Review: Captain America #619

Published on June 28th, 2011

Captain America…this title has seen us through the return of Bucky, the death and subsequent return of Steve and now has thrown salt in our wounds as Bucky is serving time in a Gulag in Siberia. Ed Brubaker has taken the character that we all know and love and has breathed new life into him,bringing a gritty reality to all that is Captain America. This series has been a roller coaster and everything ends here in Captain America #619. So how was this, the last regular issue of Captain America? Read on to find out.

captainamerica619Captain America has been a series unlike any other for me. I started off not caring much about him as a character, with his star’s and stripes, boy scout attitude and have grown to love both the character and the writing in this book. In the last few issues, we have seen Bucky answering for crimes he committed while under the guise of Winter Soldier and under brainwash. He, unlike many other superheroes, has stepped up and taken accountability for his actions. All this has lead to him being put in a Gulag and pushed around like a pawn by his captors. We know how Bucky’s story seems to end in the pages of Fear Itself, which takes place after the events of the Gulag storyline, but how does Bucky vilify his name?

This book, like the last few issues, has been broken into different segments all leading to a big finale. A break out. The first of the three involved Black Widow stealing a chopper and heading to the prison to get Bucky out. This was told with plenty of great action segments and, if I am right, it is the artwork of the always amazing Mitch Breitweiser. So no complaints here!

We then move quickly to the next segment in which Bucky is being strapped down to a chair and is having his brain examined to find the secrets left over from his Winter Soldier years. At this point, we learn of three Agents of Mass Destruction that have been hidden in the United States since the 80’s. These are supposedly three sleeper agents with the same skill sets as Winter Soldier who are waiting to be activated. I love that Brubaker is still giving us future seeds that Bucky will have to deal with….even knowing what happens to him in issue #3 of Fear Itself. This alone makes me think we have not seen the last of Bucky Barnes and that is a welcome sign. The artwork in this little segment is comprised of both Butch Guice and Stefano Gaudiano and is practically seamless in execution. One thing I will say is that this book has seen the pen of quite a few GREAT artist. Having endured the mind swipe, Bucky is left to fight one more opponent for the Warden of the prison and that is when the proverbial shit hits the fan. His last opponent is a bit of a mountain of a man with a third eye that shoots a laser of some sort. Bucky takes this advantage to  not only beat the crap out of this man but to tear the prison from the inside out. This, along with Black Widow’s help, allows Bucky to escape into the night from a hell on earth.

All of this ends nicely with Bucky and honestly, for once, did not feel rushed. We are treated to one last story of Steve Rogers as Super Soldier wherein he and Nick Fury recount how Steve was able to track down one of the sleeper cells and prove that there was a cover up. This section was drawn by Chris Samnee who will be taking over the art duties on this book as it becomes Captain America and Bucky in issue #620. Smanee’s art style will be perfect for this old World War 2 style tale featuring Captain America and Bucky Barnes. At the very end of the issue, we see the President telling Steve that he needs an untarnished Captain America and he is the only man right for this job.

Captain America really has been such a fun ride for me. We have been given Bucky back with a rich history and have even turned Steve into a bit of an unmasked badass in his own right! So it is only slightly sad that we bid farewell to this great storyline . However, we have something even better to look forward to, as now Bucky has maybe died? How will Cap handle that in his new ongoing, Captain America #1 by Brubaker and Steve McNiven? Lot’s of story threads still hang in the air and with Brubaker steering the wheel, I have a feeling we will see even more special things come out of this book.

Final Verdict: Captain America will be all over the place this summer with his movie coming out. If you want to dig in deep and learn why that movie was inspired by a comic then this was the series to turn to! A perfect ending to start a new beginning! Thank you Ed Brubaker!

Sheldon Lee

Sheldon@comicimpact.com