"American Psycho, Part 1"
Writer: Christopher Priest
Artists: Dan Jurgens (p), Nelson with Pond Scum (i)
Publisher: Marvel Comics
Plot: As the dark Captain America is on a one-man crusade against the criminal underworld, the real Captain America pays a visit to the Falcon to question him about his new, decidedly ruthless attitude. As the two men share words and effectively dissolve their partnership, Sam is given a quick example of the price that comes with his new darker approach to battling crime. As the issue ends, the newly educated Falcon confronts the dark Captain America.
Comments: This issue features the death of Captain America so all you collectors will probably want to snap up a couple of copies of this issue. It's not every day that Marvel kills off one of its more recognizable characters, so this issue is sure to see a price jump. Now I'm a little wary about the scene that is sure to come next issue when Captain America steps out from behind the curtain and reveals that his death was all a carefully constructed act. Frankly, if Christopher Priest doesn't handle it just right then it's going to make it look like he has a poor grasp on the character. Right now this doesn't feel like something that Captain America would do, even if it was to teach Sam a lesson about the unintended costs of his reckless behaviour. However, I trust in Christopher Priest's ability as a writer, and I fully expect that when the twist is revealed next issue it'll be a little more involved than Captain America stepping out to show Sam that he's been punk'd. Plus, this is exactly the type of issue that I would have loved when I was a new comic reader, as it does a wonderful job of playing up the idea that Captain America has been killed, and I'm envious of the younger readers who are able to buy into this illusion. As it stands, most of my enjoyment comes from looking forward to the scene where Sam discovers the truth. Their relationship is already strained, and this may very well be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Right now, I can't really see any way that this encounter is going to end well. This issue also offers up some wonderful inside the head material, as Captain America deals with the idea that America's ideals may have passed him by.
I haven't seen Dan Jurgens work for quite some time, and while I've never been a huge fan of his work, I rather enjoyed the art he provides on this issue. The issue opens with a great sequence that plays against the norm, as the dark Captain America throws a man out of a helicopter, and when one turns the page instead of the scene where he saves the man at the last moment, a powerful panel makes it quite clear why the real Captain America should have a problem with this character running around. The art also perfectly sells the dramatic impact of the scene where we see the cost of Sam's encounter with the gun man in the hallway. The power of the panel is undeniable. There's also a nice one page shot of Sam cradling the body of the seemingly dead Captain America that is far more effective than it really has any right being. The ruthless quality of the dark Captain America in the final pages is also well presented, as even the Punisher would have a difficult time keeping up with his body count.
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