Nick Spencer’s comics always seem to have that little unexpected twist just lurking around the bend, waiting to surprise you. I’m not talking about massive plot changes, but rather his thoughtful, unique approach to traditional superhero storytelling. That’s certainly the case in “Captain America: Sam Wilson” #6, where Spencer and guest artists Joe Bennett and Belardino Brabo give us a delightfully modern take on super villains.
First, let me reassure you that there is, indeed, a traditional fight as the new Falcon takes on the Serpent Society/Solutions with the help of Misty Knight, Diamondback, D-Man and Captain America himself, and it’s a lot of fun. I like the way in which a paralyzed Sam Wilson is still able to give Joaquin assistance, and Diamondback’s better nature getting the best of her is the sort of thing that is expected but still gratifying. Misty’s appearance is also right on the money thanks to a wonderfully dramatic panel from Bennett and Brabo. Those looking for a fight and a strong takedown of the former Serpent Society will not be disappointed.
Spencer takes the idea of the Serpent Solutions business group and brings it through to its logical conclusion. What happens when the bad guys are not only doing nefarious things, but have set up a real company lots of innocent people depend on financially? Spencer’s “too big to fail” creation provides a clever conundrum for Sam, and it results in a very modern take on the superhero story in many ways. Spencer doesn’t let the bad guys get away with it, but also can’t simply round them up, arrest them and smash their power structure. It’s a more complicated situation and that’s exactly what Spencer gives us. It doesn’t hurt matters that Spencer’s dialogue is as whip-smart as it’s ever been; his characters are funny and clever, but sound authentic at the same time. That’s an incredibly hard line to walk, but Spencer once again finds a way to make it work.
Bennett and Brabo have stepped in this month for art duty, but — considering Bennett has drawn comics featuring Captain America and Falcon in the past — it’s not surprising the art feels confident right from the get go. Bennett’s fight choreography is smooth and fun, switching the perspective to make it feel dizzying but still easy to follow, particularly in what’s happening to both Joaquin and the various Serpent members. Bennett is also good with the talking heads on the finance television show, which is animated and reactionary in just the right way. Likewise, the big double-page spread with the Captain America chest logo could have felt a little forced, but it’s much to Bennett and Brabo’s credit that it doesn’t come across that way at all; it’s a smooth progression from one panel to the next, and the five “star” panels in the center do well to illustrate Spencer’s concepts of what would happen if the business was simply destroyed.
“Captain America: Sam Wilson” #6 is another entertaining issue in a series that works in no small part because of its highly skilled creators. Spencer’s script is intelligent and engaging, and Bennett and Brabo do a fine job of stepping in to bring that to life. Easily one of the better relaunch titles at Marvel, “Captain America: Sam Wilson” #6 is a joy and a half.