“Captain America” #15 ushers in a new era of guilt for the Sentinel of Liberty who tries to cope with the revelation and death of the most recent Scourge in the previous issue. Those developments were the product of Queen Hydra and Codename Bravo, who make a dramatic return that welcomes Cullen Bunn into the co-writer’s chair and brings Scot Eaton on board as the penciler of the series.
Opening with a bang, literally, the first chapter of “New World Orders” introduces the Discordians, who seem intent on blowing things up and causing a general ruckus. Ed Brubaker and Cullen Bunn attempt to give these characters more depth than mere villains of the month, but really don’t succeed in making them the least bit intriguing. The major focus here isn’t the villains or even Cap, but the pity party in which Captain America feels compelled to wallow.
Running parallel is an underlying thread of a character who picks at the flaws in Cap’s armor, bit by little bit. My first inclination while reading this issue was to compare to the 1986 “Legends” miniseries from DC Comics where G. Gordon Godfrey exerted mental influence across the general public to turn the average person against the heroes. Reed Braxton has the same general idea in “Captain America” #15, but it has a wider reach given the proliferation of media-carrying technology, which somehow makes it less interesting.
Scot Eaton draws a solid story here, filled with detail, solid storytelling and traditional comic book art tricks, like having the character bust out of the frame and using multiple figures to cleanly define movement. Joe Caramagna hops onboard the traditional comic art train with words splitting balloons and delivering drama. Rick Magyar’s inks are strong and certainly help define the texture and shape of Cap’s costume as well as the settings around Cap. Guru eFX’s colors are bold and loud, perfect for a superhero story that features a character as visually rich as Captain America. Quite simply, “Captain America” #15 is a very good-looking superhero book. The story itself just needs more super in the heroes.
After closing this issue, I’m left wondering what it is exactly that I just read. This just doesn’t strike me as a memorable Captain America story. There isn’t a higher standard of the American ideal in this book. Captain America is a fractured character in his own title, which makes for more drama with other characters, but for Cap, it’s been done before. A little too much. Give me more stories of Cap fighting the bad guys and saving the day, please.