March 15, 2020

Review: Captain America, Vol. 2: Captain of Nothing

Captain America, Vol. 2: Captain of Nothing Captain America, Vol. 2: Captain of Nothing by Ta-Nehisi Coates
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been following Ta-Nehisi Coates as a writer for some time--I've read his essays and purchased his novel, The Water Dancer--and I also have the first two volumes of his Black Panther run. The difference between Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet and this volume is considerable. He has found his feet as far as comics writing goes, and this is the best I've yet seen from him.

This volume is pretty introspective, with many of Steve's interior thought bubbles decorating the panels, but given the storyline, these seem necessary. Coates is doing a bit of a deconstruction here, breaking down the character of Steve Rogers and the myth of Captain America, and examining and ultimately severing the links between the two. This story is taking place in the aftermath of the Hydra/Supreme Commander storyline, and this haunts Steve's every move. He ends up turning himself in for the murder of Thaddeus Ross, even though he didn't do it. But his lover, Sharon Carter, is still on the outside (with the shield) and she ends up working with the Daughters of Liberty (one badass group of female superheroes including Misty Knight, Sue Storm, Mockingbird, and Spider-Woman) to break him out of his prison.

This volume ends with Steve still on the run, working with the Daughters of Liberty to clear his name. For the moment at least, there is no "Captain America," as Coates' dialogue makes clear.

Steve: "Hydra broke something in this country. I thought Captain America could set it right. But there's no 'Captain' without an 'America' that believes in him."

Sharon: "Then perhaps what we need right now isn't Captain America. Maybe what we need is Steve Rogers."

This, along with the last page (view spoiler), sets up a very intriguing storyline. I'll definitely want to see how it goes.

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