Captain America: Sam Wilson #9
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Angel Unzueta
With the events of Pleasant Hill behind him, Sam Wilson is prepared to march forward as Captain America. But with the return of Steve Rogers, the original Captain America, the question on everyone’s mind is whether or not the world is ready for two Caps, and that very topic is the focus of this month’s issue.
The book opens up like all of the recent issues- with way too much recapping. Now I get that there are people that need to be caught up to speed, but each issue gives us a full (and usually entertaining) recap on the first page via some clever “Twitter” posts. These “tweets” (as the younger folk tell me such things are called) do a fine job on their own without having to then take the next three pages to say the same thing with more lengthy narration.
Despite the recap pages growing in number like (insert clever metaphor here), I have to admit that they really don’t slow down the story, which starts up right away with a smug Maria Hill almost bragging about how she and S.H.I.E.L.D. aren’t getting held accountable for the Super-Prison breakout that took place just a short time ago. This time the argument that ensues ends not in Steve and Sam on opposite sides of the fence, but rather the two agreeing that something needs to be done to ensure justice is served. Steve moves like a district attorney, deciding that he and Sam need to build their case against Hill before acting. The first step to that, of course, would be finding Kobik, the sentient Cosmic Cube who was both the cause of and solution to the catastrophe that was Pleasant Hill- a plan Sam reluctantly agrees to.
I’m glad the Sam/Steve feud has been resolved so quickly, because I love seeing the two of them together again. Sam’s emotional nature pairs well with Steve’s level-headed leadership, which is why the two have always been a great team. They just always seem to balance each other out.
After sparring with the always delightful Misty Knight, Sam heads to a grand ol’ “Welcome Back” press conference for Steve, but not before revealing to her that he is a bit worried about being unnecessary once the original man is back in the stars and stripes. Even though it was his idea (something he conceived during the Pleasant Hill fiasco) he still has every right to be concerned, I mean, we’re talking about THE Steve Rogers, here.
And boy, does our man of the hour sure look spiffy in his new uniform. It has sort a MCU vibe to it, which is fine because a) that’s a great look, and b) Sam, with some modifications, is already wearing a version of the classic comic uniform. Still not entirely sold on the triangle shield, but we’ll see how I feel after I’ve seen it in action.
That’s not something you’ll see in this book, though, because despite Steve’s triumphant return, this is still Sam’s book, and Nick Spencer manages to keep it that way. Which, considering that this is THE Steve Rogers, is impressive.
Steve reunites with his old pal, D-Man, who doesn’t hesitate to run past Cap to give Cap (this could get confusing) a big hug, and he also meets Joaquin, the new Falcon, before taking the stage. Joaquin is great as always, delivering what is easily the best line in the entire book: “What’s up, Captain Establishment? You’re looking awfully white this afternoon, sir.” But, see, what’s outstanding about Joaquin is that he’s a young kid with an attitude, yet all his snarky joking aside he’s a very respectful character who genuinely seems star-struck when actually meeting Steve. And I mean, who wouldn’t be? This is THE Steve Rogers we’re talking about. Okay, I’ll stop with that now.
While Steve is rallying the troops in classic Cap fashion, and people are celebrating the return of THE Steve Ro…right, sorry. Anyway, Sam is standing off-stage watching and wondering how he could possibly compare to his partner when a fabulous deus ex machina gives him the opportunity to show a nation of people who pretty much hate him just what the new Cap (wait, current Cap? Co-Cap?) can do. A mercenary called Chance crashes the event and tries to kill Steve, but is stopped by Sam in an ensuing air battle. It’s the one big action scene of the book and flows nicely thanks to art by new Cap headliner Angel Unzueta, and while the man can obviously draw a solid piece of action, something about the way he draws faces bugs me. I think it may be that there are some panels where people have no teeth when they have their mouths open. Yeah, I get that it’s true to life, but it just looks a bit odd to me. Anyway, moving on.
The crowd witnesses the spectacular feat and cheers Sam on as Steve proclaims, “Ladies and gentlemen- Captain America!”
Sam is loving the spotlight, but it’s short-lived as Chance, while being taken away by the police, reveals that his attack was provoked by the Pleasant Hill incident. Turns out that while Sam and Steve are trying to quietly build a case against Maria Hill, the rest of the world, or at least those who know about the incident, believe that the Avengers are just helping them cover things up. For a guy like Chance, a guy who was there and experienced things first-hand, this is not acceptable in the least. It’s one of those reality vs. perception things that can’t be resolved easily.
This revelation eats at Sam, keeping him from being able to sleep, even though he has the beautiful Misty in the bed calling him back (go Sam!). Sam admits that he isn’t use to compromise and that he has a feeling that things are about to get worse before they get better.
Interesting note- Sam likes to stand naked in front of large, coverless windows. Make of that what you will.
This month’s issue ends like all good issues do- giving us an ever so slight glimpse into what’s coming next, which in this case appears to be even more Gruenwald-flavored treats. I don’t know how I feel about that, though, because I’m still sitting here waiting for something new, and while I personally haven’t seen Americop in a while, I don’t have the same gleeful attachment to him (them, now) as I did with the Serpent Society. We’ll see what happens next month when the story unfolds.
Until then, go see Captain America: Civil War!