Review by: TheDudeVonDoom

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Avg Rating: 3.9
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Size: pages
Price: 2.99

Issue 600 is coming up soon, folks. Amidst Thor and Daredevil getting
their pretty covers and three-digit reworkings, Captain America will
soon be getting the same treatment. The issue will also happen oh-so
coincidentally after issue 50 of Brubaker’s current run. It makes me
wonder not so much what they’ll discuss in two single issues that will
lead to the big one, but rather why Brubaker doesn’t just stretch
things out until a certain issue for marketing reasons. Perhaps it’s
too early to call him on anything like that. Perhaps that’s been his
plan all along. The point is this: Brubaker doesn’t so much take his
time with Captain America as he does have an excellent sense of timing.

Throughout this 50-issue spanning story, Bru has made sure that the
lengthy ride is packed with plenty of excitement and explosions and
expletives. For the most part, these keep the reader – or at least me –
plenty entertained while on my voyage of loss, coming of age, and
redemption. This method is magnified in the final issue of the “Old
Friends and Enemies” arc, with Barnes, Chin, and their respective
accomplices have a final standoff over the body of Jim Hammond. The
issue starts right off the cusp of issue 47, with Namor being burned by
his buddy Jim. What happens is something out of any feature
espionage/spy film worth its salt, with action and an ending that are
cinematic and satisfying.

The interactions between characters seem appropriately corny – i.e. the
secretive, mad Chinese scientist and his assassin assistant – and at
best real. Brubaker has a real knack for the Invaders, it seems; he
knows just how Namor should be like amongst friends as well as enemies
(i.e. “ants”). The trade-offs between Natasha and James roll off
smoothly, echoing the tragic romance that Bru conducts in Criminal and
the like.

The art is a mixed bag with a familiar mask. The newest member of Cap’s
art squad, Butch Guice, manages to gracefully and skillfully balance
the styles of [Luke] Ross and Epting that have created a distinct style
of the/a Captain America book. And once again, D’Armata makes sure that
the untrained eye cannot spot any obvious contrasts between artists,
maintaining the book’s solidarity.

I can see why someone could write this arc off as unimportant or
superfluous. To do that though would be to undermine the struggles and
endeavors that Barnes and all of those who serve(d) under Steve Rogers’
banner have undergone before, during and after his death. If you’ve
been on this ship since the early issues, there’s no point in going
overboard now.

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 4 - Very Good

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