Marvel Pick Of The Week – October 28, 2015 [SPOILERS]


Pick Of The Week:

Captain America: Sam Wilson 2, by Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna

Two weeks ago, Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna’s first issue of Captain America: Sam Wilson impressed me with the amazing TV-ready structure splicing joke after joke into a dizzying mix of time-layered plotlines and jokes about the right-wing that eventually made national news. This week completes the two-part opening story in an almost perfect fashion.

Earlier, the reader knew that Sam Wilson had offended a ton of Americans, including SHIELD director Maria Hill, with a political statement, but the content wasn’t clear. This issue explains that a spy called The Whisperer had found out that SHIELD has been assembling pieces to make a Cosmic Cube and leaked that information to the world. Scientists and ethicists responded with understandable concern that maybe the power to reshape reality itself could be dangerous in the hands of a government organization free from any accountability or oversight. Sam Wilson’s press conference produces a sound bite of “Shut it down. Now.” And the original Captain agrees with him. But when SHIELD tries to prosecute The Whisperer, Sam helps him escape.

The politics of the gun-toting racists in the Sons Of The Serpent are presented as a joke (one fires a bazooka while shouting, “Now you face the well-regulated militia!”), but the politics of the main characters present a balanced and well-thought debate about the power and privacy of the government. Maria Hill believes that if anyone can become God, it behooves the United States to make sure they get their first and defend their people. Sam Wilson believes that the government should not be trying to do this, and because it could impact the lives of every person in existence, he sees The Whisperer’s leak as heroic. Steve Rogers agrees with Sam on the danger of the Cube project but agrees with Maria on the treason label for the man leaking that information. The book is obviously going to use a tone that supports its title character, but Nick Spencer obviously respects people with different judgments on these issues. Most damning, though, is when he uses Sam Wilson’s narration captions to point out the way that unconscious white privilege has set this divide up: “Steve Rogers, in his heart, believes that when the chips are down, when its values are at stake, his country will do what’s right. And me? In my heart? I can only hope it will.” This is so uncomfortable to read as a man who benefits from white privilege, but it’s a fantastic way to explain how this version of Captain America isn’t just an Instagram filter on the previous one. I want to know so much more about where this creative team is going to push the discussion, and I think America benefits from hearing it.

(And I can’t close this part of the column without pointing out the amazing Misty Knight monologue to Sam about how much she hates wasting her time on poorly-planned missions: “Let’s get one thing straight, dig? I am not your secretary, I am not your sidekick, and the google eyes I occasionally make at you are mostly just an attempt to insert a little excitement into my day. Because, point is, Captain Wilson, you run the high risk of me getting bored. And trust me – you wouldn’t like me when I’m bored.” I want to read Jeremy Whitley’s Misty Knight, the one married to Iron Fist in Secret Wars: Secret Love, forever. But I want this version of her to exist, too.)

Honorable Mentions:

Where Monsters Dwell 5, because I hope, just once in my life, that I can deliver Clemmie’s line: This place is heavenly, and you’re a turd.

What If? Infinity – Dark Reign 1, because the child abuser is clearly wearing a belt AND suspenders, so you just KNOW that guy’s evil. Add fashion crimes to his already heinous behavior.

Unbeatable Squirrel Girl 1, because I do not speak Computer Science but the girls’ attempt to distract a robot with facts is charming enough to make me wish I knew more.

Catch up on previous Picks here!

More from Bam Smack Pow