Or – “This Just In! Former Captain America Steve Rogers is STILL Dead…”


Let’s say you were living in the year 1985, enjoying Mark Gruenwald’s run on Captain America Volume 5. He’s been crafting interesting stories every month (even the stuff with Flag-Smasher) but suddenly, a time machine appears, and out steps a wild-haired madman who tells you of the far-flung autumn of 2007! “Uhhh… Marty! Marty! We’ve got to do something about the future!! Captain America is dead! Bucky, the Falcon, and Sharon Carter are headlining his book! We’ve got to go… Back To The Future!!!!” Would you expect during this conversation that the stories would actually be not only good, but REALLY good? ‘Cause if not, then expect Biff to give you a few quick raps on the melon… “Hello? McFly?”

Previously, on Captain America: The Superhuman Registration Act split the superhero community down the middle, with Iron Man standing for law, and Captain America CA1.jpgespousing the belief that those who forsake liberty for the sake of safety are neither free nor safe. Captain America realized at the end of the battle that the general populace of the Marvel Universe wasn’t behind him at all, and turned himself in. After being soundly attacked by one Sally Floyd, who pointed out that the only thing that matters is being part of the crowd, Cap was killed during a prison transfer. Now, in the weeks after his demise, his friends and comrades each have a different idea of how best to uphold the legacy of Captain America. The Falcon wants to find his killer. Agent 13 is forced to work with him, by hypnotic control of Doctor Faustus. Iron Man refuses to name a new Captain America. And The Winter Soldier wants to assassinate Iron Man… Worst of all, Sin and the Serpent Squad have been able to free Crossbones from custody, thanks once again to Faustus (disguised as SHIELD psychologist Dr. Benjamin.) Tony Stark has discovered Benjamin’s treachery, and sends agents to check out his home…


While Tony realizes that someone has infiltrated his agency, The Winter Soldier has broken into the Kronas Corporation, headquarters of Aleksandr Lukin, a former Russian general whose mind is now the home of the Red Skull. Ready to confront the Skull, he ends up facing Crossbones and Sin. “I’m an idiot. Rushing in blind.. I deserve to lose this fight. But I’ll be damned if I’m going to.”


Heh. Gotta love the tough-guy talk… James Buchanan Barnes turns again, and reaches out to grab his opponent by the throat. “You… You shot my friend. And I don’t HAVE many friends.” The former Bucky raises Crossbones up by the throat, holding him in mid-air, his bionic arm slowly squeezing, as if weighing how easy it would be to crush his murderous throat.


And even though Winter might think of it, he can’t follow through, instead throwing Crossbones to the floor, leaving him with the sure revelation that he owes Bucky his life. “Ahh… That’s more like Rogers,” smirks the Red Skull, but Winter Soldier whirls, pins him to the window, his rage finding a better target. “You’re the one who deserves to die!” The Skull simply stares him down, saying “Deserve. Is that really a word you want to use, Winter Soldier?”


Okay, as much as that moment worked for me, the whole “mental shutdown word” is the first moment that felt even a little cliche in this storyline. But, it came in the middle of a good scene, so I’ll allow it. (Like my opinion matters…) Across town, Sam Wilson (The Falcon) has a conversation with his partner Redwing, in which they discuss their injuries (Sam’s burns and Red’s wing are both up to speed) and Falcon reveals that his new costume was destroyed, so he’ll have to go back to his old one. Awesome! He hears someone entering, and whirls with his handy grappling hook, another bit of old-school…


Is that not the cutest Black Widow you’ve ever seen? Of course, her changing haircuts throughout the Marvel U. are one of the mysteries of decompressed storytelling, but Steve Epting makes me just not care. As for Falcon’s recent partner, Sharon Carter, she’s finding out first hand that just because you’ve hit rock bottom, doesn’t mean you can’t start to tunnel…


Oh, no. Didn’t you ever watch an Afterschool Special? Every time you have sex in a storyline it leads to pregnancy! Especially if your boyfriend dies in an accident! Kristy MacNicol should have been a warning for you! Sharon’s new hell is competing with Winter Soldier’s, as he awakens in a room filled with monitors, each one broadcasting the death of his best friends on endless loop. If that weren’t bad enough, his only companion is a man who always smells of failed deodorant and cherry-pipe tobacco…


“…I’ll know you better than you know yourself.” With that ominous exhortation, we return to Tony Stark, a supposed futurist who didn’t see a pretty obvious assassination attempt coming. Even he realizes that he screwed up, and calls up all the footage from all the cameras that saw the shooting, and realizes that not only did it take place at the perfect point, when all the cameras were looking the wrong way, that someone else might have had plans up their sleeve that day…


That click you just heard was Tony finally putting two and two together and getting something other than “Incarcerate your friends for fun and profit!” As he realizes who actually fired the fatal shots, he tries to contact the Black Widow and warn her what’s about to happen… about 30 seconds too late.


Interesting… Apparently Steve’s last wish implies that he wants Bucky to be the new Captain America, as many of us have been suspecting would happen all along. I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to Sam Wilson slapping the monocle right off Faustus smug, fat face…

This entire arc has been very well done, and even with the main character dead, it’s still a story about Captain America. The writing maintains the suspensefulness that has pervaded this book since #26, and I’m really enjoying the character work (Bucky’s targetless rage, Tony’s grief clouding his much-vaunted predictive mind, Sharon’s horror at being controlled) as well as Epting & Mike Perkins art. The return to Falcon’s old design (sadly without the shirt open to the waist, as all Black characters had in the 70’s) is nice, and I’m a bit psyched to see how this one all comes together, especially if Winter Soldier is going to take over for Captain America. The only complaint I have (and it’s a minor one) is how long it’s taking for this storyline to unfold. This apparently takes place right after the shooting, before Iron Man’s appearances in Avengers, Mighty Avengers, and Iron Man, already a chronological nightmare. Still, that’s a minor whine, and an external one at that. Captain America #30 scores a very impressive 4 out of 5 stars, and I’m hoping somebody punches the Skull so hard his little Doctor Seuss mask explodes.



About Author

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.


  1. “…Tony Stark, a supposed futurist who didn’t see a pretty obvious assassination attempt coming. “

    I beg to differ…Stark knew perfectly well what would happen (See Civil War: The Confession), but neever let on in case he screwed up Time as we know it.

  2. I used to hate having to figure out the chronological order of Marvel after Civil War but I just decided to let it be and enjoy the books that are good, like this one. And it’s really just this book along with New/Mighty Avengers that are lagging behind the current time line, especially Mighty.

  3. I should also have added that the vision he talks about in ‘Confession’ also accounts for that “Just Like I Knew It Would” comment at the end of this issue.

  4. Brubaker’s whole run is pretty much piling one “I can’t believe he went there” moment after another; bringing back Bucky, killing Cap, now the whole pregnancy thing; any one of these would make a run significant (for good or ill), but to have them all together, and so far done so well, is incredible.

  5. Now here’s a comic book question…you think Steve Rogers’s super soldier serum effects could be passed on genetically? Or am I reaching way too much here? Also, I have a different read on Cap’s letter: I read it as “take care of Bucky” and “replace me”. It doesn’t necessarily means he wants the Winter Soldier to take up his mantle, but he knows someone should…on and by the way, notice we don’t get to see the whole letter…HMMM….Cap might still be dead but they are leaving enough plot holes to pull him back through when their ready for the resurrection.

  6. This truly is the first time I’ve liked Tony Stark in a comic in a long while. And it’s kind of interesting – Marvel has several good candidates for the next Captain America, all of which would feel relatively natural. Winter Soldier, Sam Wilson, even Clint Barton.

  7. I’m getting tired of these cliffhangers from Marvel where it appears a character has died, but because of the slow pacing of this story and Black Widow’s appearance in the New Avengers we know she isn’t dead. For me it takes a lot of the enjoyment out of the story. Iron Man “died” in New Avengers, but we know he’s not dead because he’s alive in World War Hulk. It keeps going on and on.

    Marvel really needs to get the timeline of their titles tightly knit.

  8. It’s a good thing Bucky wasnt watching that documentary on the space programme the other night. TV:”The Soviet Union was the first nation to achieve Earth orbit with their advanced satilite-Sputnik…” Bucky passes out in his popcorn.

  9. Also a good thing Bucky never watched Toy Story 2: “Two words: SPUT. NIK.” Zzzzzzzzzz…

    Hey maybe they’ll get Sam, Clint, and Bucky into 3 costumes and call them the Captains of America! Huzzah…no wait, don’t!

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