Written by Ed Brubaker
Art by Butch Guice
The Old Friends and Enemies storyline wraps up with this issue and I, for one, am happy to see it done. While it started out great with some Batroc the Leaper antics and the typical interwoven flashback scenes, the arc has really fizzled in the last issue or two and feels like it has been dragging on for far too long.
Almost as if sensing the same problems, Brubaker wraps up the story this month in a rather abrupt manner. Namor, who was captured last issue, was being infected with the Human Torch (WWII version, not the fantastic variety) virus and Bucky, also captured, was forced to watch on.
Brubaker simply brings in the cavalry, in the form of Black Widow, who busts Namor out of the tank and the group promptly disables their enemies as they attempt to detonate a bomb version of the virus used on Namor. In the end, both Professor Chin and the Man with No Face (was that his official name?) were killed off with little fight or resistence offered, thus ending the threat. Bucky takes the Human Torch's remains and he is given a proper burial for his services rendered in WWII.
I'm not sure what I was expecting to come of all this, but the entire 'threat from the past', in the form of Chin, was squandered and never really amounted to anything. Bucky tells us it was important, but it never actually felt important. For instance, the so-called virus was used on Namor and, in the end, it didn't even work on him. Why would the last minute 'mad scientist' moment really carry any weight if we've been shown the virus didn't do anything to the only person we were shown it being used on?
Even the fight sequences throughout this dealt with either Bucky fighting faceless goons or the badguys taking out the good guys offpanel, such as Namor's defeat last issue. The final confrontation amounted to Namor breaking the neck of the Man with No Face when he became tangible and was mourning the death of Chin, who I'm not even sure how died (I think Namor killed him with a backhand).
Verdict - Check It. All-in-all, I'm just glad this arc is over and we can move on. It had it's moments, most of them in the earlier chapters, but it really dragged its feet in these latter parts. However, a 'bad' Captain America issue is still better than most anything on the market, so take any complaints with a grain of salt.