Didn’t I review the previous volume around a month ago? Well, here’s the next one which follows up on the fallout from “Standoff” while also tying into the events of “Civil War II.” With regards to the former issue, now that Steve Rogers has been de-aged the question becomes whether or not he’ll take back the shield and his former title? Then, as “Civil War II” picks up steam, Sam finds himself delivering the eulogy to the fallen James Rhodes and forced to choose a side between the opposing views of Captain Marvel and Iron Man. If that wasn’t enough, he also finds himself drawn into the conflict between the new private police force known as the Americops and the former Avenger Rage. Oh, and the conservative backers of the Americops have also called in James “USAgent” Walker to convince Sam to give back the shield with his fists. Because that would be best for America.
If you are looking for escapist superhero reading, then this volume of “Sam Wilson” is not for you. This isn’t the first time that writer Nick Spencer has thrust the character into some hot-button issues, but this is the first time where their relevance is keenly felt. While the Americops are clearly made out to be the bad guys here, they’re still authorized law-enforcement officials, so Rage’s plan to fight them head-on is only going to make things worse. So it’s up to Sam to find a way to thread the needle in this situation and take on USAgent when he rears his head. This makes for a compelling read, and the event-tie in stuff is also handled pretty well too, that does fizzle out a bit at the end as Sam’s plan for dealing with this issue is told to the reader rather than shown. We still get some solid art from Angel Unzueta, beautiful art from Daniel Acuna (nice to see that he wasn’t rushed here) and some delicious moments of treachery from Steve Rogers. Steve’s actions here will only come off as contradictory if you haven’t been reading his solo title, and aren’t aware of his current status as a Hydra agent. If you have, then it’s a great use of dramatic irony as the character plays both ends against the middle, fanning the flames of conflict between Sam and his antagonists. Maybe it isn’t the most upbeat read, but “Sam Wilson” does an excellent job of tapping into the zeitgeist now.