Writer: Christopher Priest
Artists: Joe Bennett and Jacj Jadson
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Normally the final chapters of a Christopher Priest written arc are my favourite, as he's quite skilled at bringing it all together, and leaving me slapping my forehead at my seeming inability to spot where he had been taking the story until after we've arrived at the final destination. However, this opening arc remains quite frustrating in that there doesn't look to be much meat on this story, as the path that this story is heading down seems to be lacking any real moments where I'm impressed by the wheels within wheels plotting. In fact if nothing else this issue makes it even more apparent that the real story at the heart of this arc was overly complicated as in order to draw a rogue agent out of the wood work Captain America and the Falcon set up an overly elaborate scheme that in turn is revealed to not even have been the element that drew the agent out of hiding, as we got a McGuffin plot device resting at the centre of the story, whose only function seems to be to see how many times Christopher Priest can hint that it's a deadly serious device, without ever revealing what it is.
Now there are moments in this issue that grabbed my full attention, as there's an intriguing use of the Scarlet Witch that remains tantalizing unresolved, and the cliff-hanger moment is a jaw-dropper. There's also a couple fun guest-appearances as they pay a visit to one hero to draw a blood sample, while the other is revealed to be actively helping our heroes keep the fake Captain America under wraps. However, in the end the plot at the centre of this arc seems to be a bit empty, as it's more about maintain the pretence that there's a mystery to be solved, than the actual presentation of one.
Let the rejoicing commence as this book has gotten itself an artist who can not only tell the story in a clear, visually exciting manner, but what's more Joe Bennett offers up a wonderfully detailed style that never fails to impress. Now I will say that the Navy agent is a dead ringer for J. Jonah Jameson which results in a confusion that seems unnecessary, but this is a minor detail that is quickly overpowered by the lushly detailed cityscapes and the bone crunching impact shots as Captain America and the Falcon battle a small army of thugs. I also have to say it's great to see Steve Epting's work again, as he turns in a great looking cover image of our two heroes.
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