Captain America #2, written by Ed Brubaker and pencilled by Steve McNiven, picks up where last issue left off - with Cap and company hot on the trail of the mysterious conspiracy of villains introduced last issue. We're treated to some exposition by Nick Fury (the classic James Bond version, not the more recent Samuel L. Jackson inspired one), as he fills Agent 13 (Sharon Carter - Cap's current love interest and the niece of Cap's former love interest from WWII) in on the origins of their current predicament. Turns out that Nazi spies and saboteurs were the de riguer plot element back in the days of WWII, not only impacting Cap's origins, but also his further adventures, incuding the one that spawned the current conspiracy plot that our star spangled hero and his pals finds themselves embroiled in.
I'll be honest - this issue feels like a fill-in or bridge issue for the story that's being told. I didn't feel like the action in the book was particularly exceptional, and found the exposition to be a little heavy handed and leaning towards the cardinal sin of tell rather than show. Still, the art by McNiven is fairly gorgeous and fits the overall story's bold tone well. I just wish that I didn't feel like this issue was just a long set-up for the next issue's fireworks. And the cliffhanger ending at the en dof this issue definitely promises fireworks, with the return of another blast from-the-past antagonist for Cap and Agent 13 to face down as they inch closer to the truth behind the conspiracy they're facing.
RATING: 3 out of 5 Stars-n-Stripes
Daredevil #2, written by Mark Waid and pencilled by Paolo Rivera, on the other hand, felt like a solid chapter in a mystery story arc similar to the one that's going on over in Captain America, but with way more show-me and much less tell-me in the narrative. Ironically, the issue guest stars none other than good ol' Captain America himself, in a hero versus hero tête-à-tête that connects the dots between hornhead's current status quo with his recent actions in the Shadowland storyline that ended the last volume of his eponymous series. For those of us that have been following DD's story for some time, it was both an appreciated nod to the fact that continuity matters, and a reinforcement of Daredevil's essential quality as lawyer by day, and outlaw by night.
The physical and verbal encounter between these two very moral men speaks volumes as to their equally heroic natures, yet does an excellent job of illuminating the differences between the two, past and present. Longtime followers of both Caps' and DD's stories will get a lot out of their exchange, and Waid demonstrates a knowledge and appreciation of the history between the two characters that sizzles and pops off the page. Rivera's art took a little bit for me to get used to after associating Alex Maleev's photo-referential style with the book for so long, but I'm liking it more and more with each read and finding it to be quite complementary to the bread-and-butter swashbuckling heroics of Waid's devil-may-care protagonist. I'm also enjoying the way that he nails Foggy Nelson's character and voice down [at(I've been getting a double-dose of Foggy over in Black Panther's book as well!), and can't wait until he finishes rounding out and assembling Daredevil's supporting cast. This book has me eagerly awaiting each issue, and after all the grim, gritty darkness that Matt Murdock has been recently put through as daredevil, Waid's return of Matt to swashbuckling superheroics are a welcome change of pace. The issue ends with the introduction of a villain who I'm not sure Matt has faced before, but who makes perfect sense as a foil for our hero, given DD's abilities.
RATING: 4 out of 5 Billy Clubs