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The Secret’s Out

August 24, 2010

Baron Zemo continues his war against the new Captain America in Captain America #608.  Bucky and Black Widow face off against the new Beetle, who tries to take out some nearby civilians as the fight goes on.  When she tries to escape, Bucky manages to tackle her, and he takes off her mask, revealing her as the woman who drugged him at the bar.  Bucky and Natasha take her to the Raft, where Luke Cage, director of the Thunderbolts program, takes care of her.  He cats with Fixer about her, not realizing that Fixer is working with her and Zemo.  Bucky and Natasha try to interrogate the new Beetle, who reveals that she knows who Bucky is.  Fixer reports in to Zemo, and Beetle refuses to talk, just laughing about how her boss is going to screw Bucky’s life up.  Bucky and Natasha head off, wondering who she could be working for, who could know his identity.  Natasha suddenly figures it out, that it’s Zemo, basing that off the involvement of Iron Man Hauptmann and Beetle.  Just then, they get swarmed by reporters who know that he is Captain America.  We then see news coverage discussing Bucky’s identity as Cap and his past.  The show speculates that he is still alive because he also got some of the Super Soldier serum.  Then it reveals that Bucky was the Winter Soldier.  In the hospital, Falcon gets up and tries to get into costume, telling Steve Rogers that they have to get to Bucky before things get worse.  Then, in the Nomad backup, Nomad runs into Steve while beating up a bunch of thugs who had attacked a gay couple.  Steve says that Nomad is blaming herself for what happened to her brother on this Earth, and he reveals that he does remember his time as her Cap.  Nomad hugs him and bursts into tears, and he says she doesn’t have to be Nomad anymore.

I actually can’t believe that the fight scene in this issue was written by Ed Brubaker.  It feels more like a Chris Claremont fight scene, with some of the most awkward dialogue you could have while beating up someone.  The fight scene is also way too long, so we have painful dialogue (“Time to shut you up,” Bucky thinking “Man, do I love my girlfriend) for almost ten pages.  It’s rather sad.  And Butch Guice’s pencils have really degenerated.  Some of the time, they look a bit too classic, like Jack Kirby was penciling the series.  Then other times, changing inkers and colorists completely change the look of the art.  And there’s also a few panels with just ugly, slightly misshapen faces.  It’s rather surprising that this solid of an artist would do so badly.  Now, the rest of the issue, plotwise, is still very good.  Brubaker only has trouble with the fight scene.  Zemo’s plan is very sinister, and it’s becoming really clear how this will lead into the next arc, which will see Bucky on trial, presumably for his actions as the Winter Soldier.  That was going to have to come back to bite him in the butt at some point or another.  My only long-term concern for the series is one I’ve expressed before.  How long are we going to have Bucky be this insecure hero?  He’s generally older and more experienced than other insecure heroes, so it is getting a tad annoying to see him still unsure of himself.  I understand why he should feel unsure, but Brubaker is just writing him into a rut with the way he’s acting.  I still trust Brubaker’s work on this title, as I have this whole time.  But it feels like, since Captain America: Reborn, he hasn’t quite been firing off on all cylinders like he used to.  I hope he gets his groove back soon.  Oh yes, and still don’t care about Nomad.  That scene at the end was touching, but why does she still have her own backup?

Plot: 8.8      Art: 7.8      Dialogue: 8.0      Overall: 7.8

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