Captain America arrives in a small North-Georgia town (state represent!) called Sauga River for a bite to eat. He's immediately recognized, even outside of the costume. The whole town is set alight be the presence of the Sentinel of Liberty, which signals to the new Swordsman that he needs to make his move sooner than later. The town of Sauga has a dam holding back its nominal river, and the Swordsman is intent on releasing the waters to wash away the town.
I'm a bit late to the part on this one; I apologize for that. Circumstances prevented me from getting ahold of this comic last week.
As you might remember, I was a resistant and maybe a bit harsh on Captain America #695. It felt like it was trying to force Pandora's Box back closed in the shadow of that one massive Marvel crossover I'm trying hard to stop name-checking every time I talk about Captain America.
The thing is that my minds not really changed on that. The Mark Waid and Chris Samnee stint on Cap's book does feel like a very self-conscious 180 on Blecret Blimpire. It's trying to make things really simple in a very complicated world, and Captain America has been tackling that world since… well the original Blecret Blimpire with varying success.
All of that being said, Captain America #696 has broken through my resistances and cynicism about this new direction. The charms of Steve Rogers and the wholesomeness of it all has gotten me to fall in love. I honestly adored this frigging comic.
Steve is the sweet and lovable hero he used to be. The story is tight, straightforward, and damn endearing.
On top of all this, Chris Samnee brings it all to life in his trademark classic-modern hybrid style. The fight sequences with Swordsman are very sequential, easy to follow, and look just plain awesome. Matthew Wilson keeps everything light-colored, almost veering at pastel at times. This works for the story and tone of the comic, and it honestly all comes together perfectly.
Despite my reservations, Captain America #696 won me over. This is Captain America at his golden-hearted best. The story feels like a classic Cap tale. The art is near-perfect thanks to Samnee and Wilson being, well, Samnee and Wilson. I recommend this one strongly. If you're looking for a classic Cap story, this will give you exactly what you want. Pick it up.