Captain America: Sam Wilson #2
Writer: Nick Spencer
Artist: Daniel Acuña
Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Publisher: Marvel Comics
The adventures of the all-new Star Spangled Avenger take a breather for the second issue and it’s all the better for it. We get what’s essentially Part 2 to “Sam on a Plane” to fill in the blanks of what exactly happened between Sam, Steve, and S.H.I.E.L.D six months ago and what it means for the two long time allies. Sam continues to give the “dudebros” on the flight the rundown of the aftermath of Steve intervening to help arrest Sam and all the details are sure to turn a few heads to say the least. Six months ago, in a very real word like event, files from S.H.I.E.L.D get leaked to the public and even in the All-New All-Different Universe, the organization has secrets that are a mile wide. Maria Hill does great on damage control and raises the question: Should a organization use absolute power to simply…erase the bad things with a blink of an eye? The sequence plays out very closely to the end of the Captain America Winter Soldier film with the entire world reacting to the ramifications of what S.H.I.E.L.D had at their disposal and how they’ll move forward now that their dirty laundry is in the air.
It’s at this point the story solidifies itself as a high-flying political thriller amidst Daniel Acuña’s blacks, greys, and blues to tell what Steve thinks, and it calls on the history they both have together. Becoming the new Captain America didn’t come with a “rule book”, and he believes wholeheartedly in his friend even with the political firestorm Sam has started. The comic starts to get closer to the present with Sam brushing off his old friend with a hilarious “bird call”, and there are more surprising twists on both the plane ride and Sam’s continuing mission with the Sons of the Serpent. Spencer shows a meeting with a villain from Rick Remender’s run, and it’s here readers see some phenomenal grounded colors for a quick witted battle, doubled down with impactful insight on how superheroes operate in general. While heroes mask themselves as saviors that can do any and everything for the people that need saving, they can also lie and sell false hopes hoping for either the situation can sit on the back burner or survive long enough to make it to the next day. It’s a real double edged sword.
The issue closes with the reveal of the wedge between Steve and Sam, and Spencer writes great narration for Sam showing just how things can play out for different types of people in the United States as a whole. Readers are treated to both sides of the same coin where Sam narrates how Steve and his loyalty to the country is vastly different from his. “In his heart, believes that when the chips are down, when its values are at stake–his country will do what’s right. And me? In my heart? I can only hope it will.” This piece of narration shows how the real world plays out just as well in the Marvel Universe.
As a African-American hero, Sam deals with the history of protests and hardships everyday people of color are subjugated to but, given his newly filled role he sees things the same just at a elevated peak. While Steve can more or less sit back with his “blind faith” and put his all in how he thinks the nation will handle things, Sam has a more nuanced view of American politics. It’s a great ending with a more cheerful and hopeful final page from Acuña. Sam Wilson is quickly expanding his own corner of the Marvel universe that Spencer and Acuña are carving out. Sam Wilson: Captain America is the Marvel title that deserves to be read, it’s telling the story that people need right now. It’s political driven, modern, and has art that will make you want to hang each page as a series of paintings.