Captain America: Sam Wilson #3 Review (Mostly Spoiler Free)

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Well that was fast. Just two weeks ago I posted a review for Cap #2 and here we are again ready to dive into the newest issue. It’s good to have a new book to read so often, but I need to keep reminding myself that Marvel’s Captain America: Sam Wilson returns to its normal monthly schedule starting this month so I shouldn’t get used to it. And it’s a damn shame, too, because the way this issue ends is, well, really fun.

I’m going to do my best to avoid spoilers while still giving a thorough review, but be warned there may be a hint of story or two hiding in this post. Proceed at your own risk.

When we last saw Cap he was heading back to New York after a brief throw-down with the Sons of the Serpent in Arizona. Turns out the evil, racist criminal organization was really working for Dr. Karl Malus, former lead scientist for the Power Broker, who was having the Sons of the Serpent kidnap immigrants for his twisted experiments.

In this latest issue, we enter with Misty Knight tracking down Sam’s location to an abandoned warehouse after he jumped ship (er, plane) to go searching for Malus on his own. By the time Misty finds Sam he’s strapped down to a table in a makeshift lab, and,  if the cover of the comic didn’t give it away already, he’s been transformed into the dreaded, ferocious CAP-WOLF! Well, okay, he isn’t really ferocious. Actually Sam manages to stay 100% in control and the only thing bringing Cap-Wolf back seems to do is provide writer Nick Spencer an outlet for some pent up puns. Aside from adding some levity and nostalgia, this plot point doesn’t do anything for the story. Not gonna lie here- I was pretty disappointed, but since the original Cap-Wolf story was a cheesy gimmick, I don’t really know what I was expecting.

Aside from the inclusion of Cap-Wolf, we get some cool fight scenes between a werewolf and a wereturtle, a hot, sassy cyborg and a wereboar, and Cap vs. Dr. Malus. -all of which are fun and beautifully illustrated. Daniel Acuña’s art really goes well with the spirit of Spencer’s vision for Captain America and even if I wasn’t thrilled with the writing this time out, the art really sells this issue for me.

I’m still annoyed that we keep retreading old villains, and Dr. Malus is no exception. He gets taken out pretty quickly and it seems like he’s just a stepping stone on the way to a bigger and better story, but I guess I’m just holding out for something new. And, to be honest, while I praised Spencer’s humor in the past two issues, it was a little too much for me this month. Dr. Malus was a quip-slinging machine stealing lines from Austin Powers and it got old pretty fast. I think he may have been okay on his own, but coupled with the Cap-Wolf gag and Misty’s encyclopedic slew of 80’s Werewolf references, it was just a bit over-the-top.

Overall, though, the comic itself was very fun. While it had plenty of flaws, the story is going in a direction that just keeps calling me back for more. My wife loved it from beginning to end, so that just shows for someone who hasn’t read much Cap in the past (aside from the Brubaker masterpiece) it will definitely entertain, and I suppose that was the entire goal of reinventing Captain America to begin with.

As a long-time Cap fan, if nothing else, the last page of this book made me squee with excitement. Even though I keep complaining about reusing old characters, I grew up in the Gruenwald era of Cap so the fact that I now have to wait four weeks before the next issue is a serious bummer. Funny how nostalgia works, eh? I just hope the pay-off is as big as the build-up.

As a final thought- I wasn’t super thrilled with this latest issue, but man, seeing Sam flying through the city as a werewolf dressed up as Captain America was well worth the price of admission.

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