Things were escalating to a fever pitch last issue as Arnim Zola brought the war against the Phroxians down on their doorstep. A skirmish between Captain America and Princess Jet ended with Zola making a personal and frighteningly physical appearance, dominating the injured and infected Steve Rogers. Taking back his biological son, Zola left the battlefield believing Rogers to be dead, but the Captain survived and decided to “cure” himself of Zola’s virus by performing some emergency and impromptu surgery.
In issue #5, we saw the resiliency and mental hardness of Captain America. In issue #6, Captain America turns the tables on Zola by encroaching on his turf. After being held captive for more than a decade in a strange and alien dimension, Captain America has finally overcome the loss of life, the numbness, and the fragility of his own body. The quest to save Ian shows what kind of lengths Rogers will go — stepping over the refuse piles of unsuccessful mutates, Rogers finds Princess Jet and makes a statement that’s almost uncharacteristic because of its perceived brutality.
Captain America #6 is a high point in a six-issue run showcasing many high points. The title has been one of the strongest of Marvel’s monthly offerings, and the momentum has been picking up for an epic battle between the Captain and Zola. At stake are the lives of the peaceful Phroxians, enslaved and biologically retuned by Zola’s science experimentation. The mad scientist hopes to create a Captain America clone to be sent back to Earth, and he’s nearing perfection. With Ian returned to the family fold and Princess Jet feeling the influence of Captain America’s merciful actions last issue, Zola decides to forcibly brainwash Ian and take back his son.
Credit goes to the creative team for creating a polished issue that instantly conveys a sense of aggrandizement. The pencils by John Romita Jr. are his best yet, and the colors by Dean White look more painted on some of the pages. Rick Remender’s scripting takes us further into Rogers’ thoughts, and there’s an intensity to the inner monologues that, coupled with the artwork, portrays Captain America in ways some might not expect.
In what could be the most memorable moment so far in the title’s short run — the Captain finds Princess Jet unarmed and in a bath towel, trying to understand his actions. The confrontation ends with the WOW moment of the series thus far, and though we don’t see a body, the thought of Rogers firing a gun point blank into a woman’s face — dangerous as she is — will provoke a reaction.
How the creative team will top this remains to be seen, and with the bar set so high, one wonders how well the story will end. Besides having to overcome huge expectations, there’s no reason to believe the creative team won’t deliver, and next issue looks like Captain America will fight a tougher battle from a mental and emotional standpoint.
Captain America #6 (2012)
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Words: Rick Remender
Pencils: John Romita Jr.
Inks: Tom Palmer, Klaus Janson, Scott Hanna
Colors: Dean White
Letters: Joe Caramagna