Call me crazy, but there’s just something entertaining about Captain America fighting an android that’s identical to him in every way except that it’s 18-feet tall. In fact, “Captain America” #3 may be the most straight-up entertaining issue of “Captain America” in quite some time. Ever since Ed Brubaker took over the title years ago, it’s been a great comic with thought-provoking characterization and intricate plots. Rarely, though, was it entertaining in that blockbuster movie sort of way. That’s what this issue is: a giant fight that’s fun to watch. It’s a refreshing change of pace and something a little different for a title that’s been locked in one type of story for a long time.
Most of the comic is devoted to Captain America fighting the Ameridroid, while Sharon Carter takes on Baron Zemo, and that definitely gives it a looser feel than the title has had, even in the first two issues of this relaunch. Steve McNiven gets to show off his action chops with a lot of quick movement and even a few moments of comedy. One page combines the two effortlessly as Sharon tries to toss Cap his shield and it bounces off buildings and cars until it gets stuck in the side of a building near the roof. The way that McNiven draws it is dynamic, showing the shield zooming around in a single panel with insets detailing each time it bounces off an object.
Since the Ameridroid isn’t some clunky robot — it moves as quickly as Steve Rogers can — there’s never any real moments where things slow down in the fight between the two. McNiven gets across the idea that the Ameridroid can do everything that Cap can, except he’s bigger and stronger. There’s a physical sense that Steve is fighting against a superior opponent, putting him in that rare underdog position. The same is done with Sharon and Zemo to good effect, especially when Sharon proves she’s not someone who can be dispatched with a couple of strikes like Zemo seems to think she is.
Primarily an action issue, the story isn’t forgotten with the entire fight fitting into the mysterious plan of the new Queen Hydra and Codename Bravo. With a scene between the two beginning the issue and Bravo making an appearance at the end, the main plot isn’t shunted aside for a big brawl. That the fight between Cap and the Ameridroid is given so much space and focus manages to slow the story down without feeling like filler.
So often, this series is focused on small character moments or the larger plot that it becomes mired in those elements and forgets how much fun a big fight scene can be for a character like Captain America. “Captain America” #3 is one of those rare comics that delivers a big fight and it works as a refreshing break.