Sunday, 7 May 2017

Captain America: Steve Rogers #7 - Marvel Comics

Predominantly concentrating upon the Red Skull’s Machiavellian machinations with General Novoty and the military dictator’s Sokovian Government, Issue Seven of “Captain America: Steve Rogers” must have delighted many of its 48,505 strong audience. Indeed, with the exception of some flashbacks to Steve’s enrolment “in a school that trained Hydra soldiers”, this particular twenty-four page periodical seemingly shows the title making something of a welcome return to its less controversial days when Jack Kirby’s Sentinel of Liberty hadn’t had his reality “secretly rewritten by Kobik”, and subsequently been transformed into a Hydra agent.

Foremost of these ‘improvements’ is Nick Spencer’s ability to tell an increasingly suspenseful political tale concerning Johann Shmidt’s manipulation of world events in order to stage a coup within a small Eastern European despotism. Evidently tapping into his own background as a former “candidate of the progressive Charter Party”, the American author’s manipulation of the United Nations and S.H.I.E.L.D. by Hydra’s facially disfigured leader is both fiendishly innovative and disconcertingly believable, as well as reminiscent of the super-villain’s former life as a scheming crime boss.

Likewise, the comic’s subplot of Captain America teaming-up with Natasha Romanov to help Director Hill’s forces rescue General Alois Denz from his prison cell, also brings back memories of a far simpler time when Cap and the Black Widow fought side-by-side to make “a safer world.” In fact, in some ways it’s a shame the penitentiary break isn’t expanded upon by artist Jesus Saiz to incorporate even more interplay between the two former Avengers; “Well, that was fun. You sure you don’t want to stick around? I know a great little breakfast place just past the mass graves.”

Unfortunately, all too soon Spencer returns to his contentious ongoing narrative of Rogers wanting to assassinate the Red Skull in order to bring about a change of leadership within Hyrda, and in doing so conjures up yet another disagreeable alteration to the super-soldier’s history by depicting Helmut Zemo as being one of Steve’s childhood friends. Such a cliff-hanger is admittedly both shocking and unexpected. But it’s hard to imagine many of the titular character’s long-term fans readily stomaching such an unsettling change of direction for the World War Two veteran. Little wonder perhaps, that this comic’s sales would drop by 10,000 copies a month later…
The regular cover art of "CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS" No. 7 by Stephanie Hans

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