Captain America: Steve Rogers #19
CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS #18 BY NICK SPENCER, DONNY CATES, JAVIER PINA AND ANDRES GUINALDO
Story
Art
Characterization
Summary
CAPTAIN AMERICA STEVE ROGERS #18 is a great look into the political side of the SECRET EMPIRE. The emotional artwork compliments the frightening story of an unhinged ruler striking fear into foreign ambassadors.
98 %
General Disassembly

CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 doesn’t contain any long, drawn out battle scenes. In fact, most of the dialogue in the issue is from a speech made by Rogers. However, it creates just as much tension with that speech as it would with a bombastic battle. CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 is a horrifying-yet-engaging book that shows just how twisted Cap has become during SECRET EMPIRE. Writers Nick Spencer and Donny Cates’ script and plot expertly show the dire state of foreign relations under the U.S.’s Hydra rule. Artists Javier Pina and Andres Guinaldo greatly convey the fear in the foreign ambassador’s faces as well as the twisted hatred in Captain America’s entire body language.

SUPREME LEADER ROGERS HAS THE FLOOR

CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 begins with Cap preparing to address what is left of the United Nations in Brussels after the Darkforce Dimension bubble engulfed Manhattan in SECRET EMPIRE #0. Since Rogers took over America, many countries have decided to spy on Hydra’s affairs and actively fight back against any Hydra sympathizers in their countries. The UN decided to invite Rogers to the emergency session in Brussels as a special guest. The reasons behind this decision are not laid out in the comic.  The ambassadors at first seem outraged by the prospect of even listening to what Rogers has to say. Spencer and Cates successfully convey this anger when they show the ambassadors’ chatter before Rogers’ speech. Even one of the heads of the UN makes sure to add in a dig against Cap before his introduction.

Spencer and Cates also seem to include some political satire into the issue. Madame Hydra says that while all of these people seem outraged by this change in leadership, they will still welcome Rogers with applause. Spencer, who vaguely referenced Trump in prior issues of SECRET EMPIRE, may be making a statement about foreign leaders’ responses to the new President.  Even if it is just a general statement on blustery political leaders, it scarily shows what may happen if a fascist dictatorship took over the United States.

READ: Want to know our thoughts on Cap’s Hydra reveal? Here’s our roundtable discussion!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 p.8
CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 page 8. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Rogers begins his speech by clearly stating that he only cares about Hydra. At first, Rogers implies that Hydra has no interest in foreign relations, but as time goes on, Rogers makes it obvious that he will not tolerate any anti-Hydra nation. If an ambassador tries to reason with him, he will not listen. As this becomes clear, an ambassador angrily tries to stand up against Rogers. Spencer and Cates disturbingly show how powerful Rogers’ presence is when he screams at the ambassador to sit down, and he quickly obeys.

A SPARK OF HOPE IN CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18

Another ambassador interrupts Rogers’ speech, but this one commands Rogers’ attention. Black Panther shows up via video screen and condemns Rogers’ regime. He reveals that Arnim Zola tried multiple times to invade Wakanda for its Vibranium and failed each time. He invites Rogers to meet him in Wakanda on the Panther’s terms. This angers Rogers so much that he prematurely ends his speech and storms off.

READ: Want more SECRET EMPIRE? Here’s our review of SECRET EMPIRE UNITED #1!

Spencer and Cates prove that some hope still exists in this dystopia since Wakanda won’t cave to Cap, even when other nations like Atlantis did. They also commendably make clear that this twisted version of Rogers is a broken, cowardly man. Pre-SECRET EMPIRE, Cap would not back down from a fight if it threatened his beliefs. This new Rogers angrily stomps out like a child having a tantrum when he doesn’t get his way. Perhaps he secretly doubts Hydra, or perhaps he isn’t the true Steve Rogers after all.

EMOTIONAL ARTWORK IN CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18

If CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 is any indication, Pina and Guinaldo are masters of the facial expression. The ambassadors’ faces go from having smug grins to having looks of utter terror. As Rogers’ speech gets more horrifying and violent-sounding, the ambassadors look more horrified.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 p15a
CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 page 15. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

Rogers’ body language betrays his insane devotion to Hydra. Pina and Guinaldo draw Rogers with bulbous, bloodshot eyes as he spouts his fascist rhetoric. I can understand why the ambassadors grew more fearful. This man looks unhinged. He looks like he could go into a violent frenzy at any minute.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 p15b
CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 page 15. Image courtesy of Marvel Entertainment.

CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 is a Must Read!

CAPTAIN AMERICA: STEVE ROGERS #18 is a masterclass in writing and drawing an unhinged, fascist dictator. The book highlights Rogers’ crazed dedication to Hydra. It also shows how his personality unravels when a powerful enemy challenges him. I would absolutely recommend this issue to anyone reading SECRET EMPIRE. If you’re a Cap fan, this is a must-read.

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