying wife” is dishearteningly just the first of many such disappointments the American author has in store for both Wilson and this twenty-page periodical’s audience, as the colourfully-dressed crime-fighter soon has to entrust Misty Knight with defeating both the Viper in Madripoor, and a Moscow-based Hydra Cell, just so he can quite spectacularly fall before the sword of Baron Zemo somewhere within a Florida-based secret Hydra headquarters.

Admittedly this final confrontation does at least depict the “newest” Captain America (finally) beating the “expert military tactician” and “skilled hand-to-hand fighter” Crossbones. Yet even this victory is decidedly hollow on account of Sam somewhat cowardly dispatching Brock Rumlow with his shield, having secretly thrown it at his surprised opponent from the safety of some shadows... An act which sadly falls far short of the openly honest rematch between the two combatants the majority of this magazine’s bibliophiles would arguably have expected or wanted, and certainly one which is soon forgotten on account of Stan Lee’s co-creation subsequently being battered behind the ear by Helmut’s blade and conceivably even cold-bloodily murdered; “Your mind is unfocused. Emotions dictate your actions. And your greatest sin -- you failed to finish your opponent. Unfortunately for you -- I am a soldier.”
The variant cover art of "ALL-NEW CAPTAIN AMERICA" No. 4 by Phil Noto

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