This is about as far removed from the big-action, high-drama Captain America adventures that have been a part of this series of one-shots as you can get. The series of one-shots has given comic creators a chance to tell offbeat tales of the Sentinel of Liberty. Most of those adventures have featured Captain America — be it Steve Rogers or another man who has donned the garb — fighting against some menace, and frequently those adventures involved fisticuffs.
This issue steps away from any prescription of a Captain America comic and instead offers up the supposition that the spirit of America in the most critical times of the country’s past has truly been the spirit of Captain America. As the Declaration of Independence is there, the “ghost of our country” — Captain America — is there. Likewise, when Francis Scott Key pens the national anthem. And again and again during the other skirmishes that have occurred throughout the history of the United States.
The artwork is engaging and realistic without visibly being traced from photos. Bonetti delivers an engaging book that has very little in the way of appearances or action from its titular star. The story does have plenty of action and more than a little bit of drama; it just doesn’t feature any serious action from Cap himself.
Of the lot of “Captain America: Theater of War” specials, this one seems the most disappointing for its fantastic lack of Captain America, but it stands up nicely. This is a history lesson, delivered by Marvel, under the premise of being a Captain America comic. Placed in the context of the goings-on in the “Captain America: Reborn” series, this issue gains significantly more depth and purpose than it does taken on its own merits. I like the “Theater of War” concept, as there is no shortage of American war stories to involve Captain America in, but I feel Marvel needs to be more judicious regarding the frequency of those stories.