Sam Wilson’s second chance as the high-flying Captain America is off to a fantastic action-packed gorgeously crafted beginning as Marvel keeps their new Captain America era rolling along. There is so much to appreciate and dig into within this issue as it just sets the tone in a perfect and hard-hitting way, promising a wonderful journey ahead.
Captain America is back, and black again! A whole new era for the star-spangled Avengers began in April with Captain America #0 (check out the dual reviews here and here) and the new era continues with the first issue of Sam Wilson’s series Captain America: Symbol of Truth which gives the former Falcon back the shield on an ongoing basis for the first time since 2017’s Secret Empire event.
For a moment let’s turn the clock back to 2014 when Steve Rogers lost his super-soldier formula and got instantly turned into an old man who could no longer carry the shield as he had done for so many years. At that moment there was a giant excitement for many like myself when Sam Wilson was rightfully tapped to take over as Captain America, a black man wearing the symbol and standing as the champion for this conflicted nation. Not only was he Captain America but he was the leader of the Avengers and took the top-tier hero spot that he had always deserved.
Unfortunately, that first go-around left a lot to be desired as Sam’s solo book was written by a white man who tried to tackle the sorts of stories that should come from a black Captain America, but it wasn’t working. At the same time, it wasn’t long before Steve was deaged and had his own book and was revealed to be Hydra/a Nazi and by the end of Secret Empire, Sam gave up the shield to Steve and went back to being Falcon before being basically brushed into character limbo with minor cameos until recently.
With just one issue so far it seems pretty safe to say that Tochi Onyebuchi, R.B. Silva, Jesus Aburtov, and Joe Caramagna have something special and something that will very much be the sort of Sam Wilson book that we’ve been needing for so many years.
There will definitely be politics, especially racial politics, that will play a part in this series (Onyebuchi is a former civil rights lawyer after all) but there is no “Is Sam actually Cap” to battle here like before. There is no doubt he is Captain America, right alongside Steve who is also Captain America and has his own book. We get right down to business in this issue with an action-packed train sequence that is just utterly fantastic. Sam and Joaquin Torres, the current Falcon, are a perfect team/duo, and having Misty Knight playing a part in the book is always a plus.
Also, there was a ton of really solid fun and insightful dialogue to be found here, as Onyebuchi writes all that well and is so good at capturing these characters. It also bears mentioning that what works great in this issue is that there isn’t some big bold normal villain taking up space in the issue as the action and the character’s moments are given all the space to breathe before at the very end antagonists are revealed.
It’s very clear that Marvel is fully behind this book succeeding because they turned to Silva to do the art, who is one of the hottest artists around right now after playing a massive role in the giant X-Men relaunch with Powers of X back in 2019 followed by a lot of other really great work. Paired with Aburtov means we are getting a truly stunningly gorgeous book for Captain America right now. Their action scenes were just so smooth and slick and detailed with such bright colors with all the right amount of darker tones when needed. Not only that, but they also handled the more character-heavy moments so well.
We see that perfectly in the flashback scenes with Sam and Misty as they go back and forth about their lives growing up in Harlem and their roles in the superhero world and chatting atop a building. There is tons of depth in the pages that bring the city to such vivid life, but the facial expressions and emotional work are top-notch. That shot of the sun going down and Misty leaping away off the building, both of them caught fully in the shadows, is just chef kiss gif worthy.
Scenes of folks chatting can be tough in a medium that focuses so heavily on action, but they make it work. Caramagna plays a role in that with his veteran lettering magical touch, making sure that the worlds flow and finding all the ways to allow their personalities or energy to shine through even more. A half-action issue also means tons of opportunity for a lot of fun colorful and bold SFX and we sure get a whole ton of them here, which is a delight.
There was a point in time where seeing that Deadpool was going to be popping up would have caused me to unleash a groan, that period in time where the cash grabbiness around the character became too much that they wore out his welcome (when he had like fifty books), but not here. Not with what this team accomplished already, and also this is a plot that makes perfect sense to bring the merc with a mouth into. We’re in for some really great stuff.
Captain America: Symbol of Truth #1 is now available from Marvel Comics.