Graphic Novel Review: Captain America: Captain of Nothing

Captain America: Captain of Nothing

Captain America: Captain of Nothing - Credit: Archant

(Panini Books)

Framed, disgraced and jailed, Steve Rogers finds himself on the wrong side of the law after being falsely accused of murdering General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross, but should he face justice or become a fugitive to clear his name?

Recognising that this is not the first time Rogers has found himself working in direct opposition to the US government, and playing on political tensions under the current administration, writer Ta-Nehisi Coates crafts a narrative which seeks to redefine the role of "Captain America" in the era of false news, media manipulation and despotism at the very heart of government.

"This is the world they wanted," he warns, recognising that the fundamental values which he claims to represent, democracy and the will of the people, resulted in the United States being taken over by a corrupt, right-wing power (in the comics Hydra, but with plenty of parallels here to Trump's America).

The main thrust of this particular volume focuses on Rogers' imprisonment, and unfortunately plays out like all-too-many prison dramas, with predictable narrative beats and few surprises. His eventual escape alongside the Daughters of Liberty - a covert alliance of superhero women - is far from the end of Coates' story, as Steve retires his costume and shield to tackle the conspiracy at the heart of his downfall.

Coates has an excellent grasp on the character and motivations of Captain America, and is weaving what is shaping up to be an intriguing run by drawing on contemporary issues and using them as the inspiration for a thought-provoking commentary. Highly recommended.