Captain America was assassinated. It made the real-world news. This is the issue that it happened in. My local comic shop was given some vague hint about "a big event" and suggested to order extra copies, but they didn't. Lots of people were caught short, leading to four reprints of this comic, and driving up the cost of a copy of the first printing to $15 or more.
Let's have a look and see what all the fuss is about, shall we?
The story opens with a few black and white recap pages of the Captain America story. Weaking, rejected for army, joins super soldier program, head doctor killed, he the only one. Helps win war, frozen in ice, thawed, joins Avengers.
Then cut to TV news reporter covering the recent events of the super-hero civil war. Captain America vs. Iron Man. Captain surrenders. Meanwhile, Red Skull secretly alive inside another man's body. Doctor Faustus infiltrated SHIELD as psychiatrist. Arnim Zola seeking his final revenge.
SHIELD agent Sharon Carter has her own recap. Aunt Peggy once in love with the Captain, Sharon herself now in love with him. Captain America turns up at the courthouse for the start of his trial, spots the sniper in a high building, but it doesn't save him. Wounded and downed. Sharon Carter comes to his aid among the madness of the crowd, but is powerless to stop him being finished off by three shots at close range from an automatic pistol.
The Falcon and Bucky manage to stop the sniper, some guy named Crossbones. Meanwhile, the rest of the bad guys plans are proceeding unabated. Some girl named sin is dressed as a nurse and at the hospital where the Captain is taken. She encounters Sharon and whispers a message from Doctor Faustus: "Remember". And Sharon does. She remembers that she was the one who put the last three bullets into Captain America. Post-hypnotic suggestion.
I don't normally read Captain America, but I'm glad I read this one - and not just for the universe-shaking event. Nope, writer Ed Brubaker has a deft touch. He has a nice slow pace with a deceptively solid punch. Of course it's not surprising that this story has been very carefully written and planned. This is effectively the grand finale to Civil War, though see also Civil War: The Confession for a different, more understated punchline courtesy of Bendis.
Spider-Man doesn't appear other than in the recap page and in the background on the TV news. Still, the events of this comic will have a huge impact on Peter, even though indirectly, so a review certainly seems appropriate.
Is Captain America really dead? Well, this is part one of a story arc, and there's no sign that his title has been canceled. I wouldn't bet the house that we won't see either Rogers or Captain America back again in some shape or form before too many months have gone by. Captain Marvel just returned, remember.
A very well handled issue. Can't give it a full five webs since I have a nasty feeling that "Rumours of the Captain's death are greatly exaggerated." I don't have any inside info on that, but it's my gut feeling that the story isn't quite over yet. But four webs for now.