Captain America #12

Uncommon in current Marvel NOW! comics, the credits/recap page doesn't appear in "Captain America" #12 until after an entire scene. Set in the past, the scene adds a cinematic flair to Rick Remender's story with pencils by Carlos Pacheco and Klaus Janson on inks. It also sets the stage for the next major villain in line to challenge Captain America.

Remender seeds stories to come throughout this issue, providing Captain America's thoughts for readers, which get further elaborated when Sam Wilson stops by to convince Cap to go out for some fresh air. With one of his most trusted allies by his side, Captain America confides in Falcon just as Remender begins connecting dots for the next threat. A baddie like Nuke seems to be exactly the remedy Steve Rogers needs right now. While Cap doesn't get to punch someone in the face during this issue, it's all lining up for a slugfest that's sure to be satisfying.

Carlos Pacheco handles pencils on "Captain America" #12, and while Pacheco's art normally has a smoother edge to it, the rougher, more extensive inking from Janson fits the story and provides a level of visual unity with previous issues of the series. Janson masterfully enhances Pacheco's work without altering the spirit of the characters or exerting too much of his own style over the penciler's work. Pacheco's characters are still wonderfully Pacheco, they're just more grounded by Janson's inks. Dean White is on hand for the colors of this issue, which range from drab, muted tones lost in Steve Rogers thoughts to the garish reds and oranges of Nuke's attack in Nrosvekistan. Joe Caramagna's letter work is as tight as always, save for one panel focusing very tightly on Falcon's reaction. Cap is speaking in that panel, but all that's seen is the very top of the "A" on his mask and the word balloon tail points more towards Falcon's mouth than Cap's noggin. Context quickly defuses that moment, allowing the story to once more find its footing.

"Captain America" #12 provides an extraordinary amount of setup, but these are simply towers of blocks, waiting for someone to knock them down. Remender is both the architect and destroyer of these towers, but the building blocks are simply mesmerizing. I'm enjoying Pacheco's collaboration with Remender on this series and can't help but hope they stick together for a while. This issue has moved "Captain America" prominently back onto my reading list while giving readers a great psychoanalysis of the first Avenger. Cap's in a delicate place right now -- not unlike those previous predicaments where some of his most memorable stories have grown from.

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