Marvel Comics 2016
Written by Nick Spencer
Illustrated by Jesus Saiz
Lettered by VC’s Clayton Cowles
Well I’m thrilled and sad about this all at the same time. When I picked up Welcome to Pleasant Hill the whole idea behind it intrigued me. I thought the issue was beautifully done and really raised more than a few excellent questions and set up the premise for something huge to happen. I thought it was a series of it’s own I hadn’t realized it was basically a one-shot to lead to this one which then leads to a crossover event throughout Marvel books. Had I realized it was going to run through 13 issues of 7 books I would have passed on this. I’m not a fan of being forced to buy individual books on series I don’t read to keep up with a story it’s an age old tactic that’s run its course. It should’ve just remained a maxi-series run separate from everything else. Just my thought on it but i’m definitely NOT going to be picking the run from here.
Had this been a maxi-series then it would have had the potential to be among Marvel’s most successful huge arcs and considering their luck over the last say decade they need that. To open up the issue on the Helicarrier the way it was done shows us why we love Nick’s writing. Triumph and tragedy all in the same moment and he keeps the mystery of what Bucky’s doing a huge secret, though with a little intelligence we can guess, and I quote “guess” since we’re not always right. Steve hasn’t a clue what his oldest friend is up to and that bugs him but he’s got that dogged determination to find out and that’s what embodies Steve Rogers.
Meanwhile Captain America, Sam Wilson, is facing his own problems as lately his decisions hasn’t won him many fans among the general populace. This was eh I mean i’m not a fan of Sam as Cap and i’m not sure why this is here other than the fact that he’s playing a role in this story at some point and he’s at odds with Maria Hill. What we do see is his meeting with Whisper, whose identity we learn, then he gets holier than thou as if he’s any better. I’m totally not a fan of this whole Dickwas Sam Wilson. Still it adds something to the mix and him getting some comeuppance is one of those things I look forward to seeing.
So between Bucky and Rick both Steve and Sam here the same story. Nick is really good about how to tell a story and it’s flawlessly done. So after Bucky leaves Maria shows up to pick up Steve as S.H.I.E.L.D. shows up to apprehend the Whisperer, who is with Captain America. So as the issue unfolds it’s easy to see how the Avengers come into the story that already has a focused Bucky and a on the hunt Steve Rogers.
With what we learned in Welcome combined with what Maria shows Steve I couldn’t have been any more psyched for what happens this issue. Maria isn’t thinking clearly, or at least rationally and what she’s done goes against humanity and good conscious of most people, including Steve Rogers. Bucky’s not happy and Sam’s not going to be either and this could be the utter downfall of S.H.I.E.L.D. once and for all though what that would do to the Marvel landscape is something i’m sure they wouldn’t allow to happen.
So what Jesus does with the interiors is just as impressive as what Nick does with the story. He puts out this giant sized issue that is flawless in it’s execution. From wonderfully done pages/panels full of life, facial expressions and all kinds of drama both overt and subtle to simple backgrounds that flesh it all out in ways that you can’t help but marvel at.
I think the concept here is one that’s huge, important to the Marvel U’s growth and change as well as possibly unifying the world’s most notorious villains. It could’ve been immensely great had it not ran around too many titles.