Captain America #10 Review

by Charles Martin on May 08, 2019

Captain America #10 Review
Writer: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Artist: Adam Kubert
Colourist: Frank Martin
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics

In Captain America #10, the slow wheel of the plot churns toward decisive action. The final act of Cap's prison story starts here.

It's an issue that maintains the title's commitment to long-form plotting, showing Cap's antagonists adjusting their plans to account for the disruptions of the Dryad. But it's more focused on Steve Rogers than previous issues, which is an entirely good thing.

As is the title's established habit, narration and action are allowed to diverge. Even before the big showdown between Strucker and Cap, the visual story and Steve's inner monologue stand separate. They are related by a lively interplay of ideas - Steve's not just gathering wool but responding to illustrated events - but they remain two parallel stories unfolding at the same time.

A style like this demands strong art, and that's exactly what Adam Kubert delivers. He and Frank Martin are once again operating in lockstep, blurring the border between linework and colour with carefully nuanced shading.

Mr. Kubert's talents are even more important when they take up the job of bonafide storytelling. The narrative style obliges the art to stand on its own, particularly in the big fight scene, and it stands with vigour and elan. Even if the caption boxes disappeared, Strucker's cage match with a desperate, depowered Steve Rogers would be a clear and moving story thanks solely to the dynamic art.

The script Ta-Nehisi Coates has put together here is notably great, even for a title whose literary bonafides have been proven time and time again. Steve's narration sharpens his thoughts to a singular point about identity - this is the key lesson imprisonment has taught him.

But it's not just Steve's scenes that address the theme of identity and naming. The same subject is the core of the initial scene where Susan Richards breaks into the Myrmidon to conspire with Dr. Eliot Franklin. Or with Thunderball - Dr. Franklin refuses to ignore the distinction.

Dr. Franklin is a one-scene wonder. Thanks to the meeting with Sue, he has a further role to play in the plot, but the meeting itself is a glorious reflection on all the redemption work Mr. Coates has put into the character.

Even the villainous plotting scene bows to the overarching theme. The link is all the more powerful for being entirely organic; when Lukin says "Is it still true that there is only one way to address certain men?" the resonance is chilling. The full meaning of his words is left ever-so-slightly ambiguous; the theme is not pursued so far as to spoil the scene's primary purpose of foreshadowing conflicts to come.

A consistent issue-wide theme concentrates and elevates Captain America #10. The big plot developments are just beginning, but this start is made entirely satisfying by its sharp, focused writing and its refined art. This title has dragged at points in the past, but #10 is a skillful assertion that Captain America's next stop is must-read territory.

Our Score:


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Charles Martin's picture
This issue has finally hooked me hard with an "arrrgh, what happens next?!" closer. It's a testament to the focus and talent the creators invested.
Charles Martin's picture
This issue has finally hooked me hard with an "arrrgh, what happens next?!" closer. It's a testament to the focus and talent the creators invested.