REVIEW: Captain America #3

Cap 3 feature

CAPTAIN AMERICA #3 / By: Ta-Nehisi Coates & Leinil Francis Yu / Inkers: Gerry Alanguillan / Color Artist: Sunny Gho / Letterer: VC’s Joe Caramagna / Cover Art: Alex Ross / Graphic Designer: Carlos Lao / Publisher: Marvel / September 5, 2018

Cap 3 cover

Captain America #3, Winter in America: Part III, sends Cap off to Wakanda in search of allies in the face of the Power Elite’s ominous rise around the globe. Without any support from the government, Sharon, or the American people, Cap goes incognito in search of answers. From the engaging cover to at least four good hits to the heart, Captain America #3 is a definite read.

Captain America #3 bravely puts a face on a world where an individual is willing to give up freedom and responsibility to have a sliver more of security; a world where Hydra’s methods are accepted, as long as I’ve got mine. The story opens on this grim state of affairs as Cap, undercover, meets an average Joe in the middle of “flyover country” in search of answers where the Power Elite is concerned. Who are they? What are they doing? What’s their endgame?

Coates continues to impress with a storytelling style that digs so precisely into the matter without being hamfisted about it. In a few short pages at the start of the issue, I’m already asking myself the hard questions. What does it say about us as a people if only results that matter, if how we achieve those results is overlooked? What does it cost us to keep some people safe, some people healthy, some people employed? Must it cost other human lives? Must it cost human dignity and free will? It’s a sign of a great read if you can get my English teacher brain gnawing away at the big ideas this quickly.

TChalla Cap 3

Coates continues to keep the story layered, refusing to spiral down into trite black-white thinking. Life before Hydra was hard, working class people had legit concerns. Hydra’s surface improvements (just don’t look closely at how they achieved those gains) were something in the face of everything happening. Of course, the reader, along with Steve, recognize that in times like these, in real life, it’s not surprising that the nostalgic “we’re all in this together” spirit during WWII is nowhere in sight. It’s a hollow feeling, reinforced entirely by the fantastic art throughout the issue.

Leinil Francis Yu plays with color in a way that really reinforces the messiness of life post-HydraCap. In the transition from middle America to Wakanda, a number of panels featuring Cap are saturated in muted purple. When you mix Cap’s signature colors, red and blue, and mute them, reduce their power, you get this muddled purple color. This subliminally reinforces the reality that Cap is still an outsider. His role in society is no longer clear, there is no Red, White, and Blue! The muted colors speak to a loss of power, a loss of confidence.

Cap 3 purple

Now I can’t have you reading this far thinking Captain America #3 does nothing but fancy navel gazing. There’s plenty of action, all brought to glorious (and bloody) life by Yu’s pages pitting Steve, T’Challa and Okoye against Stane and his Nuke clones. Again color saturation makes such a difference here. In earlier pages where Steve is ruminating on the legacy of a HyrdaCap world, the pages where he’s fighting are bold in their color. The intense red, white, and blues return as Cap grapples with the seemingly endless supply of mindless Nuke clones hell bent on destruction. 

I’m glad Captain America is only once a month. I really enjoy rereading each issue and taking time to enjoy the art. I’d be rushed if they came out at a quicker pace. If you’ve been wondering if adding Captain America to your pull list is worth it, trust me, it is.

Rating: 5 of 5 stars

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I'm a curious, creative, comic(al) woman. I am unapologetically Team Cap, but not HydraCap because there is a line in the moral sands of the universe and that whole thing is on the other side of it. I teach high school students all about the joys of mythology through comic books, graphic novels, and films. I wandered into the comic book world in 2015 and is a proud member of the #DoYouEvenComicBook gang.

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