Image: Marvel Comics

In any political regime, there are people who benefit and people who suffer. The proportions may vary, but even the worst administrations are advantageous to a select population. Hydra’s takeover of the United States in Marvel’s Secret Empire event threw the country into chaos, but Steve Rogers is discovering that some people celebrate Hydra’s authoritarian actions in the current Captain America series. Written by Ta-Nehisi Coates with art by penciller Leinil Francis Yu, inker Gerry Alanguilan, and colorist Sunny Gho, this series directly addresses the fallout of last year’s controversial crossover, sending the star-spangled hero across the country to assess the damage caused by his evil doppelganger so he can repair a fractured America.

Marvel editor-in-chief C.B. Cebulski says that the publisher is focusing on entertainment rather than politics, but Coates’ Captain America story is very much about the current political moment. Coates has a lot to say about the rise of fascist ideals in U.S. government, and this exclusive preview of next week’s Captain America #3 delves into how certain communities and demographics benefit from policies that draw attention away from the larger injustices being committed against other populations. Coates has grown significantly as a comic-book writer over the past two and a half years, and after only two issues, his Captain America run is already full of substance, setting up plots that could sustain years of stories.

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The intensity of Coates’ narrative is matched by the artwork, and Yu is especially good at depicting a Steve Rogers weighed down by the evils committed by a villain who stole his name and face, but dedicated to setting things right. Alanguilan’s inks add crispness to the linework while Gho’s coloring add texture and ambiance, and the splash page in this preview is an evocative image of a predominantly white community whose patriotism has been boosted by Hydra’s actions. This tour of the country reveals just how big of a challenge Steve Rogers has in redeeming his reputation, and it’s made Captain America a complex, captivating dissection of contemporary U.S. society.