While Captain America has been one of the key characters in the Marvel Universe, his self titled comic has never really been a best-seller or a critics’ darling. The most memorable comics featuring Captain America have nearly always been extravagant crossover events or key Avenger stories. I think this is partly because Cap represents all that is supposedly great about the USA and as such the comics seldom show him in moments of weakness. This leads to a lack of drama – readers like vulnerability and pathos, hence the success of Wolverine as a character.
Well, Marvel seems to have finally got it right with Ed Brubaker’s brilliant Winter Solder arc on the relaunched Captain America. Initially, readers were disgusted that Marvel brought back Bucky (Cap’s WWII sidekick) back from the dead. But Brubaker integrates his revival seamlessly and the scriptwriting is of a very high caliber – seeing Cap suffer when he realizes Bucky has become an “enemy”, readers can now finally see Cap as more human. This is probably the darkest Cap story ever. Steve Epting delivers artwork that matches perfectly the tone of the story, but cannot be said to be conventionally dazzling I suppose. It nonetheless really works and I like it alot.
Verdict : if you have to read only one Capt. America comic, this is the one. An essential buy.