The nefarious villains known as the Serpent Society have rebranded for a new age, as the corporate entity known as Serpent Solutions. That does not, however, mean that they want to murder the good Captain any less… Your Major Spoilers review of Sam Wilson, Captain America #6 awaits!
SAM WILSON CAPTAIN AMERICA #6
Writer: Nick Spencer
Penciler: Joe Bennett
Inker: Belardino Brabo
Colorist: Romulo Fajardo
Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna
Editor: Tom Brevoort with Katie Kubert
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in Sam Wilson, Captain America: Sam Wilson’s tenure as Captain America has made him a very different figure than Steve Rogers. After engaging the Sons of The Serpent in their crusade to make their long-time racism acceptable, he has engaged The Viper, who has converted his Serpent Society into a corporate juggernaut called Serpent Solutions, uniting the richest and most powerful businessmen in the quest for corporate profits. Their efforts have left young Joaquin Torres transformed into a winged form, a hybrid of raptor and man, and left him to fight the Serpents alone.
Also: Sam is a werewolf. So that’s fun…
THE VIPER IS BACK
Long thought dead (he was executed by Madame Hydra, who took his Viper name around the time Steve Rogers first became Nomad back in 1975), Jordan Stryke’s plan has worked almost too well. Unfortunately for him, he did not count on Captain America’s bond with Redwing, his trained Falcon, a bond which Joaquin shares. Using the bird as go-between, a nearly paralyzed Captain America is able to feed the kid some of the rad flying moves he has developed in his years as The Falcon, enough to keep the Serpents at bay until the cavalry arrives (in the form of Misty Night, D-Man and a turncoat Diamondback, hiding in Serpents’ own ranks.) The battle turns in Captain America’s favor, and he and his compatriots chase the Serpents back to their corporate HQ, where several of the metaphorical 1% have assembled to gloat over their profits. Cap attempts to take them in for their crimes, but realizes that doing so might collapse the economy, instead choosing to take in their leader, and warning the others that he’ll be back for them, a few at a time, if their perfidy continues. As the issue ends, we find young Joaquin has taken on a new role: Captain America’s partner, The Falcon!
NOT EVEN *A LITTLE* SUBTLE WITH THEIR METAPHORS
The biggest weakness of this issue for me is the incredibly obvious way the commentary is used throghout, with the clear message being that “business is bad.” All the corporate types are jerks, and their dialogue makes it clear that they believe they’re untouchable (the phrase “too big to fail” is used verbatim) because of their importance to the economy of the Marvel Universe. Viper actually stops the battle to complain about how Joaquin is an entitled Millennial who only wants “free stuff,” and nearly everyone parrots some of the rhetoric of the last two Presidential elections. When the issue ends, and Captain America comes to the decision that he actually CAN’T punish the villains involved, it’s a very unsatisfying conclusion, leaving a bad taste in my mouth as a reader that the majority of the people responsible for the evil in a superhero book go unpunished. Is it a more “realistic” take on the genre? Sure, just as the questions of who pumps up the tires on the Batmobile make for a more “realistic” story, but not necessarily an entertaining one. Worst of all, after the villains smugly declare themselves untouchable, our hero AGREES with them, and his closing threat feels incredibly hollow based on the way the story is assembled.
THE BOTTOM LINE: A MIXED BAG
The combat sequences are very well crafted this issue, and most of the characters look really good (there are some serious anatomy issues in the first appearance of Misty Knight this time around), and the new Falcon costume has some potential as well, but the anti-climax of the story (and the sheer number of leaden clichés and mustache twisting nyaah-ha-haaaa villain crowing) bring the entire affair down in the end. Sam Wilson Captain America #6 doesn’t really work as either a single issue story or as a wrap-up to the Serpent Solutions saga, sacrificing storytelling on the altar of “realism” without actually doing the legwork necessary to make the ending work thematically or narratively, earning a disappointing 2.5 out of 5 stars overall. With a little more work put into the economics behind the villain’s actions and/or making them more than one-dimensional greedy rich jerks, this could have worked, but as presented, it’s a very hollow victory for our hero.