[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
Aleksander Lukin is back from the dead thanks to the actions of his wife, Alexa. Unfortunately, Aleksander didn’t come back alone. He is still bound to the Red Skull, but Alexa knows this. We travel back to the origins of her current plans. Alexa feels that all her chances for glory, as well as those of Russia, have been foiled by the U.S. and Captain America in particular. We learn how she brought Aleksander back, why she recruited Selene, and how she plans to bring down Captain America.
Captain America #6 aims to elaborate further on the character of Alexa Lukin and why she is challenging Captain America. It also, intentionally or otherwise, verifies that this is a story constructed in the shadows of the current paranoia about Russian interference in the United States.
This is a bit of a **SPOILER, but friggin’ Grigory Rasputin, is in this comic as a mentor of Alexa Lukin. Fun fact, it is canon that he is an ancestor to Colossus and Magik.
In any case, I struggle to Alexa all that compelling a rogue. She is driven and clever, but she’s also being used as a conduit to bring Aleksander back. I don’t think we needed Aleksander Lukin back. He was a good villain, but his death was satisfying and closed the book on his story well.
The comic is self-conscious about the trope of the grieving widow bringing back the archvillain and/or becoming the archvillain and goes a long way to make Alexa autonomous and capable. It does accomplish this goal, but it still doesn’t hide the sense that this character was designed from the ground up to bring Aleksander Lukin back from the grave.
Cap is barely in this comic, which is a shame. Ta-Nehisi Coates has proven himself already to be an excellent scribe for Steve Rogers, and I’d much rather be reading straight Cap material than this competent but uninteresting expansion on a villain with whom I’m already losing interest.
Leinil Francis Yu’s artwork is still great, even if I can’t say that this particular issue is all that visually interesting in most parts. There is something to be said about how terrifying a visage he gives the Red Skull (even by Red Skull standards), but that face only shows up once. The remainder of the book is mostly Alexa Lukin glowering at people. Gerry Alanguilan and Sunny Gho provide good inking and color art respectively, but, again, there’s not much going on in this comic for them to render. The coloring is really atmospheric, though.
Captain America #6 is a fairly weak issue. Alexa Lukin hasn’t grabbed me as a villain yet, Aleksander Lukin didn’t need to be resurrected, and I actually did laugh in Rasputin showed up. The story is competently constructed, but it doesn’t give much to engage the reader. The same can be said for the art, as Yu, Alanguilan, and Gho didn’t have much of interest to render this issue. I can recommend it if you’ve been engaged by the “Winter in America” story, but this would be a dull jumping-on point for a new reader.
Captain America #6 comes to us from writer Ta-Nehisi Coates, artist Leinil Francis Yu, inker Gerry Alanguilan, color artist Sunny Gho, letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna, cover artist Alex Ross, and variant cover artists Marko Djurdjevic and Butch Guice with Frank D’Armata.