A Friend Twice Fallen: Reviewing ‘Captain America: Symbol Of Truth’ #10
by Scott Redmond
‘Captain America: Symbol Of Truth’ #10 turns all the emotions dials to their maximum level as this well-crafted story continues to build towards the impending meeting and confrontation between the title character and the White Wolfs. This series is stunningly gorgeous and so well crafted from top to bottom, it’s a true treat to engage with.
The war between Captain America and the White Wolf has hit a highly emotional breaking point for the star-spangled Avenger. Joaquin, Falcon, Sam Wilson’s current partner, has arrived on the battlefield as a nightmarish deadly version of himself thanks to a previous attack by White Wolf. It’s hero versus hero in a truly brutal display that might change Sam forever.
Let’s just get right to it, this is a damn gorgeous comic book. It doesn’t need to be stated that R.B. Silva is a tremendous artist, as his meteoric rise on some huge books over the past few years speaks for itself. Yet, it does need stating because if you just look at this issue it’s pretty clear that your jaw will hit the floor seeing what Silva and colorist Jesus Aburtov have created. They took what could have just been a series of simple panel pages showcasing the fight between these two men and Nomad and turned it into something grander. These pages are chock full of massive energy, they flow and move, as you feel every single impact, making sure that some of the fighting violence just hits so much harder than it might have.
All the panel style choices are top-notch because we get so many close-ups and extreme close-ups that help showcase the emotions of the characters throughout the whole story. Besides these are plenty of depth shots, but what stands out, even more, are the wide full page or massive panel shots that make sure different parts of the fight are right there hitting us as we stare at them. Using the fire to frame and at times create a dangerous backdrop for the action was a smart move. It also adds a glow to everything because Aburtov makes sure to factor that lighting effect into each sequential shot.
By the fifth page, the jaw-dropping begins as one finally sees what type of energy the duo is bringing here. On that page, we have two pretty normal rectangle panels with Cap holding Falcon down (and Redwing attacking) but the third is where the good stuff begins. Everything is drained of color so that all the foreground elements are pure white, the background is pure black, and we see Cap being flung backward by an attack from Falcon that is depicted with a stark red streak connecting the two men. That’s just the start though.
There are so many pages and panels like this where characters are in silhouette against fiery backdrops, panels slash across one another, are arranged crookedly over a full panel of sky fighting, and a final heart-wrenching full page that ends the fight with a boom. There is a weight and depth to the colors that Aburtov adds, which sit in a space in the middle between bright and toned down. There are vivid pops of color with the superheroic-related items (costumes, shield, etc.) right alongside more Earthy realistic tones that are all under that fiery glow. Yet, there is plenty of darkness that still can be found because as I noted the characters are often either silhouetted or masked by the shadows (it is nighttime for them). Every bit of the high tension & emotion that comes from the subject matter is reflected and amplified ten-fold by the choices that Silva and Aburtov make with the art and coloring respectively.
It all hits so hard too here because even with tons of big moments already, we began with a train heist that led into some Latveria and Wakanda excursions, the way that Tochi Onyebuchi has been building this story has been with a sort of slow-build energy incorporated. Not in the sense of stringing out the plot or a mystery slow burn, but in the sense that things have been escalating and building tension-wise since the start and are close to hitting a boiling point (which is seemingly what the upcoming Captain Americas crossover Cold War is about).
Chiefly the thing that has helped with that is the perfect choice to not have Captain America and White Wolf share any space or even really interact with one another yet. Everything White Wolf has done has been from a distance, and Sam’s been on his trail and been caught off guard many times in trying to get to this man.
White Wolf’s whole speech about how he didn’t get lucky that Joaquin changed and came to attack Cap right at this moment, but instead he’s smart and studies his prey, just was so good. This is a situation where Onyebuchi has shown us why this villain (who isn’t new but likely isn’t familiar to many, including me before this series) is a threat to Captain America in a very logical built-up way rather than just having him come in and smash stuff up to appear superior. Nothing wrong with that other story tactic, which usually would have a villain come beat around the hero/team/their supporting cast to prove they are badass, but this way is just a stronger path to take more often than not.
We’re given a Captain America here that is up against the ropes but keeps going because he wants to save his friend, even if he has to hurt him to stop him and get him back. Despite what Joaquin is stating in his changed state, Sam cares for his partner and we can see and feel that here. At the very end, we see Sam at such a heartbreaking moment when he’s speaking about how willing he is to cross a particular line in order to get justice for his fallen friend and partner. Sam Wilson is 100% Captain America, and we see that so hard at this moment as he reaches this point full of hope and care that has been dashed out of him and he’s ready to do whatever it takes to save lives.
All those emotions as usual are felt through the words that we see on the pages, as Joe Caramagna infuses all the dialogue with the personality and energy that is coming from the characters and situation. Because Caramagna is a veteran master at his craft, all of the lettering that can be found fits so smoothly into so many of those powerful pages and panels mentioned above. It dances through the panels in a way that makes perfect sense and actually helps lead the eyes through the panel progression in many cases which is just so darn cool.
In many ways, this issue has a lot of horror energy to it since Falcon and Redwing have turned somewhat vampiric, and Caramagna taps into that. Having Falcon’s speech bubbles and speech font become more jagged and sharp when he’s transformed, compared to the more normal style we see when he briefly comes out of it, really carries that energy through the whole encounter. It reminds us that he’s different now and a danger, as the shape of his words feels very dangerous right on sight.
Captain America: Symbol of Truth #10 is now available from Marvel Comics.