“Captain America” #11 opens with Cap on the run and trying to draw cover for Roger Gocking, the former villain known as Porcupine. Other than being a lame villain from the past, Porcupine is targeted by a mystery assassin who is killing off former costumed villains that have been placed into witness protection.
The story is a blend of action and adventure, like a bigscreen, big effects summer blockbuster, which Ed Brubaker handles quite nicely. Having Cap so closely aligned with S.H.I.E.L.D. in this title affords Brubaker the opportunity to give the issue an espionage tilt, further integrating the big box office vibe. In short, Brubaker does a nice job of making this issue of “Captain America” feel similar to a James Bond movie. The cast is tight and closely knit, with the exceptions being the witness protection-based villains. Those villains are handy plot vehicles to propel the story forward and provide motivation for the villain of the piece as he goes on a serial killing spree to take out these former villains. Longtime Marvel readers, you’re not entirely wrong regarding the killer’s identity, although Brubaker throws a shroud of mystery over the specifics.
Patch (the artist formerly known as Patrick) Zircher’s art is pitch-perfect for this story, although a little heavy on the shadows. Those shadows are a nice visual metaphor for the mystery that is seeping through the story, forcing Cap to call out a trio of suspects who could be feeding wit-pro IDs to the assassin. Zircher’s dusky, detailed art paces the story well, adding details to the characters and backgrounds. Some of the backgrounds are sparser, relying on Paul Mounts to add visual impact, but Mounts does so without detracting from the figures captured in those panels.
Overall, this chapter of “Captain America” gave me the same feeling I had as a younger man, when I first discovered the adventures of the star-spangled Avenger as written by J. M. DeMatteis. Captain America is a believable hero, driven by the desire to do the right thing, but lodged deep within a world that weighs heavy on his shoulders. Regardless of the opposition, however, Cap perseveres and inspires those around him. This is the opening salvo of a new adventure for Steve Rogers, and it makes for a good story sure to welcome readers coming to this comic via the Marvel Cinematic Universe.