Review by Frank Plowright
The Red Menace title given to both this and the previous volume makes more sense applied here as Captain America’s arch-enemy the Red Skull is the guiding hand behind much of what occupies him throughout the book.
Ed Brubaker has accumulated some of the more outrageous elements of Captain America’s print past and refracted them through the knowing prism of 21st century experience. We have a new version of World War II Nazi super strongman, Master Man, complete with swastika emblem, and what immediately strikes is how the aryan blonde hair and primary blue colour scheme of his costume makes him resemble Miracleman/Marvelman. A sight no-one ever expected to see again is the Jack Kirby created Sleeper, a giant destructive Nazi robot rampaging through London. The Sleeper is given a 21st century polish by artist Steve Epting, with the spray-on swastika replaced by luminous blue alien writing. The Red Skull is pulling the strings, but has his own battle to fight for control of the body he shares with Aleksander Lukin. Lukin is a one time high ranking Soviet army official whose talents and adaptability launched a successful post-Soviet career as an entrepreneur. His status affords a high level of diplomatic protection, and enables Brubaker a brief pause to highlight corporate unaccountability.
Most of the action occurs in London, so British patriotic hero Union Jack turns up along with a rejuvenated Spitfire, once a comrade of both Cap and Winter Soldier as part of World War II superteam the Invaders. There’s a resolution of sorts to the Winter Soldier storyline from previous volumes, and thoroughly unpleasant villains Crossbones and Sin are also on hand.
All in all, this is fun, but not a highpoint of Brubaker’s Captain America run. The story continues in Captain America: Civil War, and can be found collected with the first Red Menace volume in both Red Menace Ultimate Collection and Captain America by Ed Brubaker Omnibus volume 1.