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Dead It Is Then

May 8, 2010

     The confrontation between Bucky Barnes, the current Captain America, and the replacement Bad Cap/Grand Director from the 1950s comes to its conclusion in Captain America #605.  The Watchdogs secure the Hoover Dam, and Bad Cap continues to try to convince Bucky of the righteousness of his cause.  When the Watchdogs report in that they’ve lost communication with the train, Bucky breaks free and starts beating them all up.  The Falcon finds out that the Watchdogs on the train had a helicopter coming in, and he gets information on their real target.  Bucky and Bad Cap go one on one, and Falcon has one more Watchdog call in the helicopter.  He and the train conductor get onto the helicopter and commandeer it as the train goes off at high speed and derails.  Just as Bad Cap backs Bucky into a corner, Falcon arrives in the helicopter and turns the tide.  When Bad Cap threatens to set off the bomb manually, refusing to change, Bucky shoots him, killing him and knocking him off the dam.  Bucky’s a bit shaken, feeling that that guy might have been a bit like him, but Falcon tells him otherwise.  Then, in the Nomad backup, Nomad wakes up in the Night Nurse’s office, having been brought there by Araña.  She tracks Araña down and thanks her, and Araña offers her help in taking out the Secret Empire.  The Secret Empire decides to leave Nomad alone, at least for now, and Professor Power gets a promotion.  Then, Nomad transfers to Araña’s school, and they become official friends.

     In the end, I’d say that this was the least interesting of all of Ed Brubaker’s stories on Captain America since he started his run.  Why?  Because it never really got into the nitty-gritty of what Bad Cap was fighting for and the contrast between him and Bucky.  Instead, we get vague things about how things have changed a lot since the Great Depression, and how the country is “at war.”  But it just wasn’t concrete enough.  Again, I’m not sure if that’s because Brubaker wanted to avoid putting too overt of political opinions into this book or what.  But I think it would have been more powerful if he had done so.  If anything, it gave Brubaker a great chance to work in Bucky and Falcon as a duo and on Falcon as a single character.  I love the way Brubaker writes Falcon, making him more than just some guy who can talk to birds and fly with a harness, because it really treats the character seriously.  Unfortunately, that alone wasn’t enough to make the whole arc great.  Luke Ross’ art was superb, so at least there was that consolation.  And even the Nomad backup wasn’t as bad as the last ones.  Rather, Sean McKeever made it really heartwarming, letting poor, alone Rikki Barnes get over her problems and actually have a friend.  David Baldeón’s pencils were still pretty good, even if he did make that panel where Night Nurse takes a look at Nomad’s eyes look pretty strange.  I just think it was too bad overall that Brubaker didn’t take this arc as far as it should have gone.  The fact that this is the worst we can expect from him, and the fact that something like this is what disappoints, indicates the high level of quality he’s brought to Cap thus far.  Fortunately, Baron Helmut Zemo is the next badguy, and I think Brubaker will make that story awesome.  Besides, as well all know, only real men wear pink.

Plot: 8.3      Art: 9.2      Dialogue: 8.6      Overall: 8.4

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