21st Jun2022

‘Captain America: Sentinel of Liberty #1’ Review

by Dean Fuller

Written by Jackson Lanzing, Collin Kelly | Art by Carmen Carnero | Published by Marvel Comics

Been a while since I last checked in on a Captain America book, mainly because there’s so much other stuff going on comics-wise Cap’s become old news. No new Captain America movie/tv stuff (not including Sam Wilson of course) means Marvel’s been putting most of its efforts elsewhere. This, then, was a welcome sight. A shiny new number one, a shiny new creative team, and the promise of a shiny new approach (mind you, when has a number one issue NOT been a brand-new approach. Marketing decree this.) Throw in some fantastic covers for this launch issue, and it was an easy sell for me. An easy sell to pick up of course, but the proof is always in the pudding.

Let’s take a look.

We open in quite the attention-grabbing way. First, a 12-panel page showing the forging of Cap’s shield from 1941, which raises a question or two, followed by a glorious 2-page spread by Carnero using the shield to tell Cap’s background, history and values. That’s a poster right there on anyone’s wall, it’s that good. We drop in on Steve Rogers, now wanting to reconnect with the people he is supposed to represent. He’s spent so long being the symbol, that he’s begun to lose touch with the man. So, no more living in top secret bases, now back to living in a small apartment in an average Lower East Side block in Manhattan. Not just any crappy apartment though, it’s the one in which Steve grew up. If everyone knew, it would be the Captain America Museum, rather than what it is. For Steve, though, it’s the place that made him.

Getting back to basics means mixing with the people too of course, and Carnero throws in another fantastic 2-page spread, showing how Steve goes jogging with his shield, as everyone shouldn’t see him as the superhero, but as them able to hold the shield. Fab stuff. Steve even goes back to Community College for, what else, an art course. As sincere as Steve is of course, he is one of the world’s greatest heroes, and it’s not long before some old colleagues draw him into something that seems to be planned for July 4th. Something bad. Time to get into costume, and time to call Bucky.

The ‘something planned’ seems to be very close to home. It looks like Cap’s old WWII ally The Destroyer is back, but that’s impossible. He was Brian Falsworth, and he’s been dead since 1953. This guy must be an imposter, and Steve doesn’t like it when people abuse his friend’s memories. A good old punch-up ensues, but oddly it’s what’s being said that hits harder than the punches thrown. Steve wins, but the beaten man leaves a cryptic message before he sort of self-destructs. He warns Steve his shield isn’t what he thinks it is, and he will soon find out why. Hmmm. Even more mysteriously, Bucky seems to know a lot more than he was letting on. So, who is pulling the strings? What is The Century Game? What the heck is going on?

I really enjoyed this. It was pretty much the perfect first issue. It introduced the status quo, reintroduced the character, and then proceeded to turn everything on its head with a nod to both the past and to the future. The issue read as a great stand alone but also opened up a whole new set of questions and plot points. The focus on the shield was also a nice touch. That great writing was complemented by some absolutely gorgeous artwork. I love clean lines and straightforward layouts, so this was perfect for me, with a generous sprinkling of double page spreads. Carnero’s art was just sensational throughout. Great creative team on what promises to be a great book.

So, it’s all about the shield. A shield of course can be both physical or mental, and a shield can both protect and attack. I suspect we might get to see all four aspects in the following issues.

This book looks very good indeed.

****½  4.5/5


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