Writer: Jeph Loeb
Art: Tim Sale
Captain America: White #2 continues the fine tradition of such great titles as Spiderman: Blue, Daredevil: Yellow and Hulk: Grey. These books take a more introspective look at the heroes of the Marvel universe and examine the costs of being a hero, what the Hero, and those around them, must endure and the losses they suffer. To me, these books were revelations that comic books could be more than people in tights punching bad guys in the mouth. They could be powerful allegories of pain and the emotional and psychological loss being a Hero brings. My signed copy of Spiderman: Blue sits in a prominent place on my bookshelf.
This issue is vast improvement over the first issue, which while good didn’t really grab me, but I knew the final story when all told would be something worth reading and issue two delivers on that promise. We have a strong sense of setting and time, as Cap and the Howling Commandoes are firmly set in 1941, talking about the blonde bombshells on the silver screen of the day and sounding very much like my grandparents in theIR expressions and dialogue. This helps to ground the story in a specific time and place that is just as central to the story as the characters.
This issue has two contrasting emotional notes, the sense of regret and the need for hope. Cap speaks about that sense of loss that anyone who has lost someone knows. The regret of the last conversation being an argument, of things left unsaid and the difficulty in letting go of things that remind us of the person. Cap also externally shows his great leadership and understanding of human nature, always insisting on Hope as the thing that will drive humanity to strive against impossible odds. When Nick Fury, still with both eyes, starts speaking about IF they reach shore after their plane crash in the Atlantic in hostile, shark infested waters, Captain America interrupts him to insist they talk about WHEN they reach shore, not if. I found this dichotomy of internal doubt and loss contrasted with an outward sense of optimism to be a key insight into Captain America, and the qualities of leadership that make him able to inspire the men around him. I was reminded of a line from Saving Private Ryan “complaints go up the chain o command, never down”.
We also get insight Into Bucky, striving to be worthy of being Captain America’s sidekick, while also pushing the boundaries of that relationship. I felt this was a good analogy to the parent-child relationship and dynamic. Children admire their parents and seek to please them and earn their praise, but as they grow older they yearn to shed being viewed as child and stand on their own.
This was a strong issue and gave lots to think about, and shows that this will be worth several read through once completed