Captain America: Sam Wilson # 1 (Long.Live.Cap. Indeed.)
Marvel's Secret Wars (2015) eight issue multiverse changing series is wrapping up and they have started dropping some the post-crisis titles: Spiderman, Ironman, Spider-Gwen and of course Cap . . . which brings us together today!
I love Captain America. But, growing up, Spiderman was my hero for myriad reasons, all of which mirrored my own life. He was raised by elderly relatives, they were poor, he was a little too smart for his own good, tragedy forged his life, and his powers did not define him, but he understood that with great power comes great responsibility. Plus, as a child it was easy to image myself under that mask. But as I got older, Cap really appealed to me and still does to this day (Exhibit A: I'm currently sipping coffee from my Captain America mug -- Steve Rogers, as they don't have Sam Wilson yet...but one day. A larger blog article comes later about my love of Cap).
When it first happened, I was psyched to have Sam Wilson take on the mantel of Captain America. I was entrenched in multiple Facebook debates with friends (some now ex-FB friends, as a lot of comments focused on "why can't they just make a new black hero or a new female (Thor) instead of taking one of ours." Those were were fun threads that I'd rather not engage with on a regular basis. A glimmer of hope flashed before me when I saw that the All New, All Different Marvel kept a number of characters that spoke to diversity and tried to slowly alter the very white male comic history.
In honor of that great Marvel move, my plan is to give my humble review for each issue of the new Cap! First of all, I must acknowledge the team that brought us this tight new title Nick Spencer and Daniel Acuna. Serious kudos.
The story starts in media res, which is a great trick for grabbing readers' attentions, as the entire universe kicks up eight months after Secret Wars (which has not ended yet and that means spoilers are potentially ahead, but I will try to avoid them for this review, at least. Read at your own risk, True Believers).
The story shows the struggle that Sam is having in living in the shadow of Steve, trying to live up to the legacy of the man that came before him and honor his memory, while at the same time being the good man that he is and helping those that fall through the cracks or ignored by society. The world is in need and he takes a stand that Cap rarely has--to definitive a moral stance and not attempt to stay above it all. The action has not gone over well (even in the real world), straining a number of his relationships, putting him at odds with old friends and basically become a non-profit Heroes for Hire (trademark) to help the people.
His current team is Misty Knight and D-Man (awww . . . D-Man). D-Man has had a very troubled past. I recently finished reading The Pulse (the "sequel" to Alias: Jessica Jones - an amazing read BTW), and had forgotten about him. It is nice to see him back in action. He is really a beacon of a superhero, giving up everything to help the homeless, living among them and eventually falling prey to mental health issues. Misty Knight is just awesome and her presence adds to the Heroes for Hire vibe.
The tone of the book is steeped in our reality, facing the problems people encounter on a regular basis, and issues that speak to me as a black man. Every battle costs "resources" and it's important to decide which battles are worth the cost. My spirit soared to read Cap say that every battle is worth the cost as long as its helps someone.
I loved this book and can't wait to see Issue 2. Nick and Daniel, if you need a fanboy to shout your praise (or write) let me know. This book has the potential to aid in continuing a very real conversation that is desperately needed in society by seeding ideas in the current and next generations.