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Fallen Son: The Death of Captain America #4 [Review]

Quick Rating: Good
Story Title: Chapter 4: Depression

Spider-Man mourns the loss of Cap, but still has to deal with stuff that life throws at him…

fallensonthedeathofcaptainamerica004 Writer: Jeph Loeb
Pencils: David Finch
Inks: Danny Miki
Colors: Frank D’Armata
Letters: Richard Starkings & Comicraft
From an Idea by: J. Michael Straczynski
Assistant Editor: Alejandro Arbona
Editor: Bill Rosemann
Cover Art: David Finch | Variant by: Michael Turner
Publisher: Marvel Comics

This story has certainly lost much of its impact–on me–by being stretched out so much. That’s not to say it’s entirely devoid of impact…but going through these "stages of grief" or "loss" or whatever the official phrasing is would work much better had this series been more immediate and timely. After all, I have had what? A quarter year (or more) now to get used to the idea of Captain America being "dead," and to partake in the online culture of communication that has really lessened the character’s death–as I have come to really agree that within a couple years or so, we’ll have Steve Rogers alive and well, having "got better" after this ordeal…or worse, turn out that THIS Steve Rogers was a certain alien poser.

That meta-textual stuff aside…this was a good issue. This issue’s focus is on a "depressed" Spider-Man as he deals with the loss of a man he’d looked up to as a hero–not just a "fellow" super-hero or colleague, but as an actual hero far above his own "level," by whom it was an honor to even be so much as acknowledged. And while spending time in a cemetary, Spidey/Peter realizes that he’s got an audience…and when his spider-sense goes off, he leaps into action, lashing out at the clear and present threat. The issue winds down with Spidey and Wolverine (which helps hold this series together, not merely "jumping" from one character to another, but maintaining some continuity as the characters interact).

There’s a lot that could be said and analyzed and "read into" the text, based on knowledge that’s been made public about events the writer has faced, and I’d like to acknowledge that fact without getting into it beyond this statement.

The story seems to fit Spidey…I haven’t followed the character all that much for a number of years, so I might be getting something that’s not there, depending on the nuances one pulls out. For me, though, this seemed to be a solid reflection of Spidey acting in context of having just lost a mentor/father-figure/inspiration…and that he’s in the black suit lends yet further loss based on what he’s apparently been dealing with in his own book(s). The threat faced in the cemetery elicits the expected reaction from the character, while simultaneously providing a nice twist, breaking just a bit from a clich├ęd sort of formula.

I liked the art here. Finch isn’t an artist I’m terribly familiar with of late, only dipping into Marvel here and there the last several years…but the art is definitely recognizable, and carries a certain realism to it that (while allowing one to still subconsciously recognize it as "just" 2-d comic book art) adds a lot to the visual enjoyment of the story. And I think that is the best-looking version of the "villain" I can ever remember seeing.

As a whole, this issue (to me) is an example of how enjoyable story arcs can be as a series of stories that CAN be taken alone, but are also part of a larger arc, rather than a series of chapters that FEEL like they are 1/6th segments of a single story…and that makes it certainly worth its cover price.

If you’re following the series already, this isn’t an issue to skip on; and if you’re just interested in Spidey…you’ve got a good dose of him dealing with another loss in his life, mixed with some action here, and I think it’s fair to say you probably don’t NEED to have read the earlier issues to get/follow/enjoy this issue. I do think these may read better in a collected volume in one sitting, though. Of course, you can do much worse by way of single issues.

Ratings:

Story: 3.5/5
Art: 4/5
Overall: 4/5

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