The Dream Lives: Reviewing ‘Captain America: Symbol Of Truth’ #11
by Scott Redmond
It’s the end of the first major story arc for Sam Wilson’s return to being Captain America, as ‘Captain America: Symbol of Truth’ #11 pits him against the foe that has been behind the scenes pulling the strings for the previous ten issues. This a really gorgeous powerful comic book that doesn’t shy away from examining various sides of issues that are very much rooted in real-world ones, yet still remaining true to its superhero comic book roots.
At last, Captain America and the White Wolfe face off in a battle that will determine the fate of so many. It’s a meeting that has been simmering through ten issues of this series so far, and it’s a fight that does not disappoint in the slightest.
This is one hundred percent an action-packed drag-out brawl-type issue, with emotions running high on all sides, and it works perfectly. We easily can feel the tension and the stakes, as we cheer on Sam Wilson to be able to defeat his foe and avenge the wrong committed against not only the people of Mohannda, but the personal strike against Sam’s partner Joaquin Torres/Falcon. What makes this all work out even better is the fact that Tochi Onyebuchi made sure to really build up to this moment at a slow yet not too-slow pace.
These characters spent no time on the same page together and didn’t even trade barbs or words across a video screen or anything else before this. We watched as White Wolf moved chess pieces from far away and put Sam and Joaquin — and others — through the wringer without getting his hands dirty in the process. So, when he arrives on the scene, all that tension and frustration that has been building over the last year just bursts out of Sam in a way that is satisfying for the character and reader alike. Onyebuchi fully understands not only his characters but their motivations, their place in the Marvel world, and how to maximize all of that in order to tell a compelling story that isn’t simple or easy in any fashion.
The previous issue, where Sam had to defeat and take down a compromised and dangerous Falcon, adds to how hard this issue hits. Some would have strung that out further and had that simmering in Sam for more issues, but Onyebuchi completely understands how to strike while the iron is hot and does not risk losing that heat. There are tons more stuff to come with the upcoming Captain America: Cold War event, which ties this title into its sibling series, Captain America: Sentinel Of Liberty, but this issue very neatly puts a semi-bow on everything that has come before to leave the title in a good spot to move onto what is next.
I’m all for long-form comic book stories but, in my opinion, they are done best when they are done this way: a lot of great setup wrapped around character and action moments with occasional steppingstone resolutions that allow a story to feel like it’s going somewhere, rather than just constant building that takes forever to reach any sort of roller coaster crest situation. The past two issues saw us reach that roller coaster peak and drop down, so now we’re in the valley and racing toward the next drop.
Give R.B. Silva anything to draw and it’s going to not only be gorgeous, but it will feel massive, like an event. Everything just flows and has dynamic energy bursting out of the seams, characters moving through the panels like poetry in motion or dancers gracefully floating across a stage. I could probably dig up plenty of other analogies, but you likely get the point. Choices are made in how to frame the interactions of characters that help build up the tension and really hammer home how brutal, swift, and powerful this fight is between men on opposing sides of everything.
Just looking at the blows that are landed, you feel them. There is depth, detail, and weight to every single panel and page to the point where it feels like we could just blink and would be inside this world right there in the middle of the battle as it’s going down. Even with one of the men masked, we can sense the emotion that is running through them as it’s written clear as day in the facial expressions and body language that we can see as well as the way they move and strike. Especially thanks to the well-crafted close-ups that dominate most of the pages.
Pairing this gorgeous flowing artwork with Jesus Aburtov’s colors just takes it all to a whole other level. There is fire that is framing much of this fight, as Mohannda is very much ablaze, and the bright orange and red colors provide a vivid backdrop to create a striking atmosphere and tone to this fight. As I noted in the previous review, the fire also helps frame things because of the lighting effect that it creates that Aburtov integrates into every single panel, casting bright light onto everything happening as parts of the fire and the night sky provide the shadows and darkness to stand opposite of that light.
There are some truly breathtaking panel choices, such as framing a panel within the shape of SFX, and tremendous use of white space that just does so much for these pages. Pure whiteness being used as a framing device is something that I dig so much in scenes such as these because it’s striking and really captures the attention swiftly.
While this is an action-heavy issue, there is still plenty of words to be shared between foes and Joe Caramagna makes sure they all hit. We don’t just see the emotions as I mentioned above but we feel and hear them in what the characters are saying, trading barbs and thoughts as they try to defeat one another through the streets of Mohannda. It would be easy to just drop some of the words from Captain America in one or two balloons on a select panel, but Caramagna makes sure that they are spread out and placed where they will flow best around the artwork and deliver the biggest impact.
The moment Sam is calling out White Wolf while beating him down, declaring that he’ll never win, it’s delivered panel by panel, balloon by balloon, and showcased around such powerful artwork moments that it sends a shiver down my spine. This is freaking Captain America right here! That “I can do this all day” energy, but with a whole different vibe because Sam Wilson is his own man and has that same power and tenacity within his personality. It’s heard and felt on every single page whether he speaks or not, but most especially when he speaks and that personality shines through the words.
Captain America: Symbol of Truth #11 is now available from Marvel Comics.