Fear Itself #7.1: Captain America
Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Butch Guice and Bettie Breitweiser
As someone who loved Ed Brubaker’s Captain America run for the most part I never find it easy…alright, I’m not going to open this up with a lie. His run was great up until a very clear point where the book just went completely unimportant and it just turned into a chore to read. Hell, I can pinpoint that moment in time as Captain America Reborn which just made the entire book fall into holding pattern awaiting the return of Steve. But there was a time when Bucky, both as the Winter Soldier and Bucky Cap, was the reason the book was so great. And then Bucky died in Fear Itself, and he was not mourned at all by anyone save for Black Widow.
There will be spoilers in this review, big ones, tremendous ones, ones that I actually to consider bigger spoilers than anything that happened in Fear Itself. They can not be avoided when talking about this issue, so I’m not going to cleverly talk around them.
You have been warned.
This issue has an interesting pacing, opening up with Steve and Fury before flashing back to Bucky being airlifted out from the fight with Sin. And here’s where the spoilers begin…Buck wasn’t dead. Now, he was freaking close to it, but he wasn’t quite there yet. This is important to keep in mind. As is the fact that when Steve Rogers hears about it his first instinct is to beat the piss out of Nick Fury. This is also my favorite part of what is really a good issue, as I’ve never seen someone deserve to get the shield thrown at their face more in less time. The issue, from there, is about how Fury faked Bucky’s death, and how he saved his life.
And it makes for a GREAT read. Far and away the best thing to be tacked into Fear Itself so far. It has the feel of Brubaker’s Captain America run, and it’s a story about Nick Fury and the Black Widow trying to save her boyfriends life, while at the same time making him a hero in death. There is plenty of sacrifice, and more than a few lies told. Nick Fury does what he does best, and Steve Rogers isn’t pleased…and that’s why this is the best written Steve in a while. He’s not mad that they saved Buck’s life, how could he be? He loves his former partner, he’d do anything for him…wow, that could totally be taken the wrong way by an immature audience. He just isn’t happy with the how; the fact that they faked his death, the fact that they lied to him, the fact that they didn’t tell him first. He’s pissed because he wanted to be there and to help, and not find out a few hours before delivering Buck’s eulogy.
Butch Guice was one of the regular artists for Captain America during Bucky’s time as Cap, and he’s the artist of the upcoming book spinning out of this issue, so his presence is a fitting one. It’s gritty and real, and while there aren’t a ton of costumes, there doesn’t need to be. The fight between Steve and Fury is freaking awesome, and it’s unique in that it comes across clearly as a brawl instead of some sort of super hero fight, even the shield is downplayed for most of it. Black Widow’s pain is evident on her face in every panel, from beginning to mourn Bucky as he died, to the guilt of having to fake it during Fear Itself, and even the relief you see when he wakes up all the way until the mention of Steve brings it back. Great facial work.
Captain America hadn’t been quite the same book since Steve came back, and while his recently relaunched solo series has been a good return to the character, Bucky was someone Marvel apparently had cut off at the knees. He had a lot of build, became Captain America, and fans actually took to him in the role as a replacement. Then a Captain America movie comes out, Steve gets a new ongoing, and Buck was killed in a throwaway death in Fear Itself that has been the subject of pure mockery on my part for MONTHS. It was insulting. This issue represents Buck getting one more chance to shine as a character, and his return was brilliantly handled and leaps and bounds better than his death.
I’m not long pissed that people aren’t talking about him being dead, and I can’t wait for the Winter Soldier ongoing series next year.
Tags: Bucky, Butch Guice, Captain America, Ed Brubaker, Fear Itself, Nick Fury, Reviews, Winter Soldier