The Difference Between Legal And Right: Captain America #13

by Josh Davison

[*Mild Spoilers Ahead!]
The public doesn’t trust Captain America, and he’s wanted for murder and for staging a prison break to boot. The Dryad and Sharon Carter are doing everything they can to give Steve Rogers his life and reputation back, but that may be impossible at this point. Despite that, Steve Rogers is going back into the field in his old S.H.I.E.L.D. Commander uniform and with a hand from White Tiger. A crew of armed assailants have taken it upon themselves to attack a group of undocumented migrant workers, and it’s up to Steve Rogers and White Tiger to stop these attacks from continuing.

Captain America #13 cover by Alex Ross
Captain America #13 cover by Alex Ross

Captain America #13 finds Steve Rogers starting over again. He can’t go around as Captain America right now, and he doesn’t know how to redeem himself in the eyes of the public. Thankfully, Sharon Carter has a vision of how to do that.
This is a politically-charged comic, even if a crew of ultranationalists attacking unarmed farmers should be far from a contested point. That said, it is pretty weird how uneasy Steve is with protecting these undocumented workers. He’s uneasy with “condoning illegal activity), and that’s a strange point because Captain America has done illegal things practically since the beginning. He’s been on the run from the government multiple times–the original Secret Empire and Civil War tales to name two. He’s been Nomad and the Captain when he felt he couldn’t wear the flag of the U.S. This story referenced these past occasions tales in the previous issue, so it makes no sense for Steve to get squeamish about stopping armed douchebags from attacking migrant workers. Also, vigilantism is illegal, and I feel like the comic forgets that fact. 
Steve’s always been far less stiff and strict than people give him credit for, and it’s a little disappointing to see his own comic title buying into that falsehood. 
All of this whinging on my part aside, it is cathartic to watch Steve Rogers and White Tiger to cut loose and stop the bad guys.
Captain America #13 art by Sean Izaakse, Matt Milla, and letterer VC's Joe Caramagna
Captain America #13 art by Sean Izaakse, Matt Milla, and letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna

Sean Izaakse gives the book a good treatment, and he makes the action scenes kinetic and flowing. One action leads into the next and a clear and coherent manner, and Steve Rogers looks as heroic as ever. White Tiger gets some great scenes too. Matt Milla gives the book a solid color treatment too, though more bright colors mixed in would have been appreciated.
Captain America #13 has some problems. Steve’s character comes off as inconsistent at times, and it doesn’t help that he’s questioning whether it’s correct to carry out some obvious goods for other people. I get that Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jason Masters want to dismantle Captain America and figure out who he really is, but there are some foundational aspects of the character that seem like they needn’t be removed or loosened. That said, there are plenty of things to like about this book, and I can still give it a recommendation. Feel free to pick it up.
Captain America #13 comes to us from writers Ta-Nehisi Coates and Jason Masters, artist Sean Izaakse, color artist Matt Milla, letterer VC’s Joe Caramagna, cover artist Alex Ross, and variant cover artists Patch Zircher with Edgar Delgado; Ema Luppacchino with David Curiel; and Mike McKone with Edgar Delgado.
Final Score: 6.5/10

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