REVIEW: ‘The United States of Captain America,’ Issue #1

Reading Time: 3 minutes

The United States of Captain America #1 - But Why Tho

The United States of Captain America #1 is written by Christopher Cantwell, illustrated by Dale Eaglesham, colored by Matt Milla and lettered by VC’s Joe Caramagna. It also contains a backup story written by Josh Trujillo and illustrated by Jan Bazaldua, with Milla and Caramagna providing colors and letters. The issue is published by Marvel Comics.

The main story, “You Brought Two Too Many,” sees Steve Rogers attacked by a superhuman being in Captain America-esque gear who steals his shield. With the help of his longtime partner Sam Wilson, who himself was once Captain America, Rogers embarks on a road trip to get his shield back. Along the way, Rogers learns that his example has inspired a network of people across the United States to take up the mantle of Captain America, including teenager Aaron Fischer. “Tracks” digs deeper into Aaron’s backstory, revealing the reasons he decided to become a Captain after encountering a detention camp formed by the conglomerate Roxxon.

This series debuts on the 80th anniversary of Captain America’s creation, and also comes on the heels of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier which featured a similar story surrounding the legacy of Captain America and how it can either endure or be twisted into something horrific. I’ve always said that the thing that makes Steve Rogers endearing is that he stands for the ideals of America first and foremost—a stance that has caused him to give up his mantle or even defy the government multiple times. Cantwell approaches Rogers in the same way that he did Iron Man, drilling deep down into the character’s core. This leads to a thoughtful examination of one of Rogers’ most famous quotes: “I’m loyal to nothing except the dream.” Here, you learn what Steve Rogers’ dream is and it’s one that’s befitting of his character.

Cantwell’s script also wastes no time in setting up the series’ main conflict, as well as the concept of the Captain America network. The former plot point is definitely interesting enough, but the latter looks like it’ll serve the main plot of the series, as well as serving as a metacommentary on how superhero fandoms often put their own twists on legendary characters. The debut of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse led to the “Spidersona” phenomenon, where multiple fans put their own twist on the web-slinger. Here, various characters such as Aaron have their own costumes and shields that envoke the Sentinel of Liberty as well as their own creative flair. Captain America means different things to different people, and this series looks to explore that.

Cantwell is joined by Eaglesham on art duties, who provides simple yet striking designs and action sequences.  The battle between Rogers and the Shield Thief is depicted in a series of panels that become haphazardly loose while the duo crash through the walls of Rogers’ house (a trait that also applies to Caramagna’s lettering), or when Rogers uses his shield. And in a move that’s sure to please fans of Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Rogers is shown donning his dark blue stealth suit. Eaglesham’s finest hour in the title involves a runaway train that Cap manages to stop when the Shield Thief derails it, showing off his Super Soldier abilities in the process.

The issue also takes its time to explore Aaron’s character in “Tracks.” Trujillo writes Aaron as feeling a little lost in the world due to being a runaway, yet still inspired to do good by Sam Wilson’s example. Bazaldua also draws the creation of Aaron’s Captain America costume in a surprisingly moving montage, as he rips up old clothes for his mask and paints his own shield. Combined with Milla’s lush colors, this makes for a striking image when Aaron leaps at a barrage of Roxxon troopers ready to do battle. In this way, he unknowingly embodies Steve Rogers. Even before he became a Super Soldier, Rogers was willing to do the right thing. And even though he’s just a kid, Aaron wants to do the right thing as well.

The United States of Captain America #1 serves as a celebration of the legacy of Captain America by introducing new heroes and kicking off a mystery/road trip that looks to fuel the series. I’m eager to see the other members of the Captain America Network and more of Rogers and Wilson’s partnership, as they have one of the best friendships in the Marvel Universe.

The United States of Captain America #1 is available wherever comics are sold.

The United States of Captain America #1
4.5

TL;DR

The United States of Captain America #1 serves as a celebration of the legacy of Captain America by introducing new heroes and kicking off a mystery/road trip that looks to fuel the series. I’m eager to see the other members of the Captain America Network and more of Rogers and Wilson’s partnership, as they have one of the best friendships in the Marvel Universe.