After one bright initial episode, and a second one that was a lot of fun, Marvel’s What If…? has gotten steadily darker. I’ve commented before that I wonder if the writers are in a contest to see who can come up with the most depressing storyline.
The first, but hopefully not last (rumors abound, but no confirmations) season of the Falcon and the Winter Soldier wraps up with “One World, One People,” the slogan of the Flag-Smashers.
“The World Is Watching” was the perfect title for last episode, as John Walker crossed the line, killing one of the Flag-Smashers in a spectacularly brutal way, and using Cap’s shield to do it. Now, the ramifications roil through the world of the major characters as everyone tries to figure out what to do next.
The Falcon and the Winter Soldier has done a great job of exploring the post-Blip world. The complications were largely glossed over in Spider-Man: Far From Home, and WandaVision has a somewhat tighter focus. In a world that’s been through so much, and lost two high-profile heroes like Iron Man and Captain America, it makes sense there’s a lot of upheaval going on.
One of things I enjoy so much about the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the way they circle back to tie up loose ends you might not even have thought of. All the Easter Eggs are great, too, but I really like how they devote some thought to “What have we not cleared up so far?”
Captain America and Bucky have been part of the Marvel Universe since before it was the Marvel Universe. Cap’s first appearance was back when the company was still called Timely Comics, and Captain America was one of its first big hits. The character, or at least, the title of Captain America has a long, complicated history in the comics, and a surprising amount of these characters have found their way on screen.
They keep that high bar going, and we learn about the new Captain America they introduced us to, with “Star Spangled Man.” Even the title is a callback to Captain America history, which happens a lot in this episode.
We get to see a bit of characters actually having lives, which has been largely lacking in the MCU (do I need to say why either Tony Stark or Wanda’s “homelife” doesn’t count?). Sam Wilson and James “Bucky” Barnes are trying to find their places in the “New World Order.”
It’s really hard to review Avengers: Infinity War while meeting two criteria: 1) No Spoilers and 2) Not just typing WOW over and over again.
The Sam Wilson book has not shied away from the complications and prejudices in modern America. In this issue, in addition to the prejudices against Sam Wilson being the new Cap, his sidekick, the new Falcon, is being accused of being an illegal immigrant. Joaquin Torres, the new Falcon, gets a recap of his origin and a lot of flack from a pundit named Ariella Conner.