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His Dark Counterpart

January 26, 2010

     Even though Captain America: Reborn still has one issue left, the normal monthly Captain America has finally returned.  And Ed Brubaker is finally picking up a plotline that has been left dangling for a while: Bad Cap, a.k.a the former Grand Director.  Seems after the events of the Death of Captain America, he’s been dealing with his insanity and found his way back to his hometown.  There, after foiling a robbery, he got recruited by the newest incarnation of the Watchdogs, and they accepted him as their leader.  Nick Fury gives some intel to Bucky about this latest turn of events, as well as a replacement for his broken robotic arm that is more armlike.  Bucky and Nick agree that Bucky should take care of it, and he heads out to Idaho to deal with Bad Cap.  Falcon goes with him, and they discover just how angry and “traditional” this part of Idaho is.  Bucky concots a plan where Falcon acts as an I.R.S. agent to harrass the locals, and Bucky punches him out to earn their trust.  However, when the Watchdogs recruit him, Bad Cap recognizes his face…  And in the new Nomad backup (those are getting more popular nowadays), Nomad chases after a victim of the new Secret Empire, whose wife seems to know something about her.  Araña gets caught up in the tussle, and just as they catch their quarry, he gets shot by strange robotic globe things under the control of Secret Empire operative Professor Power.

     Well, I’m very glad that Brubaker is now dealing with that last dangling thread left over from the Death of Captain America.  And although it’s off to an interesting start, it’s not quite up to the standards he’s set on this title.  Bad Cap is portrayed as simply insane rather than balancing that with his radical ideology, which is how he is best portrayed.  As such, rather than this being a clash between two different views of the United States of America, it’s just Bad Cap vs. Good Cap.  My guess is that Brubaker will work on that in the other issues of the arc, and that this is just the setup.  I’m also happy to see Bucky getting along with Falcon so well, such that it seems like they’ve been partners and close friends for forever, rather than for just a couple years’ worth of issues.  Brubaker writes both characters just so naturally that I’m glad that he’s giving Bucky more time with the mask.  Luke Ross’ artwork is at its finest in this issue, with his work being perfectly complimented by his and Butch Guice’s inks.  The colors are a tad odd, tending towards earthy browns and reds, as well as purples, which can give everything kind of a weird look.  But that’s just a minor beef.  So although this arc isn’t starting out as strong as previous ones, I’m not that worried.  After all, it is Ed Brubaker.  And Sean McKeever’s backup is meh, as is most of his work.  David Baldeón’s work is likewise meh.  I would probably care more if I had read the Nomad miniseries, but I think Rikki Barnes should have been left on Counter-Earth where she belongs.  She’s an interesting character, but I don’t think she’s worthy of supporting her own backup.

Plot: 8.8      Art: 9.1      Dialogue: 9.2      Overall: 8.9

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