If I had to try and sum up Ed Brubaker’s run on “Captain America” in one word, “predictable” is not what I’d choose. That’s unfortunately how the end of “Two Americas” feels, though, and that’s not what I’m used to getting from this comic. In the past, stories like “Two Americas” were about the viewpoints of the different characters, getting deep inside their heads and making a point about the idea of symbols about America and the characters as well.
In this issue, though, it’s just a big slug fest. The final confrontation between the current Captain America and the 1950s Captain America comes down to some shouting and shooting, with very little else to recommend it. The Falcon’s subplot involving a train full of explosives feels a little more interesting, but even then it’s not much more than him threatening bad guys and dangling them out of a moving train. There isn’t that special punch of energy that I think everyone’s come to expect from “Captain America.” Even earlier segments of this storyline had a bit more interest going on, so I’m not entirely sure why it seems to have fizzled out at this point in the game.
Luke Ross’ pencils also feel slightly stale here, which is a disappointing way for his run on the book to wind down. It’s a little more angular than normal, and there’s a startlingly higher than normal lack of backgrounds this issue. In some instances the colorist seems to have added clouds or smears of color in the background. It’s not like every page is missing backgrounds, but it’s of a frequency high enough that you can’t help but notice. Worst of all, though, is that Ross and Guice draw the climactic final scene between Bucky and the 1950s Captain America in a weak, stiff way. It actually doesn’t look like anything I’m used to from either artist; it’s the sort of art that you might call “old-fashioned” in a negative way. It’s a horrible way to end “Two Americas” and it undercuts Brubaker’s script.
“Captain America” is normally much better than this, but I found myself curiously disappointed with a story that had much more potential. As a regular reader of the comic, I normally expect much more from all parties involved. On the bright side, the conclusion to the Nomad back-up story is fun, perhaps because it’s all epilogue and made me actually want to see Nomad and Arana hang out again. As a lead-in to the upcoming “Young Allies” book (with both as members), it works quite well. Now that’s a way to end a story on a high note.