http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=user_review&id=607” target=”_blank”>When I reviewed last issue of “Captain America,” I wrote, “The book is so consistent that it’s difficult to find new and interesting things to say about it. It’s almost easy to forget about this title as it is taken for granted that, each month, ‘Captain America’ will come out and be quite good.” Those words remain true this month and almost make me regret signing up to review the latest issue. The key word there is ‘almost’ as there’s nothing more than pleases me in this gig than having the chance to rave about a great comic, particularly one that’s been so good for nearly four years straight. This is a corporate superhero comic that’s maintained this level of excellence for four years… no, that’s wrong: this is a corporate superhero comic that’s actually improved in quality steadily over the past four years. When was the last time that happened?
This issue begins a new story, but really picks up where last issue left off as Captain America is joined by Namor to find the Chinese scientist that has stolen the body of the original Human Torch. Ed Brubaker writes very good and interesting dialogue between Barnes and Namor as they are old “friends,” but Namor is still Namor and Barnes is not quite fully accepted yet. The shadows of Steve Rogers and the Winter Soldier continue to linger on Barnes despite all efforts to move past them.
Elsewhere, the Black Widow does her part by helping discover the whereabouts of the scientist for Barnes and Namor, which includes a meeting with a man from MI6. It’s pure spy fun as innuendo flies and Natasha rebuffs his advances and gets the information in a manner that will make you smile.
Steve Epting also returns to handle the art in this issue and while every effort is made to make the art consistent when Epting isn’t handling it, his work still stands out here as the best you’ll find on this title. He uses shadows very effectively here and handles the facial expressions of Namor and Barnes with deft skill. Readers will not doubt be glad to see that Namor doesn’t look quite as skeevy as he did last time we saw him in “Secret Invasion: Dark Reign.”
Epting really shows off his chops in his ease at shifting between three time periods and not missing a beat. His depiction of the Human Torch back in World War II is stunning and almost scary. Coupled with Brubaker’s ability to layer these past events in a way that resonates with the present, this comic is a joy.
Not only that, but Brubaker and Epting end it on a big surprise as a character returns who is just about the last one you’d expect to turn up (okay, maybe second-last) makes an appearance. What’s more shocking is that it seems to make perfect sense despite having the possibility of undoing a lot of hard work by the characters and the creative team. It will definitely make picking up issue 47 a must.
(Steve Epting is back and CBR has http://www.comicbookresources.com/?page=preview&id=1915” target=”_blank”>the preview art to prove it!)