With fortuitous timing placing its release in the same week as the cinematic debut of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” “Captain America” #19 by Rick Remender and Nic Klein continues Remender’s deconstruction of the Sentinel of Liberty. As the Iron Nail continues to strike out at S.H.I.E.L.D., Captain America must bear witness to yet another horrific exhibition of the destruction of life.
While he excels at the character expressions (and mind-controlled lack thereof) in this issue, Klein’s art doesn’t sell the story of the helicarrier destruction. That’s not a slight on Klein’s ability, just an observation that it isn’t particularly easy to compose exciting aerial battles between two items that look like a bar of soap and a shoe box. In the personal action, Klein is much more adept, using dynamic camera perspectives and energetic poses reminiscent of Jack Kirby’s work on the star-spangled Avenger. Additionally, Klein uses cross-hatching for shading, which has become a lost art due to the wonders of digital coloring. Dean White’s colors are moody and atmospheric, adding humidity and tangibility to the panels of “Captain America” #19. The colorist pushes the boundaries of this book’s visuals away from the traditional, just as much as Remender pushes the story away from simply hitting bad guys with Cap’s shield.
White’s exploration works for the interiors, but I’m not sold on the cover. The colors on the cover, save for the blue on Cap’s uniform, all begin to blend together, however, taking the background images from subdued to overpowered and on the verge of disappearing. I can appreciate the uncertainty and restlessness Klein and Dean White create, but a banner advertisement for “Captain America: The Winter Soldier,” the standard-issue red footer, an extra “All-New Marvel Now!” blurb and a tab on the previously mentioned footer calling out “The Iron Nail: Part 3,” really overburdens the simplicity of the image.
For his part, letterer Joe Caramagna keeps the landscape of “Captain America” #19 tidy while enabling the tale to buoy the action. Remender’s story is action-packed, with characters shocked and awed by the goings-on of this high-octane, movie-trailer-like collision of imagery and concepts. The Iron Nail and Doctor Mindbubble sneer their way through their gambit, making a significant move against S.H.I.E.L.D. and democracy. The writer uses that attack as fuel to guide the readers into Captain America’s thoughts, which serves as significant narrative while Cap attempts to right terrible wrongs. By the end of the issue, however, Remender has Captain America exactly where he wants him: in a fight for his life and for freedom.
“Captain America” #19 is a solid action-packed story. It brings some contrivances, such as Cap ditching his helmet in a manner that plays into his opponents’ hands. Klein and White combine for strong imagery, even if some of the storytelling could be given a little more room to breathe. This isn’t the most memorable issue of Remender’s run, but it is another solid addition to his catalog of adventures featuring Steve Rogers and company.