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Hauntingly Familiar

August 24, 2010

Steve Rogers: Super-Soldier #2 continues right from where we left off, with Jacob Erskine shot by a sniper right in front of Steve Rogers.  This is followed by a hail of bullets, and Erskine dies in Steve’s arms, telling him to protect his wife.  Steve escapes the building by jumping out of a window and using a flag to slow his descent.  He finds the sniper’s nest, but he sees that the shot was fired remotely.  He checks out the scene of the crime again, where Erskine’s head of security is comforting Erskine’s wife.  Steve heads to all of the “usual places” in the Madripoor underground to see if the attacker was a local, but it seems that it was more likely an inside job.  He has Sharon Carter dig up info on the chief of security while he remembers the woman Erskine’s wife looks like: Cynthia Glass, a Nazi spy who was there when Steve first enlisted in the Super-Soldier experiment and who died protecting him, ignoring her orders.  Steve tracks the wife and chief of security to the Nextin hideaway, but instead of playing it smart, he approaches her at night, wanting to find out if she’s really Cynthia.  The wife claims she dreams about him, and they start kissing.  Steve backs off, and the wife grabs her head in pain, running back to the building.  Sharon tells Steve that the chief of security didn’t exist until just a year ago.  Steve figures it all out in time to head into the building and see the chief and the wife.  The chief reveals that the wife is a robot cleverly made to think it is human.  As is the chief himself.  They are both controlled by Steve’s old foe, Machinesmith, who traps Steve in the room and starts a reaction that deactivates the Super Soldier serum in his body.

Considering that Ed Brubaker’s work on Captain America has been disappointing for a few months now, this is definitely nice to see.  Maybe Brubaker just understands Steve Rogers better than Bucky Barnes.  Even though he is the person who singlehandedly created Barnes’ current persona.  Strange as it sounds, considering how wonderfully written this whole issue is, it must at least partially be true.  Machinesmith is a classic Steve Rogers foe, and it does make perfect sense now that we look at everything that’s happened thus far in hindsight.  I don’t know what his plan is with the Super Soldier serum, like if he actually does want to sell it on the black market or if this is just revenge.  Either way, he’s an appropriate choice as the villain.  And Cynthia Glass is, fortunately, a pre-existing character, Steve Rogers’ first love before even Peggy Carter.  So there’s no massive retcon here as to another lover Steve Rogers had at one point.  Brubaker’s just working with what’s already there, and he’s doing a bang-up job.  Of course, the other star of the issue is Dave Eaglesham, who’s proving to be a great artist for Captain America.  He certainly makes Steve look perfect, and he’s already improved on the ridiculous skinniness of Steve from the last issue.  Now he just looks like a small, weak guy instead of someone who’s so underweight that he looks like he should just crumple over.  I just have one small beef, and it has nothing to do with Eaglesham.  Other colorists are rather inconsistent about how much red is in Steve’s new costume.  It would be nice if someone would just tell them to follow what he looks like in this book and in Secret Avengers, since both are written by Brubaker.  And a minor note, but this cover reminds me of how much Carlos Pacheco has fallen from his height.  I mean, what a funny looking face.  And the head/body proportion is a bit off.  Anyway, minor issues, neither of which have to do with the issue itself.  At least Brubaker hasn’t completely lost his mojo.

Plot: 9.0      Art: 9.2      Dialogue: 9.0      Overall: 9.0

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