Thursday, February 2, 2012

Captain America: No Escape (comics)

Writer: Ed Brubaker
Artist: Butch Guice, Mitch Breitweiser
Collects: Captain America #606-610

Baron Zemo is back, only now he knows the new Captain America is none other than Bucky, the death of whom was Baron Zemo Sr's claim to fame. So Zemo is just a wee bit pissed, but as it turns out, not necessarily for the reasons you might think. Zemo then proceeds to pull Buckys life out from under him.

We've dropped the heavy political undercurrent from last volume; this time, we're back in the thick of Buckys ongoing story, which has been as central to Brus run thus far as anything involving Steve Rogers. The hook is admittedly pretty smart on its own, but Bru takes it in a direction you might not expect. The result plays off of Zemos own history as well as putting Bucky in the meat grinder over his time as the Winter Soldier.

Spoiler alert
for the following paragraph or so, so skip to the end of you don't want spoilers.

Turns out, Zemo's not upset over his fathers one accomplishment being deep sixed. No, he's a bit more pissed off about the fact that Bucky's gained something of a free ride towards redemption. While Bucky has gone through quite a few trials and tribulations, the world at large is unaware that he's still alive, not to mention his past as the Winter Soldier. So Zemo throws Buckys life in a blender, leaks EVERYTHING to the press, smacks Bucky around a bit and says "here, now earn your redemption".

Not only does it make for good drama - you just know there's going to be a reckoning now that the world at large knows his past - but it's the sort of action I can picture for Zemo. Unlike his old man, who was an unrepenant Nazi, Zemo's toed a fine line over his history, with his time in the Thunderbolts softening him into a more heroic figure, if not exactly a full white hat. He has had a lot to make up for and redemption doesn't come easy; hell, he never really was fully redeemed or trusted. Meanwhile, his fathers greatest nemesis has a past as an assassin for the Ruskies and manages to just sweep it under the rug. You can sort of see why he might be a bit pissed.

It's a bit stronger a volume than Two Americas was. We're coming full circle with Brubakers run up to this point; we started with the revelation of the Winter Soldier and now we're dealing with it once more, only this time Bucky will have to face the public as well. I'm looking forward to it.

The Score: 8 out of 10

We're closing in on the endgame of Buckys time as Captain America. Next volume will be the last. Another good volume in Brubakers extended run. Hopefully the conclusion of this stage of Bucky's life will be as strong.

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