Writer: Christopher Priest
Artists: Bart Sears (p), Rob Hunter (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
As the fake Captain America breaks into a military base with the Falcon and the reporter freed from Guantanamo Bay as his captives, we see the gun-welding fake steals a plane and takes off into the middle of a hurricane. However when his departing plane collides with a second plane that was transporting the real Captain America to Cuba, we see the resultant collision results in an opportunity for San and the reporter to make a fairly dramatic escape. However their situation goes from bad to worse when Sam's flying rig explodes.
This is a very entertaining issue, that restores my belief in Christopher Priest's writing abilities, after a somewhat shaky opening issue, as the action has a greater sense of urgency to it thanks to a tighter script that makes it far easier to follow what all the respective characters are looking to accomplish. We learn the fake Captain America is likely in the employ of the black hats, as his attempted murder of Sam in the final pages makes it pretty clear he's not going to be an ally. The story also manages to cast a sense of doubt about the idea of whether it was a smart idea for Sam to break his friend out of Guantanamo Bay, as while it looks like the heroic thing to do on the surface, as this issue spells out the bigger picture, it would appear that the reporter was being held in custody for her own protection as she managed to stumble across something that a powerful drug cartel is eager to protect, and as such by breaking her out of government custody, Sam might very well have made it easier for the people looking to get their hands the reporter. Of course given Sam was able to break out the reporter without relatively little difficulty, perhaps it's for the best that she wasn't left under their protection as if Sam can get to her, than one has to imagine the fake Captain America would've also been able to pull it off. This issue also has some pretty exciting moments of action as there's a great James Bond style moment as the reporter leaps out of a plane without a parachute, in the middle of a hurricane no less, and the final page cliffhanger left me quite concerned about the fate of our two heroes.
I recognize that the wind patterns of the hurricane might act to greatly increased to likelihood that two planes would occupy the same airspace, but this is the second time in as many months that a writer has presented this unlikely event as a plot device that readers would be willing to accept without questions and I have to say both times I found myself left with serious reservations. Now I realize that planes will collide in midair on occasion, but most times they occurs over airports where multiple planes circle while waiting for runways to open up, and that's why air-traffic controllers have one of the more stressful jobs one can imagine. However the idea that two planes would randomly cross paths in midair, and what's more that both planes would be carrying characters who play such key roles in the story, acts to pull me out of the story as I question the plausibility of such an event. I also have to openly wonder about the scene that acts as the final page cliffhanger, as given he was so concerned about flying rig's ability to keep them in the air, why wouldn't he remain at a height that they fall from that they could walk away from. I mean it's more exciting visually to have them tumbling from a great height, but it also makes Sam look like a bit of a dummy that he would express concern about the strain on the flying rig, and then he wouldn't prepare for the possibility that it might fail. It's even more curious because on the pages before that final shot it did appear that he was skimming above the waves, so one has to wonder why he suddenly pulled up to such a great height.
Bart Sears was one of my favorite artists when he was providing the art during the opening year of "Justice League Europe", but my enthusiasm for his work dropped off completely with the half-finished efforts that he offered up on 'Spider-Woman". However, I had hopes that he would return to form with his work on this series, as the first issue had a level of detail that made me sit up and take notice. However, this issue offers up a few too many elements that I have difficulty embracing, as his figures look like muscle bound freaks, the facial expressions seem to have difficulty offering up any expression beyond open mouthed fury, and the most annoying visual touch would have to be the art's continued use of action poses of the characters that look like they were randomly inserted on the page as they bear absolutely no relation to the action that is playing out on the rest of the page. I will give the art credit for the free fall sequence though, as I did enjoy the way that the panel layouts reflected the twisting nature of the hurricane.
Good? Bad? I'm The One With The Gun:
A very exciting issue that is full of some wonderfully intense moments of action and intrigue, but it's difficult to embrace an issue like this no matter how well written it is when the art seems to be at cross-purposes with the writing. I mean it's clear Bart Sears is putting more time and effort on the page than I saw over on "Spider-Woman", as there's a level of detail on the page that would be impressive if it wasn't combined with some visuals that seem to be deliberately designed to confuse the readers. I mean I have to openly wonder about the annoying habit that he has of placing a poster shot of the character on the side of the page, while the action is playing out of the page, as these shots are an unnecessary distraction. I mean I had to remind oneself that Captain America is inside one of those colliding planes even though the art has him floating high above them. Still, in spite of the problems I had with the art, the story itself is quite entertaining as Christopher Priest brings most of his ideas into much clearer focus in this issue, and manages to deliver a couple harrowing action sequences to boot.
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