CAPTAIN AMERICA / BATMAN [Reviews]: Independence Knight.
Hail Hydra no longer! The many headed empire has crumbled and Captain America must defend his own honor while serving a country that no longer believes in.. him. The acclaimed author Ta-Nehisi Coates (Black Panther) teams up with renowned artist Leinil Francis Yu to tell of a postmodern Cap. A hero forever out of time, in a world he doesn’t recognize, his legacy tarnished by the machinations of his archenemy, while a new superhuman nemesis rises from Hydra’s ashes.
Coates is an interesting choice for Marvel’s great American hero, but Captain America has always represented an interesting mix of ideals versus politics. After the thankful retcon of Hydra Cap, this represents an opportunity for a Captain for a nation more divided and complex than ever, which suits the award winning commentator’s style. Yu’s art is a sober realism, no bright colors in this grim new world and Captain America’s even grimmer countenance and square jawed determination. 4/5 Bibles.
If there was ever a comic book that I’m glad I kept away from the spoilers, it’s this: one of those issues where there is so much to talk about that it’s almost too much for the average person to take on; but never fear, I am not your average critic and read this issue twice and still have to go back over all the artwork. Tom King crafts a Batman issue that is both heart-warming and heart-breaking, with simultaneous plots to boot. Plot A has Bruce Wayne and Selina Kyle getting ready for their wedding from sun up to sun down, peppered with Mikel Janín’s exceptional sketches. There are some great inside jokes including taking us back to Porky’s bar. My favorite moments include Bruce making the man who’s always been in Bruce’s corner — Alfred — the best man. Selina breaks out her Maid of Honor who just happens to do what the Joker couldn’t: plant doubt in her mind, which pays off so good at the end of the issue.
Of course, you can’t have a big issue without something to springboard off of. Plot B has The Bat and The Cat’s wedding letters to each other illustrated by many of — if not all of! — the very best out there: José Luis Garcia-Lopez, Jason Fabok, Frank Miller, Lee Bermejo, Neal Adams, Tony S. Daniel, Amanda Conner, Rafael Albuquerque, Andy Kubert, Tim Sale, Paul Pope, Mitch Gerads, Clay Mann, Ty Templeton, Joëlle Jones, David Finch, Jim Lee, Scott Williams, Alex Sinclair, Greg Capullo, and, my personal three favorites for this issue, Lee Weeks, Becky Cloonan, and Rafael Albuquerque.
You know that Batman and Catwoman can’t have a happy ending just yet, but this issue was fantastic. It also asks a fantastic question, can Bruce Wayne be happy and still be Batman? Catwoman gets told for the second time that “no, he can’t” while Alfred tells Bruce that he needs to find some happiness or else he won’t be able to continue on much longer. And unlike a certain other “wedding event” that happened over at Marvel, this one has an ending that isn’t out of right field and is still compelling. 4.75/5 Batarangin’ Bibles.