Captain America #9 (2005)

"So let me get this straight. You mounted an assault on sovreign territory against an important friend of the U.S and the U.N. …on a hunch?"
That line of dialogue sums up this dumb and poorly-thought-out comic. Captain America and Nick Fury are trying down those who committed a terrorist act against Philadelphia. So they gather some vague evidence that former Soviet spy Aleksander Lukin is behind the bombing, and charge off half-cocked to his country to … umm…. bring him to justice or something, I guess. The script doesn’t actually talk much about what the objective of this operation is, though writer Brubaker does go in great depth to explain that there’s not a lot of clear and inarguable evidence against Lukin and that he probably couldn’t be touched in his home country, anyway. In other words, Captain America, Nick Fury, Sharon Carter and a couple dozen S.H.I.E.L.D. agents travel to a foreign land, kill some unimportant guards, threaten Lukin, and fly back to the USA with their tails between their legs. Yeah, that makes sense, and that seems heroic. Sheesh.
I find myself shaking my head wondering whatb Brubaker was thinking with this issue. Why have Cap and Fury lead a mission that would raise red flags with anyone who has a brain? If something like this happened in the real world, it would be a massive black eye for the US, the sort of thing that would hurt relations between the US and other countries in the world for years to come. To have Captain America, of all characters, living symbol of the United States, charge off on such a mission, is doubly embarassing. Worst of all, as the group fly back to America, they swear vengeance instead of trying to figure out the right way to bring Lukin to justice.
In Stan ‘n’ Jack’s Marvel Universe, this sort of issue would sort of make sense. The big difference is that Cap and Fury would have free reign to bring in the villain without worrying about diplomatic niceities. Now, in the quasi-realistic modern Marvel Universe, I have to wonder why the federal government wouldn’t be doing everything it could do to bring in the bomber. If there was good evidence, why would a rogue team have to bring him to justice? And if there wasn’t good evidence, would’t it be important to follow channels? Brubaker can’t have it both ways. He can’t have a realistic environment and then not have characters act somewhat realistically.
Artist Michael Lark adds nothing to the comic. He’s done fine work elsewhere, but here his artwork doesn’t work well at all. Cap’s chin seems to change size from panel to panel, and Lark’s depiction of Cap overall seems awkward at best. Lark has always been strongest at drawing non-powered heroes, and he just doesn’t have a great feel for Captain America.
This is a very bad comic book, perhaps the worst thing that Brubaker or Lark have worked on. I’ve liked a lot of work by both of them in the past. I hope this is just an aberration.

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