Captain America: Steve Rogers #6

by Kalem Lalonde on October 26, 2016

Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Javier Pina

I haven’t had much time to review comics lately as I have been focusing much of my attention on learning history. I am now writing this review at a time when I had planned to go to a coffee shop and read my 1776 book but instead, I am still at home writing about Nick Spencer’s Captain America: Steve Rogers #6. That may tell you what I thought of this book but if you never any further explanation: IT’S FANTASTIC!

I remember hearing about the Hydra Cap controversy and immediately buying Steve Rogers #1 because I wanted what one of my favorite writers was doing with one of my favorite characters. Contrary to popular belief, Nick Spencer did not ruin Captain America. Quite the opposite actually. Nick Spencer reinvigorated Captain America with his BRILLIANT twist. Captain America was not ruined by becoming Hydra, Captain America has now, in my perception, become a more complex and interesting character.

None of this would work if it was not for Nick Spencer’s obvious comprehension of what makes Captain America special. Cap has an incorruptible belief system that turns him into the ultimate American hero. Lin-Manuel Miranda always says that America is an experiment attempting to be as perfect as the document it was founded on. He then goes on to conclude that America is always trying to become just as perfect but we will never achieve the perfection of our ideals because we are human and they are not. Captain America represents that exact same idea. Steve Rogers’ commitment to his set of perfect ideals is what makes him so inspirational. He represents the achievement of the ideals of the American people.

Now I am writing about this here because Nick Spencer has latched onto a gold mine in his Captain America run by corrupting Steve while simultaneously maintaining that exact idea. There have been moments in this run where Steve shows a remaining hint of the ideals of his past self. This is all explained through flashbacks of Steve’s “new” life, where he is being trained at a Hydra camp but is rejecting it due to his good nature. What is so brilliant about this is that Steve’s ideals are so powerful that they are starting to work their way into an alternate version of himself.

Yes, Steve is now a Hydra agent but deep down he is still Captain America and there is something profoundly beautiful about that.

Issue #6 is my favorite issue of the series so far because this ruse is getting so strong that it is starting to trick me. When Steve is talking to Tony on the rooftop (in the best-written scene in ALL of Civil War II), I didn’t know if this was just the real Steve talking to Tony of if it was evil Steve. This scene is so powerful in its depiction of the friendship between Steve and Tony that I really do believe Tony would be fooled.

Now in the second Civil War, Steve is on Tony’s side but he questions why Tony is on the right side. There is always motivation behind ideals and Steve questions whether Tony’s motivations are too personal to actually be good. This adds a brilliant layer to the already strong portrayal (perhaps the only good thing about the main series) of Tony Stark in Civil War II. Nick Spencer’s Captain America #6 is so incredibly that it even makes Civil War II more tolerable.    

Look, I have just rambled on about how much I love Nick Spencer but I also love both art teams on this book. Jesus Saiz did a fantastic job with the first issues but Javier Pina has taken the reins and made an impressively smooth transition. Pina is challenged here with a very character focused issue and his main objective is to properly capture the characters’ turmoil. He kills it, he absolutely kills it. Tony looks so unstable to the point where I believed he is on the verge of cracking at every second. Miles looks appropriately disturbed and desperate. Steve (despite it being acted) has the perfect appearance of empathy and love while talking to his friend Tony. Pina carried this issue to perfection by bringing Spencer’s emotions to life, making the issue resonate the way it is supposed to.

Look if you aren’t convinced already I can’t say anything more to make you pick this book up. I am positive that it will have an essential place in the history of Captain America 20 years from now. Nick Spencer has not betrayed Captain America by making him a Hydra agent, he has made him even more pure and profound. This is the best book by the two major publishers right now. There, I said it.

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