One Sentence Overview: Daredevil and Captain America step in when an immigrant inventor comes under attack from a range of sources
Okay, I know I said I was going to review the annual next but actually, as the action takes place back in Hell's Kitchen, I've changed my mind and that review will go up in a couple of issues' time, once Daredevil's actually back in his old hunting ground.
So instead it's DD283 and a perceptive comment on the corruption of the American Dream. As one can tell from the (cleverly symbolic and not at all reflective of what actually occurs in the tale) cover, Daredevil and Cap meet again and get very cross about the infraction of an immigrant's rights to develop innovative technology that big business is going to frown upon.
Indeed, Cap appears a lot less conservative than I'm used to here - in an early scene, he picks up a magazine (called the Democrats, which tells you all you need to know, I guess) and becomes enraged at reports of America involving itself in the drugs war in South America. "Can't we leave Latin America alone?" the Sentinel rants. "Haven't we exploited them long enough?"
I'm not a huge reader of Cap - and Ed Brubaker's recent run doesn't dwell too much on Steve Rogers' political opinions (though Mark Millar clearly identified where he stood on the rights of a person to put a mask on one's face and beat people up) - so it's possible I'm misrepresenting his views. However, Daredevil is also shocked by Cap's anger at the way the oil industry controls things in his country. "I would have guessed he'd view such ideas as subversive," Daredevil ponders.
So where's all this pent up frustration come from? What's turned Cap into a raving liberal? Well, the letters page here recommends the reader pick up Cap's current run as he apparently has been acting strange over there. Hmmm. Well, a quick look at blogger Goodman Holiday's Reading Captain America's post on that run reveals that Cap was actually on drugs and therefore more paranoid and wired than usual. Okay, so being on drugs makes you more left wing, yet articulate? Interesting...
Cap's drug induced 'paranoid' reasonings don't seem out of step with what's actually happening to inventor Victor Cieszkowska. Vic's come up with the very topical and foresighted notion of creating a car that runs on an alternative fuel (garbage in this case). The moment he holds a press release, the IRS write to him suggesting he's in the US illegally, he's mocked by TV reporters, the FBI turn up to ransack his home and a bunch of hoods attempt to wreck his car. The (perhaps heavy handed) allegory is that the oil industry will crush anyone attempting to introduce an alternative energy source. Perhaps in 1990 this wasn't such a vital issue and maybe of more interest to environmentalists but, reading this in 2012, the story feels remarkably prescient.
Cap's rants about inequality in the US also feels very contemporary. His complaints about the growing difference between the rich and poor continues to be a significant problem, one examined famously in the last couple of years by the book, The Spirit Level. Hmmm, whatever you're taking, Steve, perhaps you could share it with those in power?
Never mind the politics, this is a bit of leap from running around the inner circle of Hell, jaw jawing with the devil, I hear you mutter. Where's Number Nine and the Inhumans? Well, in a piece of writing completely consistent with Ann's recent writing of the character, once DD and the gang returned to earth... he cleared off.
I guess with Brandy dead, there was no-one to make him feel guilty about being committed to other relationships. It's okay for Karnak and Gorgon - they've got Pope and they're off to Attilan, but what about poor Number Nine? I don't know if this is the last we've seen of the character. If it is, that's a darn shame. We only seem to partially understand where she's at and doesn't it seem a little mean for DD to leave her in the lurch like this.
Meanwhile on the letters page Not everyone's enjoying Ann's recent direction. Augie Pirente drafts a list of things he's currently not liking about Daredevil. It includes: "X-Men crossovers, Inhumans, Number Nine, Blackheart... stories about why we shouldn't eat meat, plots that try to tackle the nature of good and evil". But don't be downcast, Ann, Damon Frusha says that the writer's scripting borders "masterpiece level". Hurrah!
Captain America/Steve Rogers
Rating: 7 out of 10