Comic Book Review – Captain America #4 (Marvel Comics)

Adam reads as many comics as he can afford. Then he reviews one every other week.

This week I’m reviewing Captain America #4 (or #708 with Legacy numbering), written by Ta-Nehisi Coates, with pencils by Leinil Francis Yu, inks by Gerry Alanguilan, colours by Sunny Cho and letters from VC’s Joe Caramagna, with cover art by Alex Ross.

Cover art by Alex Ross

Steve Rogers is still trying to make up for what was done in his name, and with his face, when Hydra took over the United States. He’s lost the trust of his government and the American people, and is now rushing to the aid of Sharon Carter, Agent 13, who has been working with the government and has been captured during her latest mission. Cap goes in alone, tearing his way through a base full of goons before coming up against an opponent who’s battle abilities rival his own. Meanwhile Sharon is questioned and tortured by members of the mysterious Power Elite, the next group who are looking to take over the US!

Coates’ run so far on Captain America has been thrilling, and in this issue he shows off a deep and clear understanding of the character, as Cap narrates over his fights. See Cap is an idealist, and truly believes in America and the ideals it should stand for. It’s why he is the Captain of it. But his issue increasingly lies with people who call themselves patriots but act like nothing but, people who “swear by the flag one day, and set it on fire the next”. Even without a familiarity with Coates’ non-fiction writings (with which you should get acquainted), it’s difficult not to see the commentary here on the current climate in the United States. The plot here is good, and it’s ties some of the best Cap stories in the past 20 years is a big plus, but it’s the characterisation of Steve Rogers this commentary that makes the book shine. More is being done and said with the aftermath of Secret Empire here and with a more deft hand than in the event itself.

Art by Yu, Alanguilan, Cho and Caramagna

Yu’s Cap is fierce with a real sense of power. For such an action-heavy issue, nothing drags and it feels kinetic and brutal. At the same time, the interrogation scenes with Sharon are dark and ominous, allowing the threat level in both scenes to come through very strongly. The colours are slightly washed out and dulled, which suits the tone and the base environs of the issue.

Coates and Yu’s Captain America is my favourite book on the stands right now, and goes to the top of my reading pile whenever it comes out. The art is strong and the plot and character musings are incredibly timely. Don’t sleep on this. Pick it up at your LCS, and the first 3 issues if you haven’t already read them!

Comic Book Review – Inhumans Vs X-Men #2 (Marvel Comics)

Our pal Kit reviews comics for us! This is one of those reviews.

Warning: Minor Spoilers.

“This is my home. These are my people. I will not let the X-Men steal their future.” Medusa

This showdown has been a long time coming. Ever since Marvel began to promote the Inhumans as their apparent favourite super powers by genetics team it was clear they would have to come to blows eventually. Although this is a second issue and not the natural point to pick up a first review, thanks to the promising first issue I thought it would be worth exploring further, especially following the mixed reception to Civil War II this could be Marvel pulling off a much better super team clash. This comic was bought to us by:

  • Writer –  Jeff Lemire and Charles Soule
  • Penciler – Leinil Francis Yu
  • Inker – Gerry Alanguilan
  • Colourist – David Curiel
  • Letterer – VC’s Clayton Cowles
Cover by Yu, Alanguilan Curiel

Cover by Yu, Alanguilan Curiel

To give a little background as to why these teams are facing off against each other – the Terrigen Mist is floating around the planet transforming those with the right genetic code into Inhumans, but when it touches a mutant they simply perish. Considering there aren’t many mutants left in the Marvel Universe, more and more of the X-Men began to take exception to the mist. Any attempts to find a peaceful solution have now failed, and the death of Cyclops (current, not past) became the catalyst for war.

This issue focuses on an all-out battle between the two teams. Issues like this can often feel messy, however thanks to a combination of excellent writing and clear, defined art it was easy to keep up with everything that was going on. Considering the number of characters involved that was no small feat. There is only limited space for character development however, which is natural in an issue such as this. One touch I do like is the ideological differences between the two sides – the Inhumans revere the mist as if it was divine, whereas the X-Men come across as an desperate group of survivors.

Art by Yu, Alanguilan Curiel

Art by Yu, Alanguilan Curiel

As for the art, considering how much was going on it would have been easy to miss something in this issue, the clearly defined art style – the penciling and inking by Leinil Yu and Alanguilan supported the narrative keeping it clear throughout. Curiel adopted a dark pallet throughout the issue which provides a very sombre atmosphere to the conflict. There are also some very cool moments for individual characters, such as Medusa, Sabretooth and Wolverine throughout the issue. But how are Yu and Alanguilan with hands?

Can the art team draw hands? In combat heavy issues the majority of hands are grabbing, punching, deflecting etc. which can mean there is little chance for artists to show off what they can do. This is not the case when dealing with such a diverse range of power sets. From claws, to energy filled and even melting Leinil Yu and Alanguilan provided a fantastic base for Curiel to work his magic on. 9/10 for hand drawing skills!

Final Verdict

This is promising to be Marvel’s super team showdown of the year. Its been a while coming, which adds plenty of weight to the issues so far.

Score: 8.8 Little Snacks out of 10