I can certainly understand the marketing reasons for Marvel to literally pour Captain America comics on the new comics rack, as the hype for the movie is building and the character is enjoying a peak in popularity unlike any since the death of Cap. In this issue, however, Bucky Captain America makes enough of an appearance in this issue to have Falcon save him from a seemingly fatal fall. This is further testament to my opinion that Bucky needs Falcon more than Falcon needs Cap, and the rest of this issue certainly sets out to prove that Falcon can, indeed, stand on his own.
The story opens with the Avengers struggling against Grey Gargoyle aboard their Quinjet. Gargoyle gains the upper hand momentarily, but that allows Falcon to swoop in, save Cap and make the Gargoyle suffer a defeat unlike any other he has ever faced. It’s a crappy (and by crappy, I mean pigeons are involved) battle, to be sure, and one that Gargoyle gets the worse end of. Gargoyle’s been getting a lot of page time lately, and I’m quite happy to see him here, especially as he silences Hawkeye in this issue, adding another verse to the storied relationship between Clint Barton and Sam Wilson.
This is the type of story you’ve seen before, a made-for-filler type of story where the hero is set upon a path that causes him to reflect back on his life. Williams throws in a twist or two and makes this a story that has a little more heart than the cookie-cutter fare it appears to be on the surface. The end of the story is not the end as cookie-cutters would craft it. It’s a tidy ending, sure, and one that opens Falcon up for further investigation, by Williams, or anyone else.
Sam Wilson is a character that has unlimited potential: he’s a social worker, a reformed thug, an Avenger, a telepath (albeit with birds) and partner to the original Captain America. The problem is, however, that no one can seem to take the character solidly by the tailfeathers and make him live up to that potential. The end result is Sam Wilson as a guest appearance in “Heroes for Hire,” “Captain America,” or some other title that gives fans a taste of what the character could be. From there, the interest just fizzles. Sam joins the Avengers and winds up quitting. A Sentinel attacks Sam, but he’s not mutant enough. Geoff Johns had Sam involved in the rebuilding on Ground Zero. . . and nothing. There’s potential, this book shows it. I just wish Marvel knew what to do with it.
This issue gave me a chance to be introduced to the art of Rebekah Isaacs. Isaacs’ art is clean and strong, reminding me of Leonard Kirk tinged with Terry Dodson. The characters are expressive in both face and form, using their bodies to act through the book. I’d like to see her draw some further adventures of the Falcon, especially if those adventures take Sam anywhere near a football field. Football players, like gorillas, cars, and horses, truly separate the good comic book artists from the average, and Isaacs steps over to the good side of the room here.