A Rock And A Hard Place: Reviewing ‘Captain America: Symbol Of Truth’ #8
by Scott Redmond
‘Captain America: Symbol Of Truth’ #8 further complicates the situation that Sam Wilson finds himself in the middle of, giving us a clear view of what effect both his and the White Wolf’s actions are having around the world. A solid series tackling the harsh realities that face someone like Captain America head-on, while wrapping them into a Marvel Universe-style context.
Things have been rough since Sam Wilson picked up the star-spangled shield and mantle once again alongside Steve Rogers. White Wolf has been ten steps ahead of the hero, putting him and his new unwanted partner Nomad right into the thick of a bloody dictatorial regime change.
There are many things that are just working for this series, chief among them how writer Tochi Onyebuchi hasn’t shied away from the stark reality of the situations Sam has faced. Mohannda might be a fictional nation but the situation it faces, a brutal dictator cutting a bloody swath through the country after dispatching the rightful leader, is something that has happened to various nations and places throughout history even to this very day. In the first arc, we had Sam doing what he thought was best to protect Wakanda and the United States, his actions saving the countries but dooming the refugees that were turned away from Wakanda, and here we get the fallout from that choice.
Within the letter page, Onyebuchi mentions how his plan was to showcase how Sam struggles to embody the best of his country while being quite aware that his country has a bad history of intervening in situations around the world. This shows through the issues, as Sam is trying to save everyone but sometimes his choices might save the actual countries and their leadership but the people are caught in some of the backlashes. Tilda Johnson, formerly the villain known as Nightshade, was such a great choice to bring in for this very reason.
First of all, I’m glad to see the work done with her back in the Nighthawk and Occupy Avengers series from 2016-2017 because her reformation was so solidly done. It also brings another strong Black character into a place of prominence again, especially since she and Sam have a history (furry werewolf history). Wakanda and the paradise that Mohannda was trying to become under their assassinated Prime Minister Scholand offered something to Tilda that she cannot have in the United States, a chance to fully escape her criminal past. Having her and Ian/Nomad, who Sam also isn’t gelling with, to bounce the character off of as he tries to find ways to make things right helps give the story a stronger foundation. It’s not just hero/Captain America is right or does something and learns, we see the consequences of things and we see him having to wrestle with choices and how to save as many people as possible even when that doesn’t go quite right.
Things expected to go smoothly but having a roughness to them within the story is perfectly reflected in the art style of Ig Guara, which embodies both of those traits. It’s a style that has a bit of exaggeration to the figures not worrying fully about accuracy or realism but about capturing the mood and needed imagery. Guara can bring in a ton of detail and depth in many areas but also can pull those back greatly in any given panel allowing the characters or the needed action to take all the focus. This is helped by the fact that a lot of this issue takes place within the very plain and gray underground confines of the resistance base, so the focus can really home in on the emotions/conflict of the characters.
There are some really solid action scenes at the beginning, moving so slick and energetically with some great angles and panel usage, as well as the scenes with Falcon in the middle coming off appropriately creepy at first but then sad as we see him fly off for help. I wish there was more with Joaquin here, but I imagine we’ll be getting far more soon.
As noted, the main scenes are very gray in composure, but Jesus Aburtov makes things still flow with a bit of colorful pop through the issue. With this being a more real war situation, the colors are more toned down compared to say the scenes in Wakanda a few issues ago, with a lot of those aforementioned grays and some browns dominating. It sets the tone of how real and dire the situation of the series is, with the suits of Cap and Nomad standing out greatly from everything around them. Big bold colors that are toned down, but still vibrant stand for the possible hope they bring to this war but also just how out of place they are in this situation. Aburtov does this so well, grounding the setting and keeping the more real elements feeling that way without losing any of the energy that a book within a superhero world will naturally have.
One of the cool things here is that it’s more of a talking issue than an action one, outside of the opening scenes, as there is much to explain and character moments to be had. At the same time, it’s not overly talky, with Joe Caramagna making the dialogue flow through the pages so smoothly without losing anything along the way. There are plenty of little comic book flairs that enhance the feeling on the page from a giant red scream that bursts out of the bubble to Joaquin’s speech bubbles taking on a rugged appearance or the big hard colorful loud SFX found on various pages. It makes it so easy to hear what we’re meant to hear in any moment, perfectly working with what we’re seeing depicted on the page. We see in one panel Sam being made at Ian, and the words ring true to those emotions as they stand side by side.
Captain America: Symbol Of Truth #8 is now available from Marvel Comics.