by Spencer Irwin
This article contains SPOILERS. If you haven’t read the issue yet, proceed at your own risk!
What does Captain America mean to you? Given not only our current political climate, but the outcry Secret Empire and its lead-ins created among many passionate Cap fans, it seems like a more pertinent question than ever. What is it about Steve Rogers that inspires so many? That’s what Mark Waid, Chris Samnee, and Matthew Wilson set out to discover in Captain America 695.
Although the events of Secret Empire are briefly eluded to, Waid and Samnee mostly ignore them for the moment, focusing their debut issue on two different occasions, a decade apart, where Captain America saved a small town from militarized white supremacists. After the first, the town renamed itself “Captain America” and began throwing an annual festival where not just its inhabitants, but folks from all around the country could declare their love for Cap and show how he’s changed their lives.
This issue shows Cap at his best — powerful, humble, brave, compassionate, and resolute — and it’s easy to see how that’s affected people. There’s the old woman who just finds hope in Cap, the man in the image above who was inspired to follow in Cap’s footsteps, the young girl he rescued 10 years ago who has made his rule to “protect those weaker than you” into the foundation of her life. Cap stands for something, and that resonates with fans both in the Marvel Universe and in real life.
Waid and Samnee are clearly two of those fans, and their love for the character is evident not just in the writing, but in Samnee’s iconic take on the character throughout Captain America 695. Samnee also continues to be a master visual storyteller.
This moment is simple, but really stood out to me. By breaking up one movement into four small panels, Samnee is able to effortlessly portray the speed and progression of Cap’s shield, hitting each Rampart soldier only an instant after the last. Later in this same scene, the Rampart soldiers dogpile Cap, with each panel getting smaller and smaller as more goons crush him until Cap suddenly breaks free in a full-page splash. It’s yet another masterful use of space to show movement and power.
Samnee is an artist I’d follow anywhere, and his latest collaboration here with Waid and Wilson looks to be another winner. They’ve got the passion and the style, the message and the action, needed to create compelling Captain America adventures.
The conversation doesn’t stop there. What do you wanna talk about from this issue?