Tag Archives: ta-nehisi coates

Review: Captain America #3

Cap and the Black Panther embark on a daring raid into the heart of the Nuke army, while Sharon Carter takes on a secret mission into danger!

There’s a brilliance in Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ run on Captain America that can be summed up in just one panel in Captain America #3. The issue has Cap heading the “middle America,” a town that was left behind before Hydra. When Hydra took over America, they brought back work, they improved the schools, they brought healthcare with them. These people, are those “left behind” in Marvel’s world reflecting the very real sense of the same in our real world.

Coates doesn’t go for the easy path of labeling them racist, or saying their racist in their association and acceptance of Hydra. Instead, Coates uses the situation to explore American ideals and how these individuals have abandoned them but at the same time they’ve been abandoned as well. These individuals feel they were made a promise in America’s excellence something they haven’t seen, something they lost. And, they were, are, willing to abandon their countrymen to again feel that.

It’s that promise that’s fascinating and Coates with one panel, the one above. “Morning in America” refers to the award winning campaign ad run by Ronald Reagan in 1984 which featured Americans going to work with a calm, optimistic narration. It suggested any improvement to the United States was due to Reagans policies enacted in 1980. The slogan is a metaphor for renewal. Nevermind America had to give up so much for those policies that led to genocide at home (AIDS crisis), an economy that left average Americans behind, and illegal wars throughout. We gave up many of our ideals, Americans helping each other, for Reagan and the Republican promise of “individualism.”

In one panel, Coates sums up the themes and ideas he’s exploring throughout this initial arc. He also shows that Captain America remains a politically centered character and series.

And even with that, Coates still manages to get some fight scenes in that reminds us, it’s still an action comic. It’s possible to mix the political with the entertaining. It’s possible to have the best of both worlds. And it can work and work really well.

Leinil Francis Yu’s art, with ink from Gerry Alanguilan and color by Sunny Gho, is fantastic as expected. There’s a weariness about it all and you can feel the weight and tiredness, the hope and loss, on the shoulders of every character. Yu is able to balance a quiet moment in a bar with an action scene in an evil group’s lair. There’s main street America and underneath an insidiousness of it all. All delivered through the art and tiny details.

The issue, the series so far, is utterly brilliant. It questions where we are as a nation. It questions what it is Captain America is standing up for. It makes us think and debate what America truly is. It also reminds us that we too easily trade our ideals for security and have on too many occasions abandoned those who live in the United States.

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Art: Leinil Francis Yu
Ink: Gerry Alanguilan Color: Sunny Gho Letterer: Joe Caramagna
Story: 10 Art: 10 Overall: 10 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Preview: Black Panther #3

Black Panther #3

(W) Ta-Nehisi Coates (A) Daniel Acuna (CA) In-Hyuk Lee
Rated T
In Shops: Aug 22, 2018
SRP: $3.99

The rebels make their move! On the verge of liberating the Nameless, T’Challa, M’Baku and Nakia hunt for mysterious artifact that promises to turn the tide. What is the M’Kraan Shard? And will T’Challa find its acquisition worth the cost?

Review: Captain America #2

Distrusted by a nation that seems to have lost faith in him, Steve Rogers is a man out of time and out of options! Where can a now-unsanctioned Captain America turn for aid and assistance in order to stem the rise of the cabal of influence brokers known as the Power Elite?

I loved the first issue of Ta-Nehisi CoatesCaptain America. The issue directly addressed the fact that it wasn’t too long ago that Steve Rogers was the face, and leader, of a fascist organization that took over America. It addressed the distrust that exists due to that and the fact he’s a man attempting to find his place in the world again. It questioned what he’s fighting for with echoes of the real world around us.

Captain America #2 is an excellent follow up focusing more on the Nukes running around terrorizing an America that’s putting itself together. They’re the tattered resistance, disgusted that those who stood up against Hydra and fascism are discarded for leadership and praise by those who rolled over so easy. It’s an issue that reminds us that true heroes and true villains are hard to find as they have an actual valid point. It also begs us to question what will happen in our real world once the Orange Cheeto and his Gestapo 2.0 are no longer in charge. Who will feel the same way attempting to take credit for the resistance while those who navigate politics so well slide in to fill the leadership void. These are the themes that Coates seems to be working with and the questions he’s asking the readers. This is a comic that entertains through the amazing action and also has deeper layers left for the reader to ruminate about.

That amazing action is in part due to Leinil Francis Yu’s beautiful art. The action is great giving us sequences worthy of a summer blockbuster of death defying stunts that are in no way realistic but lots of fun. Beyond the action though we get the pain and thoughts going through Rogers head in quieter times where he reflects on the situation. It all looks amazing.

This is a complete package of a comic that has lots of action on the surface and so much more below. While things are still being set up in Coates’ signature style, the ending leaves us questioning what’s next in a “I didn’t see that coming sort of way.” When a soldier and a patriot doesn’t have a country or government that believes in him, who might he turn to? What roads may he walk down? Are there others who better embody his ideals he can fight for? These are all questions we’re about to find answers to in what is an amazing run so far.

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Art: Leinil Francis Yu Cover Art: Alex Ross
Story: 9.0 Art: 9.0 Overall: 9.0 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Captain America #1 Mixes Ripped from the Headlines Relevance with Old School Marvel Action

On 4th of July aka Captain America’s birthday, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu began a new era for Steve Rogers, Bucky Barnes, and Sharon Carter in Captain America #1.  There’s a lot of plates to spin in Coates’ opening storyline from Russia-based vampires interfering in American politics to Cap trying to balance being an inspirational figure while being confronted by a horde of men dressed like Nuke and his relationship with Bucky, Sharon, and the flag on his shield and chest. However, the comic keeps from being overwhelmed by these things by leaning on action with gritty work from Yu, Gerry Alanguilan, and Sunny Gho. The clean art and lantern jaws of Chris Samnee’s run are replaced by pained face, sharp edges, and a muted, shadow filled and it fits a story where Thunderbolt Ross (Who is still a buzzkill). There’s even a well-placed use of a nine panel grid, which I hear is all the rage these days and kudos to Coates and Yu for using for a difficult interpersonal scene between Steve and Sharon and not just a knife fight or something. (Not that there’s anything wrong with knife fights.)

Probably, the boldest decision that Ta-Nehisi Coates makes in Captain America #1 is facing Secret Empire head on and having Steve still fighting to clear his name while also re-casting that whole debacle of an event in the real world light of the election of Donald Trump, Russian tampering of that election, and the increased boldness and acceptance of fascists and white supremacists, who have been here all along. The United States didn’t fight a war against Russia or an army of fascists and lose: they lost at the ballot box and have been losing since 1492, 1607, or 1619 when the first African slaves were transported to Jamestown. Coates and Leinil Yu deal with these real world issues and complicated nature of patriotic iconography through an icon himself: Captain America and explores how problematic he has become in-universe like when Thaddeus Ross benches him for a mission to see who is behind the opening attack of New York City. But somehow guys like Baron Strucker are okay because they helped lead the resistance against HYDRA.

Steve’s struggles with his iconography being co-opted first by HYDRA Cap and then in this issue, by the Nuke wannabes attacking Washington DC, is the emotional heart of Captain America #1. Yu and Gerry Alanguilan give readers plenty of prototypical Captain America shots like throwing his shield into battle, using the shield to protect an injured dad and his son, and then Coates gets to write a great Cap speech. But, then, the narration undermines these moments as Cap wonders what to say to a woman who has lost her daughters and looks around at the collateral damage surrounding the National Mall. And, after the battle, he is immediately undermined by Ross because “appearances matter” and the cloak and dagger spy and assassin skills of Bucky and Sharon are more useful than a guy running around in an American flag costume. A symbol is useful to any resistance, but not a tarnished one, and Yu eschews the heroic poses for middle distance disappointed faces.

But Captain America #1 isn’t all about Steve and his feeble attempts at restoring his legacy. Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu using the opening and closing moments of the comics to set up a compelling villain: Selena, a millennia old mutant with “psychic vampire” abilities. She both uses her powers and a mysterious protege, Alexa, to take down HYDRA cells in Russia and to also influence the American government as the head of Faith Based Initiatives in a blink or miss TV screen cameo. In Captain America #1’s cold open, Selena and Alexa prove to be a formidable threat to a group of HYDRA soldiers with plenty of pyrotechnics and snow from Yu, Alanguilan, and Sunny Gho. Coates doesn’t go the secret villain cliche route and immediately introduces the threat while promising to unpack her connection to the U.S. government and finding some way for Steve to confront her in subsequent issues. Having a powerful Russian force interfere with the American government is compelling in light of current events, but that having that threat be a New Mutants villain with vampire-like abilities is a very Marvel way to go about it.

Playing off the classic Captain America quote from Frank Miler and David Mazzucchelli’s Daredevil: Born Again “I’m loyal to nothing except the dream”, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Leinil Yu unpack the role of Cap as an icon and hero in Captain America #1 while kicking off an action conspiracy storyline that is like our current reality, but draped in Marvel Comics lore.  There is a questioning aspect to this story as Steve, Bucky, and Sharon are consumed with doubt and separated by their new roles in this ever shifting new status quo. Also, it’s kind of sad that the weapon that Steve uses to finally take down the Nukes could also incapacitate his best friend.

Captain America #1 is thrilling, thought provoking stuff and hasn’t been this meaty and compelling since Ed Brubaker’s run on the title.

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Pencils: Leinil Yu Inks: Gerry Alanguilan
Colors: Sunny Gho Letters: Joe Caramagna 
Story: 9.2 Art: 8.4 Overall: 8.8 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel Comics provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Captain America #1

For over 70 years, he has stood in stalwart defense of our country and its people. But in the aftermath of Hydra’s takeover of the nation, Captain America is a figure of controversy, carrying a tarnished shield…and a new enemy is rising!

Who are the Power Elite? And how do they intend to co-opt and corrupt the symbol that is Captain America?

Since it was announced, I’ve been looking forward to Ta-Nehisi Coates‘ take on Captain America. Coates is a brilliant thinker, one that is a must to listen to and he’s brought his socio-political background to Black Panther with success. Where he was clearly learning how to craft a comic, Coates is out the gate at full speed with this comic which shows none of the issues his first comic series showed at the same point. Instead, he gives us an interesting comic that is actually pretty gutsy in a way.

Secret Empire was one of Marvel’s worst events in history and one they recognize as such since they’ve moved past it so quickly in their various series. Coates sees the lingering issues and potential from it though grasping the concepts of a power vacuum and a lead character who was the face of a fascist government that committed unspeakable acts. There’s no fear here as he also presents how the current US government is willing to get in bed with horrible people and delivers a lot of gray area in his concept. That idea? What does Captain America stand for in a world where fascism was embraced so easily and what happens when there’s a power vacuum? Someone, or something, will fill that space and how can he stand for the ideals he does when people see the person he was?

Leinil Francis Yu provides the fantastic art. Yu is a talented artist and I know when I see his name on a project I’m going to enjoy at least the artistic aspect of it all. It all looks great and there’s some solid action sequences mixed with quieter moments as well. There’s a balance that works and works really well.

Captain America is an embodiment of politics and Coates recognizes that. This is an exploration of who the character is, what he stands for, and how that fits in his fictitious, as well as our, world. This first issue is one that entertains and makes you think, something Coates excels at. An amazing debut that’s an absolute must buy.

Story: Ta-Nehisi Coates Art: Leinil Francis Yu
Story: 9.5 Art: 9.5 Overall: 9.5 Recommendation: Buy

Marvel provided Graphic Policy with a FREE copy for review

Review: Captain America #1

This week’s new comic book day sees a new beginning for Steve Rogers, aka Captain America!

Captain America #1 is by Ta-Nehisi Coates, Leinil Francis Yu, Gerry Alangulan, Sunny Gho, Joe Caramagna, Alex Ross, Carlos Lao, Alanna Smith, and Tom Brevoort.

Get your copy in comic shops starting July 4. To find a comic shop near you, visit www.comicshoplocator.com or call 1-888-comicbook or digitally and online with the links below.

Amazon/Kindle/comiXology or TFAW


Marvel provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review
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Captain America #1 Gets a Teaser Trailer

On July 4th, New York Times Best-Selling Author Ta-Nehisi Coates and international superstar artist Leinil Francis Yu usher in a new epic for the Star Spangled Avenger with Captain America #1!

After the creative team’s debut in their Free Comic Book Day issue, fans and critics are raving about Steve Rogers’ new adventures – and Marvel invites you to take a look at the promotional TV spot that aired nationwide last weekend, which included some brand-new, never before seen art!

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