Since tomorrow’s the 4th of July, I thought it’d be appropriate to review a Captain America comic this week. Thanks to a suggestion from Elessar, I dug through my box of older comics and pulled out Captain America #25, the famed “Death of Captain America” issue from 2007. How well does this issue hold up seven years later?
Writer Ed Brubaker is considered by most to be the best modern Captain America writer, composing over 100 issues concerning the character over the course of 8 years, an amazing feat in modern comics. As a result, his influence on the character cannot be ignored. While I admire Brubaker’s work (especially on the likes of the famed “Winter Soldier” arc), I think this issue is a narrative miss.
“Death of Captain America” succeeds in the individual character views of Captain America. We get to see Agent Sharon Carter, Bucky “Winter Soldier” Barnes, and Sam “The Falcon” Wilson all think about their interactions with the Sentinel of Liberty. These are also a great way to show the uninformed how these lesser known characters relate to Cap.
Alas, these flashbacks are overshadowed by what is, in my opinion, a cheap death. Perhaps it was simply that news outlets and the issue cover spoil the death, but it honestly didn’t hit as powerfully as some comic deaths. By this period, comic deaths weren’t exactly uncommon, but they weren’t the “happen every few weeks” occurrence they are now in the medium. Nevertheless, I wish the issue had ended with the death; instead, we have an awkward following few pages which, while they reveal a cool twist, still mess up the story beats.
Artist Steve Epting brought great style to Captain America #25. His figures are highly realistic, which helps inform the emotion contained in the issue. Epting utilizes great perspective and panel placement as well, especially evident in scenes containing The Falcon. Epting’s a master of facial expressions, portraying a wide range of emotions through subtle uses of this art. At the very least I have no complaints about the art.
Overall, Captain America #25 is nothing special. It was definitely an issue that generated massive hype (and associated sales), but I don’t remember loving it back when I first read it, and my opinion hasn’t changed much on this read through. In fact, the issues following this one actually were so uninteresting as to cause me to drop not just Captain America, but comics in general for close to four years. This is a good issue for exploring Cap’s supporting cast, and the twist is definitely cool, but nevertheless it isn’t something I’d suggest reading unless you have a huge desire to see Cap die.
-great examination of Cap’s supporting cast
-the death itself lacks power
-death feels like a gimmick, rather than a necessary narrative choice
-kicks off an ultimately forgettable arc
Brett Simon is a twenty-four year old comic enthusiast. He wonders if Captain America ever fought against an enemy wielding fireworks.
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