“Winter in America, Part III”
Written by: Ta-Nehisi Coates
Pencils by: Leinil Francis Yu
Inks by: Gerry Alanguilan
The Story So Far: Hydra overthrows the US Government, led by…Steve Rogers? Well, not Steve Rogers. Captain America returned to overthrow Hydra, but the damage is done. People don’t trust Cap anymore. Neither does his government. With his support system dwindling, Cap turns to Wakanda for support and information as a new threat rises from the ashes of Hydra: The Power Elite.
In Alberia, Agent 13 is nearly ambushed by an escort arranged by Thunderbolt Ross, but she thwarts the attempt.
Meanwhile Cap is undercover in the American Midwest, trying to get a feel for who this new threat is. He finds that a company known as Power Enterprises is picking up where Hydra left off, providing jobs and education and health care to those who need it most, forming a base of loyalty built on Hydra’s groundwork.
Steve later confers with T’Challa and Okoye, but they do not have any new information on Power Enterprises. They do, however, locate a Weapon Plus lab beneath a mine in a small town Cap was visiting. Inside is Zeke Stane, who tried to destroy Wakanda (see Coates’ first volume of Black Panther), along with several hundred Nuke clones. Steve Rogers being Steve Rogers, he wants to save the Nuke clones, but Black Panther tells him that there’s no way to do so.
Cap, Panther, and Okoye breach the lab and fight a literal horde of Nuke clones. In the scuffle, Cap is stabbed before a virus uploaded into the lab kills all the Nuke clones. Okoye sees something on a screen and runs to tell Steve that Sharon Carter is in danger.
The issue ends as Sharon is interrogating the last surviving ambusher from the beginning of the issue. She is interrupted by a hooded figure, who kills the ambusher by draining his life force. The hooded stranger is revealed to be Viper? Maybe? Or it might be Selene. Not sure. Guess we will find out next issue!
Relevant storyline: A Captain America that no one believes in is a pretty powerful analogy for times that are definitely trying for the United States. Cap is no stranger to political messages, though, from punching out Hitler to responding to the September 11th terrorist attacks on the US, Steve Rogers has remained an everyman superhero. A man for the people. And so he still is. For ALL the people.
Intrigue: Coates deftly weaves a web as the reader hangs on for the ride. Much like his previous and current runs on Black Panther, there’s a lot of guessing to be had, and ultimately it will all pay off.
The Art: The always amazing Leinil Yu turns in yet another solid issue here. I wasn’t always a fan. There was a time (right around Superman: Birthright) that I would cringe at the sight of Yu’s name on a cover. I got over that, quickly, with his run on Ultimate Wolverine vs Hulk, which, while a sub-par—and often delayed—story, housed some of Yu’s best work. Here, some 10 years after the end of that series, he is turning in work even better than his mid-2000’s art.
What Doesn’t Work:
Nothing. This one’s is one of my favorite books on the stands right now. It’s up there with Brubaker’s run on Cap already, and Coates’ run is only three issues in so far. Political intrigue, prescient issues, and a Captain America that MEANS something. I’m all in on this title.