Captain America #18
Written by Ed Brubaker & Cullen Bunn
Pencils by Scot Eaton
Inks by Rick Magyar
Colors by Guru-EFX
Review by Joey Braccino
Falcon and Diamondback find Madbomb-Megazords in Manhattan! Sharon Carter and Dum Dum Dugan battle Baron Zemo in space! Captain America jetpacks towards his final confrontation with Codename: Bravo and Queen Hydra! “New World Orders” comes to its climactic conclusion in Captain America #18! And thank goodness for that. Ed Brubaker’s Captain America saga has consistently been one of the most acclaimed and well-reviewed comics on the stands for the better part of a decade. This recent story arc, co-written with Cullen Bunn, has failed to live up to those standards. Fortunately, it’s finally over and we can move on to Brubaker’s final Captain America issue later this month.
Issue #18 sees the respective storylines mentioned above come to a close through some standard superheroic fisticuff action. There are explosions, sword fights, sleeperholds, gunshots, and some shield throwing, and everything is tied up neatly and nicely within this issue. Still, a lot of the thematic undertones—media-perpetuated hate and fear, violent protestation in the streets, the entire Codename: Bravo storyline—are ignored in favor of wrapping up the central conflicts of the last 18 issues through some empty brawling and posturing. With an extra page setting up the conflict, this issue probably could have read as a one-and-done Captain America & The Falcon adventure. Brubaker and Bunn fail to really mine the madbomb/media story, the Discordian characters, or Codename: Bravo (the main villain for this entire series since the relaunch last summer) for anything worthwhile, and I’m left wondering if this whole storyline was necessary at all. If anything, “New World Orders” has cut all of Captain America’s momentum leading into Brubaker’s grand finale.
Scot Eaton’s pencils on this issue are much cleaner and slightly more innovative than his last few outings. There’s a lot more action in this issue, and Eaton’s house style is perfectly suited to the superhero smash-em-up found on these pages. There are some issues with physical continuity during the Sharon Carter/Baron Zemo brawl, but overall the artwork delivers. Again, it’s the writing and story that really drags this issue down.
Skip it, unless you’re buying to complete your Ed Brubaker’s Captain America collection (guilty!). The only good thing to come out of this issue is that my prediction that Steve and Sharon were going to be broken up is proven false! But now Falcon and Diamondback are getting touchy-feely… Where do these things come from!?
Regardless, I will definitely be picking up next issue—Ed Brubaker’s final issue in his Captain America opus.